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December 13, 2002 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-13

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from page 17

with tension that it was only in the two
days preceding the Dec. 5 vote that the
boards of trustees for the university and
RIFTS appeared ready to back Joel. Even
then, it came only after Joel met with the
trustees at length, face to face.
In the end, Y.U. officials arrived at
an arrangement that some called sur-
prising: Joel was named president of
Yeshiva and chief executive officer of
RIETS, while Y.U.'s outgoing presi-
dent, Rabbi Norman Lamm, a highly
regarded Torah scholar, will become
rosh yeshiva, or head of RIETS, and
university chancellor.
Y.U., a top-ranked university with
five locations in New York — includ-
ing RIETS, medical and law schools,
affiliated health-care centers and high
schools — has become a "variegated"
entity, according to Julius Berman,
president of the NETS board. In light
of its "complex" character, Berman
says, Yeshiva "requires that much more
The institution will remain commit-
ted to the motto Torah Unadda —
Torah and science — indicating a syn-
thesis of Jewish and general studies,
Berman says. Joel also has vowed to
encourage "a more integral relation-
ship" between different segments of
the university, Berman adds.
For example; Joel might invite
Rabbi Lamm or other Torah scholars
to lecture at the medical school on
cloning and Jewish law, Berman says,
or ask a medical school professor to
speak at the college.
Exactly how Y.U.'s new power struc-
ture will develop remains to be seen.
Berman and others, including Joel
himself, say the exact parameters of
the roles Joel and Rabbi Lamm will
play still need be defined. But those
who know Joel say he embodies what
the university is about, and is deeply
committed to its success.
A former New York assistant district
attorney, Joel is devoted to his wife
and six children, reportedly never
missing a Shabbat with them. He also
helped found a modern Orthodox
congregation, Kemp Mill Synagogue,
in his home city of Silver Spring, Md.,
that today includes 250 families.
Diamond, of Princeton, predicts Joel
will "do great things" for Yeshiva
University„ though even his friend is
"not the Moshiach (messiah). No one is
perfect. He moves very fast, he has a
clear idea of what he wants and doesn't
want, and he can be very tough,"
Diamond says.
"But I think that's going to help
him at Yeshiva. To be a university
president, you have to be tough." ❑

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