All Posts: Doron Levine

Two Requests of The YU Board

January 3, 2017 12:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The Yeshiva University Board of Trustees needs to be a bit less transparent. An opaque object, even if mysterious and unknowable, is at least perceptible to the eye; but the YU Board is as undetectable as pellucid glass. Any bird who’s ever had the painful experience of flying into a window will understand what I’m saying. Better to be translucent and at least noticeable than transparent and not visible at all. This is not a mindless screed against the Board,... Read more

Say What You Wanna Say

December 18, 2016 9:40 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Here are two questions: Was Ben Shapiro nice? Was Ben Shapiro correct? Upon reflection, it is clear that these two questions are unrelated. One can be correct and nice, correct and not nice, not correct and nice, or not correct and not nice. This mutual independence applies to propositions that, in some contexts, are plainly insulting. A doctor asks his patient to step onto the scale and proceeds to grossly misread the patient’s weight. He gently informs the poor fellow... Read more

Not a Theocracy

November 27, 2016 12:03 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

I rarely furrow my brow. But Rabbi Brander’s recent email condemning one student’s display of a Confederate flag at the election-night party in the Morgenstern Lounge inspired in me an uncommon display of forehead gymnastics. Appealing to “our foundational Jewish values” based on the teachings of Avraham and “the values of Halacha,” Rabbi Brander offered this southern student the benefit of the doubt while simultaneously denouncing any display of the Confederate flag since it is “a symbol too closely linked... Read more


BREAKING: Board Elects Rabbi Ari Berman as YU’s Fifth President

November 15, 2016 6:03 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The Yeshiva University Board of Trustees voted today to elect Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman to succeed Richard Joel as Yeshiva University’s president. Rabbi Dr. Berman will become YU’s fifth president, joining the ranks of Rabbi Bernard Revel, Rabbi Dr. Samuel Belkin, Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, and Mr. Richard Joel. The vote happened this afternoon in the Gottesman Board Room on the fifth floor of the YU Beren Campus building located at 215 Lexington Avenue. The result of the vote was transmitted to The Commentator by a number of... Read more

What Sort of President Does YU Need? President Joel’s Unwitting Advice

November 6, 2016 12:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Nothing flies higher than a lame duck. Blissfully freed from his ability to effect real change on the ground, a president at the tail end of his term has the opportunity to peacefully soar; to zoom out and survey the landscape of his service from a wide angle; to draw conclusions and proffer advice to those of his subjects who are still willing to listen. Enjoying this panoramic perspective, President Joel recently published an article in The Huffington Post called... Read more

Groundbreaking ceremony for the 185th Street Plaza

City Officials Join YU for 185th Street Plaza Groundbreaking Ceremony

September 29, 2016 9:26 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Construction on YU’s $3.6 million pedestrian plaza on 185th street has been progressing since the summer, but it symbolically began yesterday. Over the past few months, the pavement of the 20,000-foot space has been broken in various places by orange-vested construction workers powering jackhammers and hydraulic excavators, but yesterday it was broken by formally-dressed YU administrators and NYC officials using decorative golden shovels. The ceremony began in Nagel Lounge. The infamous Nagel Lounge wall was folded away for the festivities, and... Read more

Red, White, and Gray: Why The Commentator is Fundamentally Boring

September 18, 2016 1:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Anything worth hating is also worth loving. Alessia Cara subtly proposes this principle in her hit song “Here” when she describes a female partygoer “talking ‘bout her haters” but quickly rejoins—“she ain’t got none.” Snide indeed, but Cara’s censure of her fellow fridge-congregant implies more than mere malice. Even as she broodingly denounces the scrofulous tactic of lying in the interest of self-aggrandizement, her harsh criticism suggests familiarity with a paradoxical truth about human nature: that people enjoy being hated.... Read more

Rabbi Ari Berman Approved by YU Presidential Search Committee, Expected to be Voted on by Board of Trustees

September 13, 2016 9:21 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In an email to the entire student body of Yeshiva University, Chairman of the Board Moshael Straus announced that the presidential search committee has voted to advance the candidacy of Rabbi Ari Berman. YU’s Belfer Hall was abuzz with activity today as YU’s presidential search committee, composed of select trustees, met in Weissberg Commons to discuss Rabbi Berman’s candidacy. A decision was apparently reached, with Chairman Straus’s email stating that Rabbi Berman will be meeting with trustees, faculty, and “other... Read more

Rabbi Ari Berman is Top Candidate in YU Presidential Search, JTA Reports

September 12, 2016 6:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported today that Rabbi Ari Berman has emerged as the leading candidate to be Yeshiva University’s next president. Rabbi Berman is a graduate of the YU system, having earned his BA in philosophy from Yeshiva College and his rabbinic ordination from RIETS. He then served as the rabbi of The Jewish Center in Manhattan’s upper west side before moving to Israel in 2008 and subsequently earning a PhD in Jewish thought from Hebrew University. Though he... Read more

big hero

Living to Live Longer: A Review of Big Hero 6

February 28, 2016 10:18 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Big Hero 6 came out two years ago. But a few weeks ago I developed an uncomfortable itch for some good Disney animation and I had a feeling that this flick could scratch that itch. Released in October of 2014, it won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and a Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie, and has garnered a Certified Fresh eighty-nine percent on the Tomatometer. The film gods gazed down upon this cinematic creation and, behold,... Read more