The 2011 UTJ Annual Dinner

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at 6:00 PM, the Union for Traditional Judaism (UTJ) will hold our gala Annual Dinner at the Jewish Center of Teaneck, New Jersey. We are proud to announce this year Honorees: The Guests of Honor - Rabbi and Mrs. Ronald D. Price; The MTV Challenge Award - Dr. Lewis Bernstein, Executive V.P. of Education, Research, and Outreach of Sesame Workshop. We will also honor the members of the Faculty of the Institute of Traditional Judaism (ITJ), the Metivta.

Rabbi Ronald D. Price served as Executive Vice President of the UTJ for 26 years and as Dean of the Metivta since its founding in 1990. During Rabbi Price's stewardship, the ITJ has granted Semikhah to some 15 rabbis, including Advanced Semikhah to five rabbis. In addition, a dozen Jewish communal workers studied at the ITJ as part of their specialized curriculum in Jewish Studies while earning their MPA degrees. ITJ alumni are working in Jewish communities throughout North America and in Israel. Additionally, Rabbi Price is one of the creators of the cutting-edge educational curriculum, "Taking the MTV (Media and Torah Values) Challenge" ( www.mtvchallenge.org ), which teaches teens and adults how to view material from a variety of media sources through the lens of Jewish values. "Taking the MTV Challenge" is currently in use in hundreds of venues across the denominational spectrum around the world. Tziporah Twersky Price is a licensed psychiatric social worker in practice for many decades in mental health settings and nursing homes. Her focus is on family and marital counseling.

Dr. Lewis Bernstein, who will receive the MTV Challenge Award, has studied and worked in both the United States and Israel. He has been one of the guiding forces behind Sesame Street for several decades, serving as researcher, producer, and executive. While he was Executive Producer of Sesame Street, a curriculum encouraging respect for diversity was introduced, as well as instruction about health, nutrition, and exercise. Dr. Bernstein's work won him and Sesame Workshop three Emmy awards. He has also guided teams from several other countries as they developed their own versions of Sesame Street. Dr. Bernstein was directly involved in developing Rechov Sumsum, the Israeli version of Sesame Street, and for three years, he managed the creative decisions for the series, which won the Harp of David Award, the Israeli equivalent of an Emmy. He also originated the idea of adapting Rechov Sumsum for American children, a project that resulted in "Shalom Sesame." Over one million home video cassettes of Shalom Sesame were distributed in three years, and the program was broadcast by PBS.

The MTV Challenge Award is conferred upon professionals in the electronic media who have effectively incorporated traditional values in their work. Previous awardees were actress Mayim Bialik and writer Norm Gunzenhauser.

Also being honored are the distinguished members of the Faculty of the Metivta. They include the Reish Metivta (Rector) Rav David Halivni, Rabbi Gershon Bacon, Rabbi Edward Gershfield, Dr. Michael Kaplowitz, Rabbi Leonard Levy, Rabbi David Novak, Hakham Isaac Sassoon, Rabbi Richard Wolpoe, and Rabbi Alan Yuter.

The Union for Traditional Judaism is a trans-denominational education and outreach organization that promotes traditional Jewish observance among all Jews – regardless of their gender, background, or movement affiliation – as the way to strengthen the Jewish people, ensure the Jewish future, and promote Jewish unity.

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