Yeshiva University News » Jonathan Halpert

Yeshiva University Men’s Basketball Coach Won More Than 400 Games

Yeshiva University today announced that Dr. Jonathan Halpert, men’s basketball coach for the past 42 years, will conclude his service at the end of the 2013-14 season. Halpert, a graduate of Yeshiva University High School for Boys, Yeshiva College and Ferkauf Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, took over the Maccabees roster in 1972 and is the longest serving men’s basketball coach in New York City history.

Halpert was twice named coach of the year in the NCAA’s Skyline Conference (1999-00, 2009-10) and received the National Association of Basketball Coaches “Guardians of the Game” honor in 2003-04. The Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association bestowed him with its “Good Guy” award in 1997-98. During his illustrious career, Halpert has coached over 300 student-athletes, including several father-son tandems. Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off

Are You Still Coaching? Tells the Story of a Celebrated Career and the First ‘Torah-Sponsored Basketball Team’

Dr. Jonathan Halpert, the longest tenured men’s basketball coach in New York City history, will self-publish a memoir about his storied 42-year career at Yeshiva University. Aptly titled Are You Still Coaching?, the book is scheduled for release by AuthorHouse on January 2, 2014.

Coach Halpert

YU Men’s Basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert

In the book’s preface, Rabbi Simcha Krauss, rabbi emeritus of Young Israel of Hillcrest and a longtime friend of Halpert, explains that the volume really tells the story about the first “Torah-sponsored basketball team of an Orthodox school of higher learning.” Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off

With Milestone Victory, Jonathan Halpert Joins Elite Group of NYC Basketball Coaches

Yeshiva University’s Dr. Jonathan Halpert became just the seventh men’s basketball coach in New York City history to record his 400th career victory on Thursday night, December 6 at the Max Stern Athletic Center—on the same court dedicated less than one year ago in his honor. The YU Maccabees defeated visiting Skyline Conference opponent Maritime (N.Y.) College 72-50, notching their second win of the early season.

YU received an 18-point, eight-assist effort from senior Gil Bash (Tel Aviv, Israel), as the Maccabees shot 64 percent from the floor. Junior Shlomo Wiissberg (Skokie, Ill.) shot 7-for-9 from the field en route to a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double, while senior Dovie Hoffman (Tarzana, Calif.) and junior Benjy Ritholtz (W. Hempstead, N.Y.) poured in 12 and 11 points, respectively.

With 400 wins, Halpert joins a select group of New York City men’s college basketball coaches who have reached this milestone Read the rest of this entry…


Men’s Basketball Coach Honored with Court-Naming Ceremony and Scholarship Fund

On Sunday, May 6, Yeshiva University’s Alumni Office celebrated the 40-year career of men’s basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert ‘62YUHS, ‘66YC, ‘78F with a court-naming ceremony in his honor at the Max Stern Athletic Center on the Wilf Campus. The event included the unveiling of Halpert’s signature on the men’s basketball court, a tribute video and the launch of the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund, an endowment that will be awarded annually to children of YU alumni living in Israel wishing to study at the University.

[easyembed field=”flickrembed”]

Halpert, who took over the Maccabees roster in 1972, is the longest tenured men’s basketball coach in New York City history.  He was named coach of the year in the NCAA’s Skyline Conference twice, and at one point compiled a streak of 15 consecutive winning seasons.  Above all, Halpert has served as a role model for core Jewish values to three generations of Yeshiva University students. Read the rest of this entry…


YU to Honor Longtime Men’s Basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert with Court-Naming Ceremony, Scholarship Fund

Yeshiva University’s University’s Alumni Office will be celebrating the 40-year career of men’s basketball Coach Jonathan Halpert ’62YUHS, ’66YC, ’78F with a court-naming ceremony in his honor on May 6, 2012 at the Max Stern Athletic Center on YU’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan. The event will include the unveiling of Halpert’s signature on the men’s basketball court as well as the launch of the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund, an endowment that will be awarded annually to children of YU alumni living in Israel wishing to study at the University.

Halpert, who took over the YU Maccabees roster in 1972, is the longest tenured men’s basketball coach in New York City history.  He was named coach of the year in the NCAA’s Skyline Conference twice, and at one point compiled a streak of 15 consecutive winning seasons.  Above all, Halpert has served as a role model for core Jewish values to three generations of Yeshiva University students.

“For four decades, Coach Halpert has imbued the Melvin J. Furst Gymnasium with the values of sportsmanship, teamwork and Jewish pride,” said President Richard M. Joel. “With this deserving honor, Coach Halpert’s example and leadership will inform the play and actions of the future scholar athletes of Yeshiva University for generations to come.”

Over the last 30 years, Halpert has visited Israel twice a year to recruit Israeli talent interested in representing Yeshiva University on the court while receiving a top-notch Torah and academic college education. The Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund was established under his guidance to benefit YU alumni who have immigrated to Israel.

“When I heard that YU wanted to mark this milestone in my tenure, I insisted that the celebration include the establishment of the scholarship fund,” said Halpert. “This grant is an expression of gratitude to Yeshiva University alumni who have made Aliyah and my way of ensuring that Israel’s future leaders obtain the tools they need to continue to build the Jewish State.”

Individuals interested in honoring Halpert’s significant contributions to YU and the Maccabees can contribute from anywhere in the world via the University website. Donors to the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund will be recognized in the interactive display documenting the history of the Maccabees in the Max Stern Athletic Center and in an honorary book to be presented to Halpert later this year.


Coach Jonathan Halpert Recruits from Israel as His Way of Thanking Those That Served in the IDF

To the average fan, it is no more than another mediocre basketball game in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, for Dr. Jonathan Halpert it means a whole lot more. For Halpert, the Yeshiva University team he coaches represents not only a private Jewish school from New York, but the entire Jewish people.

Coach Halpert

Coach Halpert

Halpert is in his 40th season as the basketball coach of the Maccabees, who currently have seven players from across Israel on their roster. Halpert, 67, comes to Israel twice a year to recruit local talent, hoping to find players worthy of representing not only Yeshiva University, but Jews everywhere.

“When Maccabi Tel Aviv plays in the Euroleague they are not only representing Maccabi, they are representing Israel and the Jewish people,” Halpert said during his recent visit to Israel.

“Whether Israelis want it or not, in the eyes of the world Maccabi is representing the Jewish state. When Yeshiva University goes out on court we are ‘the Jewish school.’ We are ‘the Jewish players.’ “There’s an opportunity to represent much more than yourself and the name of the school. For me to be able to represent the Jewish people 25 times a year is an opportunity I couldn’t get any place else. In Israel you can coach different teams and have that opportunity, but in America there is only one place I can do that so that is pretty special.” Read the full article in The Jerusalem Post


Past Men’s Basketball Captains Honored at Alumni Day Maccabees Game

With his opponents attempting to swat away the basketball, Yeshiva University Maccabees center Shlomo Weissberg dribbled to the basket. “Who’s ready?” Weissberg shouted. Quickly, he passed the ball underhand to a teammate, who made the shot. The two exchanged high-fives.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”yualumni” id=”72157628499690951″]

Weissberg had to bend down a little. His teammate, Guy Zaibert, was six years old.

Zaibert came to YU’s Wilf Campus with his father, ’97-’98 Macs captain Alon Zaibert, to participate in a unique Alumni Day celebrating past captains of YU’s men’s basketball team. Forty three former captains spanning eight decades gathered at the Max Stern Athletics Center on December 18 to reunite with team members and perennial coach Jonathan Halpert, shoot some hoops, and to be honored at a halftime ceremony during the Macs’ 2 p.m. home game against the St. Joseph’s College Golden Eagles.

“What an incredible opportunity to be able to welcome back to campus more than 50 past players,” said Illana Feiglin, director of alumni affairs. “And then, on top of that, to have the chance to see them interact with their children, grandchildren and in some cases, great-grandchildren, in a space and capacity that was sacred to these men during their time as student-athletes was truly awe-inspiring.”

Before the game, current Macs players took the court to compete in mini 3-on-3 tournaments and shooting contests with team alumni and their families.

“It’s a huge thrill to have my son here,” said the older Zaibert, a software company executive from Atlanta who pushed his flight to Israel back a day so he could attend. During lunch—which featured a screening of “The History of the Macs,” a short documentary about the team—Zaibert shared a table with friend and former teammate Steven Kupferman, captain in ’96-’97, and Kupferman’s 9-year-old son Zev. While their children shared pizza, Zaibert and Kupferman reminisced about their favorite basketball moments.

“Definitely, my favorite game was the one we played in Madison Square Garden for the Eastern College Athletic Conference,” said Zaibert. “Or when we played Baruch College. We won ten seconds from the end.”

“There’s a sense of camaraderie you develop,” explained Kupferman, now a dentist. “I brought it with me to my practice.”

For Shabsi Schreier, ’83-’85 captain, that camaraderie extends to the teams that came before and after his own. On Sunday, he and his wife Julie unveiled an interactive display outside the Melvin J. Furst Gymnasium, featuring the history of the men’s basketball team, lists of past captains and 1,000 point scorers, and information about the current team. “We wanted to show the hemshech ha-dorot, the continuity from past to future,” he said.

Chen Biron, who along with Omer Haim is co-captain of the current team, feels a similar connection. “To hear about this historic event and all the players that were going to be here made me really excited and happy,” he said before Sunday’s game. “We’re going to play hard and make the school and the people in the stands proud.”

Don Geller, captain of the ’48-’49 Macs and the most senior captain in attendance, recalled organizing the Metropolitan Jewish Day School Basketball League with the advisement of then-coach Bernard “Red” Sarachek while still in college. “Red was a great coach,” said Geller. “He’d bring pro-ballers down to train us. We trained once with Red Holzman, coach of the New York Knicks.”

On Sunday, another great coach, Jonathan Halpert, a ’65-’66 Macs captain who has presided over more than 800 games and 40 years of YU basketball, was recognized. In Halpert’s honor, the University will name the basketball court for him at a special tribute to him in the spring. A group of former players  are raising money for the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund to help  future students attend  YU.

“When my guys run on the court, they have ‘Yeshiva’ written across their chests, as we did in our years,” said Halpert. “We are out there representing the Jewish people with class, dignity, skill and sportsmanship, so that when people talk about YU, they can say, ‘Yes, they’re leaders of the Jewish people, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers—and they are basketball players on the collegiate level, too.’ ”

Watching the current Macs take the court against St. Joseph’s College later in the day, David Kufeld, the ’78-’80 captain—and only Maccabee ever drafted to the NBA—put it this way: “Basketball may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Jews, but at YU, it’s a part of our Jewish identity.”

View archived photos shared by former Maccabees here.


Former Men’s Basketball Captains to be Honored at December 18 Maccabees Game

The captains of the Maccabees are coming back to campus.

About three-dozen former captains of the Yeshiva University men’s basketball team and their families along with former players plan to participate in Alumni Day, hosted by Yeshiva University’s Office of Alumni Affairs, on Sunday, December 18. The event, open to all YU alumni, will begin at 10:45 a.m. in the Max Stern Athletic Center, Amsterdam Ave. at 184th St. on YU’s Wilf Campus, before the 2011-2012 Macs squad plays their regularly scheduled 2 p.m. game against the St. Joseph’s College Golden Eagles.

“One of the most meaningful aspects of the work done by the Office of Alumni Affairs is reconnecting graduates with old friends and colleagues,” said Illana Feiglin, director of alumni affairs. “While class reunions and this past fall’s Homecoming are excellent tools to do so, it is particularly special to bring past student athletes together on a day that celebrates their successes and camaraderie. We’re excited to see so many former basketball players and team captains back on campus and to recognize their contributions to campus life.”


Before the game, alumni and their children are invited to participate in a fun-filled session of shooting contests and a mini 3-on-3 tournament with current Macs players.  The on-court fun will be followed by a buffet lunch and the screening of a new short documentary called “The History of the Macs,” as well as a chance to hear from the legendary YU men’s basketball coach for the past 40 years, Coach Johnny Halpert.

During the event, a special interactive display will be unveiled that will feature the history of the YU men’s basketball team, list past captains, 1,000 point scorers, and share information about the current team.

The interactive display, which will be mounted on the wall just outside the Melvin J. Furst Gymnasium in the Max Stern Athletic Center, will be surrounded by oversized historical photographs of YU basketball legends. This dynamic installation is being generously donated by Mr. Shabsi Schreier, Macs Captain from 1983—85.

“Yeshiva University captains were all young men of high character who represented their team and University with dignity and distinction,” said Coach Halpert. “They were the best of the best.”

Registered alumni and their guests will then join the rest of the Macs fans for an exciting game against the Golden Eagles with a special half-time program recognizing past Macs captains. YU gear will be available for registered guests as they cheer on their favorite college team.

Finally, at the event, a committee led by past Macs players will announce the campaign to raise funds to establish The Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund to pay tribute to his 40-year coaching career at YU. On Sunday, April 29, 2012, the University will honor Coach Halpert by naming the basketball court for him.

For more information or to make reservations to attend Alumni Day on December 18, visit or email

Read more in The New York Jewish Week


A Brief History of Yeshiva University’s Men’s Basketball Team

With basketball season approaching, Yeshiva University takes a look back at the history of the Maccabees—from their legendary coach, Bernard “Red” Sarachek, to current head coach, Dr. Jonathan Halpert.

The video features interviews with Halpert, who is entering his 40th season as head coach; Lou Carnasecca, basketball hall of famer and former head coach of the St. John’s men’s basketball program; Sheldon Silver; speaker of the New York State Assembly and former Maccabee; Dr. Jeffrey Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University and former assistant coach; and David Kufeld, the only Maccabee to ever be drafted to the NBA (1980).

The men’s basketball season kicks off on November 17, when the Maccabees travel to CCNY for an 8 p.m. tip-off. Keep up with all the athletics news at


Tune into YU’s Weekly Internet Radio Show, Thursdays at 2PM

Will you be ready if disaster strikes?

This week on “Who’s on Furst?” (Thursdays at 2 p.m. EST, on and Emergency preparedness plans and precautions for individuals, families and small businesses.

On their weekly live webcast from Furst Hall on the Yeshiva University campus in Washington Heights, Mayer Fertig and Miriam L. Wallach will host Ira Tannenbaum, director of public/private initiatives at the NYC Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) Division of Health & Medical Planning and Preparedness. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from an expert about how to prepare yourself and your family for the unexpected.

Later on in the program, how many people have been in a committed relationship with something – not someone – for almost four decades? In his 39th season at YU and recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Coach Johnny Halpert is a fixture on campus and certainly at the Max Stern Athletic Center. Mentor, guidance counselor, surrogate father and coach, Halpert has seen it all and has the stories to prove it. From running practices without baskets to coaching his own kids, listen as Fertig, Wallach and Coach Halpert discuss the upcoming annual Sarachek tournament featuring top Yeshiva high school teams from around the countr, YU basketball and the love of the game.

Also this Thursday, Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani [spiritual advisor] at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) since 1977, will share a d’var torah, and you’ll hear about upcoming community events, and a roundup of interesting stories from the weekly Jewish newspapers.

“Who’s on Furst?” airs Thursdays at 2pm, on or It’s the 60 most enjoyable minutes you’ll have at work this week.