Yeshiva University News » 2007 » October » 11

Daphna and Shai Secunda

Oct 11, 2007 — Daphna ’97S and Shai Secunda ’07BR, PhD, are a perfect fit for their position as Stern College for Women’s “campus couple.”

Daphna, herself a Stern graduate, says their new role is a continuation of their experience in Israel over the past three years. Daphna taught Jewish philosophy to women at two yeshivot in Israel that are part of YU’s S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program. They hosted students for Shabbat, chagim [Jewish holidays], and social get-togethers, developing relationships with numerous Stern students, some of whom are now seniors.

Since returning to the United States this past summer, Daphna has worked as a director of programming for the Beren Campus at YU’s Center for the Jewish Future and Shai as a postdoctoral associate in Jewish studies at Yale and Harvard Universities. While he is off campus most days during the week, he is enjoying the job of injecting ruach [spirit] into Shabbat life.

“Our goal is to strengthen the community on campus by imbuing Shabbat with energy, warmth, and a sense of intimacy—even with the record numbers of students staying on campus for Shabbat,” says Shai, a scholar of the Babylonian Talmud in its original Iranian context.

“We want to ensure that Shabbat at Stern becomes a real destination, socially and intellectually,” adds Daphna.

“We eat and sing with students at the large Shabbat meals held in the auditorium,” says Shai, “but we also invite students to our apartment for an oneg [get-together] and to hang out, bond, and talk about what’s on their minds.”

Students have responded with particular enthusiasm to the couple’s two children—Sarielle, 4, and Ravital, 18 months—with some stopping by to play and others offering to babysit.

“My four-year-old talks about ‘her friends,’ who are college-age, as if they were in the same class,” says Daphna.

Zelda Braun, associate dean of students at Stern, says that Shai and Daphna were “the best candidates for the job. They understand that we’re developing a community here.”

The work of the campus couple is not only to serve as role models to the women on campus but to “reach out to students, to create and enhance the community.”

“They’re adding a tremendous presence,” Braun says. “It’s a critical piece of what we’re doing here.”

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Andrew Herenstein '84Y, managing principal of Quadrangle Group LLC, spoke to students.

Oct 11, 2007 — The Office of Alumni Affairs, Career Development Center, and Sy Syms School of Business Student Council brought some of Yeshiva University’s most senior and successful alumni in the financial sector back to campus on Oct. 9 for a panel discussion and networking event, entitled “What is Wall Street?”, which kicked off the Wall Street Connection Series. Over 250 students crowded into Weissberg Commons on the Wilf Campus to hear advice from seasoned professionals at companies including Citigroup and Jefferies & Company, and to receive guidance from 35 alumni in their field. To view photos of the event please click here.

Senior professionals who spoke to students about trading, research, investment banking, operations, and alternative investing were: Evelyn S. Havasi ’82S, ’85C, managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.; Jeffrey M. Silber ’84Y, managing director of BMO Capital Markets; Ezra S. Lightman ’95S, senior vice president for investment banking at Jefferies & Company, Inc; Leon M. Metzger, adjunct professor at Columbia, New York and Yale Universities; and Andrew Herenstein ’84Y, managing principal of Quadrangle Group LLC. Daniel E. Posner ’91Y, managing director of DE Shaw & Co. moderated the panel discussion.

“There is no better time to start learning about jobs than when you first enter school,” said Yehuda Feldman, president of the Sy Syms School of Business Student Council and a finance major. “Medicine and law offer pre-professional counseling—this is our initiative to prepare students for the world of finance.”

The speakers covered such topics as the differences between investment banking and trading, the ins and outs of hedge funds, private equity, and the culture of different fields within Wall Street. “Knowing what’s out there is the first step to making an informed decision,” said Feldman.

Alumni such as Sender Cohen, managing director of Soros Fund Management, and C. Howard Wietschner, managing director of Goldman Sachs, shared their knowledge and experience with students in the networking session, which was organized by field within financial services so that students could learn about areas that interest them.

The next event in the series will be “How to Land a Job on Wall Street” on Oct. 30. It will be an opportunity for students to find out about internships and ways to start gaining work experience. Subsequent sessions will address resume writing and informational interviews.

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