Yeshiva University News » Graduates

Newly Graduated, Yeshiva University Alumni Find Career, Graduate School Success  

job fair 2As undergraduates, Yeshiva University students learn to balance a rich and vibrant range of academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits, dedicating themselves to rigorous Torah and secular study while discovering their passions, championing their beliefs and forming lasting friendships. So it’s no surprise that after commencement, they hit the ground running: more than 90 percent of YU graduates were employed, in graduate school, or both within 6 months of graduation, according to the most recent survey by YU’s Career Center.

“The fact that for the last six years, we’ve been at or above that 90 percent rate is impressive,” said Marc Goldman, executive director of the Career Center. “In particular, full time employment has risen even higher than in past years, with more than 85 percent of those employed working in full time positions—that number rises to more than 90 percent when you look at those who aren’t also in graduate school.”

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Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership 2012-2013 Applications Now Open to Qualified Seniors

Yeshiva University’s Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership provides a unique opportunity for graduates of Stern College for Women, Syms School of Business, and Yeshiva College. Qualifying graduates of the class of 2012 will be selected to spend eleven months (August 2012 – June 2013) as Presidential Fellows. They will be challenged to involve themselves in and affect many aspects of campus life while engaged in an in-depth learning experience.


Fellows are selected from a competitive applicant pool and assigned to a University office where they are mentored by a University administrator.  Through work in their offices, Fellows are involved in many facets of University operations and are responsible for special projects.  In addition, all Fellows participate in a year-long graduate seminar in leadership, where they interact with University administrators and faculty in addition to academic and communal leaders invited to campus. Fellows receive a stipend of $24,000 for the year.

Fellowship placements are available in the following departments for 2012-13:

In addition to adding energy, creativity and inspiration to Yeshiva University, Fellows will gain skills and perspectives that will enable their success in whatever graduate or professional enterprise they choose to pursue. Students should consider the Fellowship regardless of their career objectives if they value service to the Jewish community and exposure to university administration.

An online application form and instructions are available here. Applications and all supporting documents must be received by January 31, 2012.


Jun 1, 2010 — Addressing the more than 5,000 people in attendance at Yeshiva University’s 79th commencement, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael B. Oren declared that the bond between his country and the U.S., as well as between Israel and YU, is inextricable.

“Whenever difficult decisions had to be made and intrepid answers rendered, religious Zionists were ready,” said Oren. “And in America, no institution better represents this readiness, the commitment to combining Jewish and secular scholarship, the dedication to preserving Israel and defending its essential relationship with the United States, than this remarkable university.”

While Oren admitted that life after graduation would pose difficult challenges and questions, he told graduates that the decision to stand with or even move to Israel was something they would never be questioned about.

“Here, I know that you know the answer—intrinsically, intellectually, and spiritually. You have always known the answer….examine any facet of Israeli life—in governance, finance, academia, defense—and you will find Yeshiva graduates,” he said. “And little wonder. Every year, six hundred of you study in Israel under Yeshiva’s auspices, and fifteen percent of all of you receiving degrees today will make aliya, enriching and strengthening our State.”

With the same emphasis on preserving and expanding Jewish and Israeli heritage through a Yeshiva University education, President Richard M. Joel said to the graduating class, “Yeshiva University’s success lies not in what it can become, it rests in what you are. For you are the blossoming flower of our tomorrows, of your parents, your people, your loved ones, and your children.”

Oren was one of four notables in the Jewish community who received an honorary doctorate at commencement from YU President Richard M. Joel. The other recipients were Rabbi Moshe Gottesman, a respected Jewish educator who served as dean of Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) for 16 years; Alfred Henry Moses, a philanthropist, communal leader and former US ambassador to Romania, and Zygmunt Wilf, Yeshiva University trustee and chairman of the Minnesota Vikings.

Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, professor of social medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a renowned researcher, was awarded the Presidential Medallion in recognition of her groundbreaking work in medicine.
The commencement honored undergraduate students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, whose daughter received a bachelor’s degree from Stern College, delivered the invocation.

“This unique university has educated these graduates so well in timeless values of Torah Judaism, the thrilling opportunities of a modern secular knowledge and the ways in which these two streams can be combined,” said Lieberman.
Fay Burekhovich, valedictorian of Stern College spoke of the way that Yeshiva University had provided countless opportunities for students to showcase their talents and to go out as leaders of their nation, while her closing remarks echoed Ambassador Oren’s call for Jews to come together as one nation, no matter where they are.

“Too many categories serve to separate us; instead, we need bridges that bring us together, irrespective of where we originated, how we conduct ourselves religiously, or even how we act towards others,” she said. “We need unity not because of our similarities, but so that we can appreciate our differences with greater clarity, so that we recognize the inherent beauty in having so many different types of Jews working together for the sake of the common good.”

In all, more than 2,000 graduate students in the fields of law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish studies and psychology, as well as undergraduate students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business, are being awarded degrees this commencement season.


Sep 4, 2009 — A group of 16 Yeshiva University (YU) graduates from the class of 2009 have decided to extend their stay on campus for another year to experience the University from another perspective: as Presidential Fellows.

The top graduates will build their professional skills while assisting in programmatic and organizational roles at various schools and departments across the institution. Since its establishment in 2004 by President Richard M. Joel, the Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership has played a major role in transforming YU into a leadership laboratory for the Jewish community.

“The program has motivated its participants to reflect on the positive experiences they have had at Yeshiva University and examine the opportunities in the Jewish community––in both lay and professional capacities—in light of their interests and skills,” said President Joel. “The fellowship inspires them to reach for the nobility and responsibility that comes with leadership.”

This year’s Presidential Fellows are Avi Amsalem, Abigail Schoenfeld, David Eckstein, Nava Billet, Esther Goldstein, Daniel Neiss, Avital Gozhenko, Adira Katlowitz, Steven A. Loterstein, Aviva Miller, Allison Liebman, Uri Westrich, Ephraim Shoshani, Annie Wasserman, Osnat Rabinowich and Perel Skier.

The fellows were chosen after an intensive screening process based on academic performance, campus leadership and involvement with the Jewish community. For the duration of the year, each fellow is mentored by a senior administrator within their assigned department. They work on projects of importance to the University and attend a graduate-level weekly leadership seminar covering key topics in university administration and Jewish communal leadership.

After speaking to previous fellows about their experiences, Avital Gozhenko of Volograd, Russia decided to apply for the fellowship. “This was an opportunity to contribute to the University as a show of gratitude for the best four years of my life,” said Gozhenko, who will be working with J. Michael Gower, YU vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer.

Some of this year’s Presidential Fellows are considering careers in Jewish communal service and see their participation as a good way to test the waters. Others will use their new skills and experiences as future lay leaders in the Jewish community.

“The fusion of traditional Jewish values with a progressive workplace environment made YU the ideal setting for the beginning of my career,” said Ephraim Shoshani of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Shoshani will serve in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs under the mentorship of its vice president, Georgia Pollak.

Perel Skier of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be working in familiar territory under her former Stern College for Women dean, Dr. Karen Bacon, as the Beatrice Diener Presidential Fellow. “I loved my experience as a student and wanted to stay connected to the University,” explained Skier. “I also wanted to widen my range of skills so that I could be more useful to any organization I may end up with.”

Previous years’ fellows have also taken positions in the corporate sector as well as in Jewish communal organizations such as the American Jewish World Service, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the UJA-Federation of New York and various Jewish day schools. Others have gone on to graduate study in public service, psychology, law, dentistry, medicine and the rabbinate. For some, the fellowship can lead to more permanent work within the University’s administration.

“Working in the offices of Academic Affairs and Institutional Research under both Provost Morton Lowengrub and Dr. Ariel Fishman was both a rewarding and challenging experience,” said Mati Sved ’08Y, a 2008-09 Presidential Fellow who now serves as an analyst for Institutional Research. “The mentoring and learning through the fellowship—while giving back to the institution—has been truly gratifying.”

The program is directed by Rabbi Josh Joseph, chief of staff and deputy to the President, and coordinated by Elysia Stein ’04S, herself a former Presidential Fellow.

Dec 2, 2008 — According to figures announced by the New York State Board of Law Examiners on November 18, graduates of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law achieved a 93.2 percent first-time passage rate on the July 2008 New York State Bar Exam.

Of the 310 Cardozo graduates who took the exam for the first time, 289 passed. This is the highest pass rate in the school’s history, exceeding last year’s record of 92 percent.

The state-wide pass rate for first-time takers from all ABA-accredited law schools was 90.5 percent; for all takers it was 74.7 percent.

“I am delighted, though not surprised, by these impressive results, which are just one indicator among many of the strength of our graduates,” said Cardozo Dean David Rudenstine.


Oct 23, 2008 — A group of 13 Yeshiva University (YU) graduates from the class of 2008 enjoyed their studies so much that they will stay on for a year after graduation, serving as Presidential Fellows. The prestigious group includes New Jersey residents Abigail Atlas, Highland Park; Danit Golubtchik, Paramus; Meyer Laniado, Oakhurst; and Victoria Stone, Teaneck.

The Fellows will build their professional skills while assisting in administrative and service roles in various departments and schools across the institution. Since it was established by YU President Richard M. Joel in 2004, the Presidential Fellowship in University and Community Leadership has played a major role in transforming the University into a leadership laboratory, training top graduates and expanding YU’s service to the Jewish community.

“The program has motivated its participants to reflect on the positive experiences they have had at Yeshiva University and examine the opportunities in the Jewish community––both for lay leaders and professionals—in light of their interests and skills,” said President Joel. “The fellowship inspires them to reach for the nobility and responsibility that comes with leadership.”

The Fellows were chosen after an intensive screening process based on academic performance, campus leadership, and involvement with the Jewish community. For the duration of the year, each fellow is mentored by a senior administrator within their assigned department and work on projects of importance to the University. Throughout the year, the Fellows attend a graduate-level weekly leadership seminar covering key topics in university administration and Jewish communal leadership.

Some of this year’s Presidential Fellows are considering careers in Jewish communal service and see their participation as a good way to test the waters. Others will use their new skills and experiences as future lay leaders in the Jewish community.

“The Fellowship is a great opportunity for me to continue to develop my strategic planning skills, specifically in a capacity that will allow me to create real meaning,” said Mr. Laniado, who will be assisting the Office of the Dean, Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).

Ms. Stone, who will be working for the Office of the Dean, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, believes that this year will help formulate her long-term goals. “My career path is uncertain, which is why being able to take a year off after graduation and work as a Presidential Fellow really appealed to me,” said the psychology major. “I am confident that this year will teach me a lot about myself and what I want to do with my future.”


Sep 17, 2008 — Thousands of law school graduates mired in considerable educational debt are shunning jobs in public service law because these jobs pay considerably less than those in the private sector. Indeed, a 2006 report from Equal Justice Works confirms that the double burden of high debt and low salaries affects recruitment and retention in the government and non-profit workforce and threatens to strike “a debilitating blow to the future of full-time public service.”

To help reverse this alarming trend, prominent philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch has made a $5 million gift, through the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, to Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law to endow a Loan Repayment Assistance Program. The Laurie M. Tisch Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) will benefit Cardozo graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in public-interest or public-service law by providing “forgivable loans” to assist them in overcoming their debt.

“This is a transformative gift,” said Cardozo Dean David Rudenstine. “It completely changes the face of our current loan repayment assistance program and ensures that our graduates can continue to work for the public good. Such work is a sterling affirmation of our commitment to equality, social justice and humanistic and intellectual values.”

Tisch, whose daughter, Emily Tisch Sussman, is a 2008 alumna of Cardozo, noted that she comes from a family in which “public service was immensely important; it was instilled in all of us from the time we were children. This gift to Cardozo builds on that family legacy.”

Indeed, she stressed that the public sector – whether it be legal assistance services, the District Attorney’s office, government, human rights groups, or not-for-profit organizations – should not be deprived of some of the best and brightest legal minds coming out of law school.

“The goal of my gift,” Tisch said, “is to provide access and opportunity for these top graduates to pursue such jobs and work for the common good, while not having to worry about being able to meet their outstanding financial obligations.”

Sixty-four of the 342 graduates of Cardozo’s class of 2007 are working in either government or public service. Of them, 56 took out student loans collectively totaling nearly $6 million; 30 of the 56 borrowed in excess of $100,000 each.

The Laurie M. Tisch LRAP will annually benefit some 60 Cardozo graduates who hold JD degrees, have full-time public service law-related jobs, and incomes of less than $60,000.

Recipients will receive an average annual grant of $4,500 and a total of $22,500 over five years. For graduates who owe $100,000, this will result in an approximate 23 percent reduction of that debt.

Today, legal education is extremely expensive. The average tuition for private New York City law schools is over $40,000 per year, and when coupled with housing and other costs, a student can expect to spend about $70,000 a year, or $210,000 to complete a three-year course of study.

About 80 percent of the 2008 Cardozo graduates have law school education debt, with an average debt of $105,000. Conversely, the average public service salary for a 2008 graduate is expected to remain at the same level as 2007, some $40,000.

The Laurie N. Tisch Illumination Fund was established in 2007 to enable more New Yorkers to take advantage of the rich opportunities that New York City has to offer. It plays an active role in supporting strong leaders and organizations that have a positive and lasting effect on individual well-being and community life.

News of the gift was published on September 17 in the New York Law Journal, the New York Sun, Newsday, and JTA.


Valedictorians L-R: Jessica Weiss (Stern, Jewish Studies), Daniella Ulmer (SSSB), Moshe Chinn (Mechinah Program), Oren Nadelbach (SSSB), Yosef Bronstein (MYP), Dror Galamadi (IBC), and Oren Wachstock (YC). Not pictured are Daniel Elovic (BMP) and Limor Wigder (Stern, General Studies).

May 23, 2008 — Calling “Never Again” the 11th commandment “etched in the aftermath of Auschwitz,” Abraham Foxman—national director of the Anti-Defamation League and keynote speaker at YU’s 77th Annual Commencement Exercises Garden on May 22—exhorted the graduates gathered at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square to turn that message into a universal mandate to speak out and act against bigotry in all its forms. Foxman, a world-renowned leader in the fight against anti-Semitism received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from YU President Richard M. Joel.

View photo galleries of YU’s Commencement.

“The gas chambers did not begin with bricks—they began with words,” Foxman said, “ugly, hateful words that demonized, degraded, and debased Jews. And those words became ugly, hateful deeds.”

Drawing on his personal history of being saved from the Holocaust by his Polish Catholic nanny, Bronislawa Kurpi, and reclaiming his Judaism thereafter, Foxman emphasized the importance of knowing about atrocities and the power of good people to save lives.

“Respond with words backed by reasonable action, and both words and action impressed with the full weight of the ethical values imparted to you by Jewish tradition,” he told the graduates. “Do that and you will answer the question “What if?” by being one of many who will give hateful words and hateful deeds no quarter.”

As a passionate supporter of the State of Israel and a voice for peace in the Middle East, Foxman was a member of the President’s United States Holocaust Memorial Council, appointed by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton. He is the author of The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control and Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism.

President Joel also conferred an honorary degree on Dr. Edie Goldenberg, professor of political science and public policy at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. As the first female dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Goldenberg completed what is believed to be the most successful fundraising campaign by a public arts and sciences college at that time, which raised $110 million. She instituted the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, which increased the number of endowed chairs and enhanced the quality and number of undergraduate seminars. Goldenberg is an accomplished author and the recipient of several awards including the Goldsmith Research Award from Harvard University in 1993.

This year’s Presidential Medallion, the highest honor that YU bestows on a member of the faculty or administration for excellent service, was awarded to Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).

President Joel paid tribute to Rabbi Charlop’s “brilliant mind, gentle hand, and sensitive heart” in leading the seminary for more than 35 years.

Under Rabbi Charlop’s distinguished leadership, RIETS experienced enormous growth, graduating thousands of rabbis, educators, and Jewish scholars. He is relinquishing his position effective June 30, 2008. He will continue to serve as one of the Masmichim, those who administer ordination exams, and will maintain his special relationship with the Kollelei Elyon (advanced study groups). Rabbi Charlop will remain full time as dean emeritus of RIETS, and will serve as special advisor to the YU President on yeshiva affairs with cabinet rank.

President Joel also announced the creation of the Rabbi Zevulun Charlop Chair at RIETS, thanks to an endowment from the Legacy Heritage Fund Limited.

The university used the occasion to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel and to highlight its many ties with the Holy Land. “Today we mark the dream and celebrate its reality,” said President Joel. He recalled the memory of Moshe Perlstein ’46Y, a Palmach guard and scout who was the first American to lose his life in the massacre of the Lamed Hey, a group of 35 soldiers who were attempting to bring aid to the beleaguered Gush Etzion, which in January 1948 was under attack by the invading Jordanian Legion. “Today would have been his 62nd alumni anniversary,” the President said.

The final honor at this year’s ceremony went to Dr. Sheldon E. Socol, a loyal YU staff member who was among the Yeshiva College Class of 1958. Socol, special advisor to the dean and to the Chairman of the Board of Overseers Building Committee at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received a proclamation recognizing 50 years of service and dedication to the university. A graduate of YU class of 1958, he began his career as assistant bursar that same year. His many posts included that of director of student finances, secretary of the university, and vice president for business affairs. Effective July 1, 2008, Dr. Socol will serve as advisor to the Office of the President of YU.

More than 2,000 graduate students in the fields of law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish studies, and psychology, as well as undergraduate students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business, are being awarded degrees this commencement season.


Irwin Cotler, 2006 YU Commencement speaker, addresses students May 25 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

May 26, 2006 — Irwin Cotler, member of the Canadian Parliament and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, urged some 750 Yeshiva University undergraduates to build an equitable and humane society in his commencement address at the university’s 75th Annual Commencement Exercises at The Theater at Madison Square Garden May 25.

See photos from the event here.

Prof. Cotler, who served as counsel to Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners during his career as an international human rights lawyer, invoked the well-known call for justice from the Torah, “tzedek tzedek tirdof [justice, justice shall you pursue]” as his central theme.

“To pursue justice, one must have a sense of injustice,” said Prof. Cotler, who teaches law at McGill University. “Each one of us must see himself as part of an indivisible struggle for justice.”

Commending YU students as the largest group representing any US university at the recent Save Darfur rally in Washington, DC, Prof. Cotler railed against global indifference to genocide. “The time has come to sound the alarm, to break the silence in the world in which we live. There are too few people prepared to stand up and stop it.”

President Richard M. Joel conferred honorary degrees on Mr. Cotler, as well as Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and former president of the University of Pennsylvania; Ernest W. Michel, executive vice president emeritus of UJA Federation of New York; and David Mitzner, real estate developer and president of Apollo-Rida Poland, SP.

Mr. Mitzner drew on his experience during the Second World War to deliver an inspiring message to the graduates: “Never give up, never lose hope, never forget your people and your faith. These simple rules kept me alive under Nazi occupation and in a Soviet prison camp.”

Mr. Mitzner worked as courier between Russian and German occupied zones during World War II, helping his compatriots to flee the Nazis. After relocating to the United States, he built a successful real estate business, including the company Apollo-RIDA one of the largest American real estate groups in his native Poland. In Orlando, FL the company developed America’s first major hotel complex to be financed and completed after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Mr. Michel told the story of the last time he saw his parents before being sent to a Nazi labor camp, which drew an emotional reaction from the audience. “The last thing my mother said to me was ‘Stay a good Jewish boy,’” he said. Mr. Michel survived the horrors of five different concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where his parents died in 1942.

Saying she felt inadequate in the presence of fellow honorary degree recipients who had survived such adversity and acknowledging her own comfortable upbringing, Ms. Rodin told the student body, “The world has given you so much. Use it.”

This year’s Presidential Medallion was awarded to Joseph Ellenberg, who has dedicated 62 years of service to YU as its director of budgets and costs. “The people we select for this honor represent the best of us. Like a proud parent and protector, you watched over Yeshiva University,” President Joel said to Mr. Ellenberg. “Through it all you stood erect as a model of ben Torah [observant Jew]. You are YU at its best.”

Mr. Ellenberg found a home at YU two years after escaping the Holocaust in Austria. He has served the university ever since graduating from Yeshiva College in 1944.

President Joel paid tribute to the Class of 2006, most of whom entered the university the same year he became president. “Your commitment inspires your faculty and rebbeim to be even more devoted,” he said. “We charge you to bring wisdom to life from the depths of learning and the expanses of your imagination. Go forth from this day and embrace a future of promise and purpose.”

President Joel conferred about 2,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees, and re-conferred degrees upon the YC Class of 1956 in celebration of its 50th reunion. He also acknowledged the 25th anniversaries of YC’s and Stern College’s Classes of 1981.

Student speaker Jacqueline Rivka Kukuy, co-valedication of Sy Syms School of Business, told the crowd that she transferred to YU from another college because she wanted to study in a Jewish environment.

“At YU, I learned the importance of chesed [kindess] and tzedakah [charity]. I will apply these lessons to all my future endeavors in business and life.”


Jun 10, 2005 — New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer encouraged the class of 2005 to follow their hearts and not be afraid to question the system, in his commencement speech for Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University.

At the school’s 27th commencement, held on June 7 in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, 369 men and women received JD degrees, and 44 received LLM degrees.

For photos of the Cardozo graduation, click here.

In introducing the Attorney General, who is well known for investigating conflicts of interest and illegal practices, Dean David Rudenstine said Spitzer has been compared to legendary figures King Arthur, Superman, and Batman, and has been called the “sheriff of Wall Street.”

During an inspiring commencement address, Spitzer told the students to work hard and be ambitious, but to also help restore the public’s trust in institutions we all depend on. “There will come a time in your careers when your ethics will be tested,” Spitzer said. “I urge you to speak the truth in your heart.”

Randi Weingarten, a 1983 Cardozo graduate and president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), received the third annual Distinguished Alumna Award for Contribution to Public Service. As head of the UFT, Ms. Weingarten represents more than 140,000 educators in the New York City public school system and also leads the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella organization for 100 city employee unions.

Like Attorney General Spitzer, she encouraged the graduates to fight for their beliefs and challenged them to make a difference. “This law school gave you the wherewithal not to just dream your dreams, but to achieve them,” Weingarten said. “Please leave our city, our country, and our world in a better place than you found it.”

In a speech on behalf of the class of 2005, graduate Kavin Edwards reflected on his time at Cardozo, noting that the Law School is known not only for its intellectual vigor, but also for its “human touch.” He urged his classmates to represent Cardozo well and “act in a manner that demands respect. “We’ll see you on the other side of greatness,” Edwards said.

Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel conferred the degrees upon the graduates and told them: “It’s all about tomorrow, and tomorrow is yours.”