Grant to Encourage Community Day School Graduates to Study at Yeshiva University

The Kohelet Foundation is funding a scholarship for graduates of community day schools to encourage them to study at Yeshiva University, the country’s oldest Modern Orthodox institution of higher learning.

The Philadelphia-based Kohelet Foundation is giving Yeshiva $720,000 over the next six years to provide scholarships to students from Jewish community day schools, so-called because they are not attached to any one stream of Judaism. Modern Orthodox day schools and Yeshiva high schools comprise YU’s traditional base.

Five scholarships per year for enrollment at YU’s undergraduate schools—Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business—will go to students from community day schools.

The Foundation and Yeshiva believe that offering the scholarships will pique the interest of students who may not have otherwise considered the school as an option and that others will apply for and attend YU even if they are not the actual scholarship recipients. Beyond that, they hope that the scholarship winners will become Yeshiva ambassadors. As part of the scholarship agreement, the winners will return to their alma mater high schools throughout the year to engage in volunteer activities, meet current students and arrange creative spiritual opportunities.

“We firmly believe that YU’s undergraduate model—which provides a dual curriculum of both Judaic and traditionally secular subjects—will appeal to students from across the religious spectrum,” said Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel. “The chief obstacle to attracting these students has not so much been ideology as simply not being on their radar. But it is truly our goal to make Yeshiva University accessible to anyone who wants to attend.”

Roughly a dozen students from community day schools annually enroll in Yeshiva. The school would like to significantly increase that number through the scholarships, which will be administered through YU’s Center for the Jewish Future.

The first five recipients of the Kohelet scholarship, now attending Yeshiva University, are Jenie Rayek, Taylor Cohen and Shana Rimon of Ben Lipson Hillel Community High School in North Miami Beach, Florida; Daniel Lazarev of Tannenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto-South Campus; and Simon Weisberg of David Posnack Hebrew High School in Davie, Florida.

“YU is a place for all Jewish kids and not just those with a strictly Orthodox upbringing or education,” said David Magerman, a Yeshiva University trustee who founded the Kohelet Foundation with his wife Debra in 2008. “Jewish day schools of all stripes are essential to the continuity of the Jewish people, and for day school students, attending Yeshiva University as a next step in education will cement them as our next generation of Jewish leaders.”