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News Briefs

YU receives mental health seal of approval

The Jed Foundation, a national non-profit organization that advocates suicide prevention among college students, has named Yeshiva University among the first of 30 colleges to receive its new “seal of approval” for its mental health resources. Victor Schwartz, the foundation’s medical director, said that many schools applied for the seal of recognition and that more schools will be approved shortly. Colleges register with the JedCampus website and fill out a voluntary and confidential self-assessment about the mental health services at their institution. In turn, JedCampus officials assess the school’s resources against their standards and offer confidential feedback highlighting the school’s successes and weakness. Although the seal is still relatively unknown to the general public or the academic sphere, its founders hope the seal will become a “major incentive” for universities to self-assess their programs and seek improvement.


Blau, rabbis urge force against syria  

Jewish leaders from across the denominational spectrum have joined forces to urge Congress and President Obama to use force against Syria to stop its use of chemical weapons. “We write you as descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees, whose ancestors were gassed to death in concentration camps,” said the letter, sent on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. “We write you as a people who have faced persecution for many centuries and are glad to have found a safe refuge where we can thrive in the United States.” The letter’s 17 signatories included Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Kehilath Jeshurun, Rabbi Dr. Mark Dratch of the RCA, Rabbi Yosef Blau, Mashgiach Ruchani at Yeshiva University, YU graduate Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, leaders of the Conservative movement, and essayist, Leon Wieseltier.


2 Ex-students join abuse lawsuit

Kevin Mulhearn, attorney for the plaintiffs in the $380 million lawsuit against YU, recently filed papers in the Manhattan Federal Court that added two former students to the litigation, raising the number of plaintiffs to 34. Mulhearn released a statement claiming that one of the   unnamed former students was sodomized by Rabbi Macy Gordon in 1955. The second student, also unidentified, alleges another administrator charged in the suit, Rabbi George Finklestein, repeatedly used a master key to enter dorm rooms in the 1980s and abuse students. Mulhearn asserts that both students complained to authorities in the school but were ignored.


“Threshold to Sacred” exhibit opens at yu museum

A new exhibit at the Yeshiva University Museum downtown focuses on an intricately decorated wood panel from a Torah ark from the Ben Ezra Synagogue of Cairo, Egypt. The door, jointly owned by the Walters Art Museum and the YU Museum, was discovered in the 19th century along with the Cairo Geniza, the treasure trove of discarded documents dating back to the medieval period. The exhibit presents Geniza documents, photographs of the Ben Ezra synagogue, and art from Jewish and Muslim artisans. Additional information about conservation and science research is also on display.


Rabbi Lamm Excused from Testimony in suit

Five hours of psychological tests at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center found former YU President and Chancellor, Rabbi Norman Lamm, 85, unfit for testimony in the $380 million lawsuit against YU. Rabbi Lamm’s lawyer, Joel Cohen, reported at a pretrial hearing at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that his client’s testimony would be “significantly impaired by cognitive impairment.” Cohen claimed that he had personally interviewed his client about facts relating to the abuse case and that on two occasions, Rabbi Lamm answered incorrectly.