Aug 24, 2010 — More than 600 men and women from all corners of the world flooded Yeshiva University’s Wilf and Beren campuses this week to begin their undergraduate study at the only institution that promises to enrich both their secular and spiritual knowledge.

Hailing from more than a dozen countries as far as India and Panama and states across the country, these students were drawn to YU by its unique mission, articulated by President Richard M. Joel in his opening address to new Yeshiva College students at an orientation barbeque. “A lot of young people today ask, ‘Do I matter?’ ” President Joel said. “I believe you’ve come to a makom [place] where together, individually and collectively, we can build worlds. Here, living by Torah values, you can equip yourselves to be great talmedei chachumim [Torah scholars], great scientists, great poets, great teachers…you can advance the sacred story of our people: G-d’s partnership with Avraham and Avraham’s partnership with G-d.”

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This year’s Orientation was jam-packed with vibrant and exciting events. New students on the Beren Campus got acquainted with club leaders at a “Chillin & Grillin” barbeque, engaged in chavruta learning at the new Lea and Leon Eisenberg Beit Midrash in Stanton Hall and explored New York City’s rich cultural offerings on a walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. Students on the Wilf Campus shared high tea with their new faculty mentors and heard about engaging opportunities to contribute to the global Jewish community from members of the University’s Center for the Jewish Future. And there’s always room for sheer fun: along with their counterparts at Stern College for Women, first-year students headed to New Roc City for a night of bowling, laser-tag and arcade games.

The excitement and ambition of these new beginnings is palpable. For Aliza Loshinsky of Brooklyn, NY, Stern College was the perfect place to cultivate her talents and interests while maintaining a strong connection to the Jewish community. “I hope to be able to use this opportunity to learn more and grow in my Judaism and to develop my strengths in a way that will benefit my family, my people and the world,” she said. Loshinsky is considering psychology as a major.

Davida Kollmar of Edison, NJ, felt drawn to the warm atmosphere fostered at Stern College. “I was impressed by the individual attention given to each student to help her achieve her goals,” she said. She intends to pursue a degree in math or science.

Shlomo Weissberg of Chicago, IL, wanted the opportunity to meet students from a wide range of backgrounds and Jewish traditions in a friendly environment. Hoping to major in accounting at Sy Syms School of Business, he is also excited to engage the learning community at YU. “The new beit midrash is really gorgeous,” he said.

Entering the college arena can be overwhelming. Yet Brad Karasik, associate dean of students at Yeshiva College, urged new students not to be afraid to dive in. “It’s your campus,” he said. “There are so many things waiting for you to take charge of and become active in. Student clubs range from academic interests to Israel advocacy to chessed [volunteer] opportunities and we have hundreds of students on campus for Shabbat every week. The atmosphere here is incredible.”

Zelda Braun, associate dean of students at Stern College, agreed. “Be open to new experiences, to meeting new people, to exploring new areas of interest,” she said. “You have a world of opportunity available to you.”