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News Briefs

YU Apps Win Awards

Continuing its trend of prominence in the world of academic mobile applications, YU recently won prestigious awards from the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) for excellence in mobile apps. Chosen from over 1,100 entries, YU’s “This is Yeshiva University” app and “Cardozo Life” app won two out of the four awards in the competition’s mobile apps category. Designed specifically for iPad, “This is Yeshiva University” offers interactive maps of YU’s various campuses, video and photo galleries, interactive tours of YU’s rich history, and notifications of upcoming events. “Cardozo Life,” the alumni magazine of YU’s Cardozo Law School, becomes digital in the specialized app. Also designed for iPad, the “Cardozo Life” app allows users to “connect to Cardozo Law in a full interactive experience.” It features hyperlinked articles on major legal stories, photos and videos of faculty and students, and a section for sharing class notes.

Entries for the UCDA design competition are peer reviewed by a panel of judges and evaluated for appearance, flexibility, interactivity, message, and suitability for their intended audiences. “YU is one of the first institutions of higher education in New York City to offer folio apps on the iPad,” said Judy Tashji, creative director at YU’s Office of Communications and Public affairs, in an interview with Arutz Sheva. “These awards acknowledge our ability to lead the way in offering new solutions for new ways of learning.”

Chanukah Concert Looks to Entertain

A Hasid, a rapper, and a rock band walk into Zysman Hall. Though this sounds like the beginning of a corny Jewish joke, it will soon become reality at this year’s YU Chanukah Concert. Scheduled for December 18th, the show will feature a diverse lineup. The old will meet the new as Benny Friedman, the Lubavitch star who recently took the Jewish music world by a storm with his techno-style hit “Yesh Tikvah,” will star alongside Lenny Solomon, the seasoned leader of Shlock Rock who has released over thirty CD’s and performed in over two thousand concerts since his debut in 1987. Additionally, Hassidic will meet rap when Nissim Black, the born-again Jewish hip-hop artist, takes the stage. Originally Damian Black, he grew up in Seattle where, at age thirteen, he began to flourish under the sage mentorship of famed producer Vitamin D. He had already begun exploring Abrahamic religions when, under the stage name D.Black, he released his second album “Ali ‘Yah,” which reached number four on the CMJ hip-hop charts. As drugs tore his family apart, he gradually discovered Judaism, converted, and now performs for Jewish audiences worldwide singing songs with themes of spirituality, redemption, and miracles. With such a varied assortment of performers, this year’s Chanukah concert is expected to fill Lamport Auditorium to capacity.

Hip-Hop in the Heights

Not to be outdone by the YU Chanukah Concert, the larger Washington Heights community is hosting its own musical synthesis of holidays and hip-hop. The Hip-Hop Nutcracker, an explosive fusion of classical ballet and modern hip-hop choreography, will “bring the traditional Nutcracker story to life in a contemporary urban setting.” The production will first show in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, before gracing the theater of the United Palace of Cultural Arts in Washington Heights. Jennifer Weber of the Decadence Theatre Company, the creator of the show’s choreography, has prior experience writing modern choreography for classical ballets, having produced a hip-hop adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird. Highlights of the show include MCing by rap-legend and ordained minister Kurtis Blow, and digital remixes of Tchaikovsky by DJ Boo. Holiday hip-hop enthusiasts should mark their calendars for Sunday, December 7. Doors open at 5 pm.

YU Hebrew Teacher Wins National Bible Contest, Advances to International Contest

Yair Shahak (YC ’10 BR ’11), instructor of Hebrew at Yeshiva University, recently won the US National Bible Contest for Adults and will represent the United States in the International Bible Contest for Adults in Israel. The national competition took place at the West Side Institutional Synagogue on Sunday, November 30. Shahak is following in the footsteps of another Instructor of Hebrew at YU, Ezra Frazer who represented the US in the international competition in 2012.  The international competition for adults was started by David Ben Gurion and was revived for the first time in thirty years by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2012. This year’s competition will take place in Jerusalem on the last night of Chanukah, Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014.