New Students Arrive on Campus for Orientation 2011, Prepare to Embark on Their Collegiate Journeys

Following a weekend that saw Hurricane Irene wreak havoc all along the East Coast, more than 600 new students created a different kind of a stir as they arrived at Yeshiva University to begin their college careers.

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Under blue skies and sunshine, students flocked to the Wilf and Beren Campuses on Monday, August 29, wheeling new sheets and lamps to their dormitories in orange bins, meeting undergraduate and University leaders at casual luncheons, and relaxing at newly-installed picnic tables on 185th Street’s pedestrian-only plaza. They came from a wealth of religious traditions and countries around the globe, already thinking of futures in careers and fields across the academic spectrum. However, the beginnings of new friendships were already in evidence.

Josh Cohen, from Columbus, Ohio, and Jack Sztrigler of Mexico City, Mexico, met each other at a pre-season soccer practice last week and are both excited to be part of Yeshiva’s men’s team this year. “I chose YU because, not only is it a great place academically, but we’re getting a good foundation in Jewish values here,” said Cohen, who intends to pursue an accounting degree at the Syms School of Business.

Sztrigler, who is working toward a degree in political science at Yeshiva College, is already looking forward to the year’s first event: Wednesday’s conversation between Senator Joseph Lieberman, the “Shomer Shabbat Senator,” and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, at the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. “I can’t wait for their discussion,” said Sztrigler. “I came here to study politics and it’s fascinating to have someone like that right on campus.”

That interface of Torah Judaism and intellectual growth encapsulates YU’s mission. Speaking to parents of new students in the Nagel Family Atrium, a lounge in the Mendel Gottesman Library, President Richard M. Joel noted that the building was connected to The Glueck Center for Jewish Study, which houses the university’s biggest beit medrash.

“You recognize that these are critical years for your children to have the finest kind of education, where they will explore the different disciplines of life but understand, that to do so, they first must be bnei Torah,” said President Joel. “You’ve chosen to let them do that in an environment where they get to reaffirm, as they are defining themselves for the first time, that the quality existence is a commitment to Torah and Torah values, through which all of G-d’s other ideas are explored.”

President Joel also highlighted a host of renovations and new features around both campuses, including a new Student Life Center on the fifth floor of Stern College for Women’s 215 Lexington Avenue building, a revamped lounge and new café in the Morgenstern Residence Hall, and the introduction of an International Food Bar that will offer alternating Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Israeli Shabbat cuisine.

“I picked Stern for its Jewish environment and the fact that it’s in such a great location,” said Talya Noveck of New Bruswick, New Jersey, who hopes to pursue a nursing degree. “The most interesting part of Orientation so far has been meeting new people—I love my roommates!”

A new resource, Student Life Answers, will be available this year for students with questions—any questions, from “How do I find the right chavrusa? [study partner]” to “Who can I talk to about work-study?” Questions sent to answers@yu.edu will be answered by designated University personnel, drawing on their knowledge of key administrative offices and access to comprehensive information to provide students with the most accurate and complete responses.

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