New Graduates Gain Unique Perspective as Yeshiva University Presidential Fellows

A group of Yeshiva University’s 17 top graduates will gain new and unique insight as they spend a year giving back to their alma mater as members of YU’s Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership.

The highly competitive program places high-achieving new graduates in roles in departments and schools across the institution. Fellows are mentored by senior leadership within their department and work on projects of importance to the University. At the same time, they hone their professional and leadership skills in weekly graduate-level seminars covering key topics in university administration and Jewish communal leadership.

Since it was established by President Richard M. Joel in 2004, the Fellowship has played a critical role in transforming the University into a leadership laboratory and expanding YU’s service to the Jewish community. With the guidance of director and YU Vice President and Chief of Staff Rabbi Joshua Joseph, fellows develop thoughtful and innovative projects which they follow from concept to fruition. They also spend time visiting Jewish organizations to learn about communal structure and participating in service learning missions in cities such as New Orleans.

“How wonderful it is that top graduates of Yeshiva University choose to invest a year of their lives in continuing to shape this great institution,” said President Joel. “How reciprocally wonderful it is that in so doing they expand their minds, learn leadership skills and get to partner with wonderful people in advancing the story of the Jewish people.”

This year’s Presidential Fellows are Yitzy Abed, Shosh Balk, Adam Frohlinger, Orli Haken, Sima Horowitz, Michal Jaff, Ayelet Kahane, Jared Sanders, Jonathan Schwab, Matthew Schwartz, Sasha Semach, Eliana Shaul, Allison Simon, Eitan Ulmer, Nava Unterman, and Shloime Zeffren. In addition, two fellows, Peter Kahn and Yaakov Taubes, will work part-time in the Office of the Dean at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) while undertaking rabbinical studies there.

“I applied to the Presidential Fellowship because I wanted to gain skills and mentorship from professionals within the University while continuing my involvement in an institution where I have thrived and spent some of the best years of my life,” said Balk, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Balk will be a fellow in the Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration’s Institute for University-School Partnership, which dovetails with her own career interests: Jewish education and clinical psychology. She plans to take courses at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies during her year, a cost the Fellowship will cover.

“I hope to be able to use my skills and creativity to work productively, collaboratively and efficiently, and to get a better sense of where my passions are strongest and where I see myself over the next few years,” said Balk.

Peter Kahn, of Riverdale, graduated from Yeshiva College and will be working part-time in the Office of the Dean at RIETS as he pursues smicha [rabbinic ordination] there. He has already started thinking about how he can add value to the University by helping to enhance its infrastructure and connectedness, both within and without. “YU, and RIETS in particular, is already an institution of unqualified excellence,” said Kahn. “I hope to create connections within the YU community that will also prove beneficial to those outside of Washington Heights.”