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Elul 5771 • August-September 2011

Dear Friends,
The months Av and Elul are linked by the common theme of introspection. It is a time when we reflect on our service and relationship with God and humanity.
The initiatives that are outlined in this edition of the CJF e-newsletter reflect opportunities that YU creates for our students; through their travels throughout the world, our students engage in the journey of self-discovery. Over the past two months, the CJF sent students to run four Counterpoint programs in Israel: two day-camps in Dimona for over 150 teens, one in Arad, and a sleep away camp in Jerusalem for the teenagers of Yemin Orde, a youth village that was destroyed in the Carmel Forest Fire earlier this year. Our students also interacted with the community and local Jewish school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is in addition to the hundreds of people we engaged with our summer Kollelim in communities across North America. As I was privileged to spend time on some of these programs with our students, I can bear witness to personal moments of self-reflection that occurred and watched the transformation within our students. There have been dozens of articles across the international Jewish community on how these experiences transformed the communities and the people with whom we have engaged. We have highlighted just a few.
Our ChampionsGate leadership conference attracted 450 leaders from 90 communities, enabling participants to develop connections with likeminded people. The programs allowed for serious moderated conversations and “tachlitic” takeaways about important issues affecting our community. I find that these interactions empower both the leaders and their respective communities to engage in the Elul paradigm throughout the entire year.
We hope you enjoy the contents of the newsletter and, as always, your comments are welcomed.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander
The David Mitzner Dean
Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future


News from the CJF

Op Ed: Another Face of Yeshiva University
There is a narrative that Yeshiva University has shifted to the right, religiously-speaking. I attended the recent leadership retreat sponsored by YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), an annual get-together in Orlando, FL at the ChampionsGate resort, where I encountered a whole other face of the Yeshiva and University that demonstrates how that perception is incorrect.
Click for Full Article in Jewish Week

Hurricane Sabbath Guidelines Issued By Rabbis
Hurricane Guidelines for ShabbatObservant Jews are permitted to sidestep traditional Sabbath rules on electronics and listen to the radio as Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, according to guidelines distributed to hundreds of Orthodox rabbis. Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future, distributed special hurricane guidelines -- which he originally wrote while working in hurricane-prone Florida -- to the school's rabbinic alumni.
Click for Full Article in Huffington Post

Bringing the Jewish World Together, in Theory and Practice
Championsgate VIIn Orthodox shuls in more than 90 communities across North and South America, Israel, and the United Kingdom, seats normally occupied by key people were empty. Rabbis, presidents, board members and others gathered in Orlando, Florida at Yeshiva University’s National Leadership Conference at the ChampionsGate resort.
Click for Full Article

YU Summer Camps Empower Israel’s Youth
counterpoint IsraelYeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future announced that its “Counterpoint Israel Program,” a month-long service-learning initiative that aims to empower the next generation of Israeli youth via an action-packed, Jewish values-driven summer camp experience, has been retooled to allow counselors to receive credits for their participation in the program.
Click for Full Article

Yeshiva Participates in White House Challenge
Jewish Job Fair 2011Rabbi Kenneth Brander, David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, attended President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge event in Washington D.C. on August 3. 
Click for Full Article
Click here for a video message from President Obama about the initiative

Yemin Orde Counterpoint 2011

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