Yeshiva University News » Orientation

14980607302_1579bb2c3d_bDear Students,

Welcome to the start of a new academic year at Yeshiva University, when our campuses once again become vibrant with your energy and commitment to all aspects of learning and growing. For some of you, Yeshiva University is a new experience, and for others, a continuation of your special journey. Regardless of whether it is your first or fourth year on campus, as the school year and Jewish New Year commence, the freshness of a new start and boundless opportunity is exciting for all.

Here at Yeshiva University, it is particularly our students that advance the mission and vision of this extraordinary enterprise. You all contribute your own unique spirit and strength that make this diverse institution outstanding. I applaud you in advance of this school year for taking part in this community of value and values. We hope you can partner with us so we can not only provide you, our students, with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive global market, but to do much more. We will provide you with the framework in which to live.

A special word of appreciation must be said to the Yeshiva University faculty who bring wisdom to our world. We are proud of your teaching and appreciate the contributions you make to advance knowledge and our institution.

I wish you all an invigorating and fulfilling year filled with the promise of academic achievement, personal development, and global impact.

As always, I welcome your feedback at, and I look forward to seeing you on campus.


Richard M. Joel

President and Bravmann Family University Professor

Yeshiva University


Comments Off

Set to Begin Their Academic Journey, New Students Arrive on Campus for Undergraduate Orientation

This week, incoming students will converge on the Wilf and Israel Henry Beren campuses of Yeshiva University for an informative and spirited orientation that will kick off the 2014-15 academic year.

This diverse student body has dreams of pursuing an array of professional careers ranging from biologists to accountants, Jewish historians to lawyers, literary critics to physicians. Yet they all chose to attend Yeshiva University, the only institution that offers cutting-edge academics and high-level Judaic studies, in addition to endless extra-curricular opportunities.

The students arrived from all over the globe, wheeling yellow storage bins and luggage across campuses and into the dorms that will serve as their new homes for the next few years in Midtown Manhattan and Washington Heights. Students greeted old friends and quickly made new ones, while residence advisors welcomed students and their families to campus by handing out ID cards and orientation packets on the sidewalks of 34th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.  Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off

New Students Look Forward to Unique Opportunities—and Success—at Yeshiva University

This fall, hundreds of new students will begin their academic careers at Yeshiva University, where they will learn to balance a rich and vibrant range of academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits, dedicate themselves to rigorous Torah and secular study, discover their passions, champion their beliefs and form lasting friendships.

The incoming class is made up of men and women from across the United States, Europe, Canada, Israel and Latin America. Many are starting their first year on campus following a year of Torah study in Israel, but others are beginning their college careers right after graduating high school this spring, and still others are joining YU from other colleges or universities. Daniel Amar, of Dimona, Israel, is one of the latter. After two years on an athletic scholarship for soccer at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, he is excited to start his coursework in business and marketing at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business this fall—a place he describes as “the perfect fit.” Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off

New Students Embark on Their YU Journey as Undergraduate Orientation Kicks Off

This week, Yeshiva University will welcome hundreds of new students to its Wilf and Israel Henry Beren Campuses as they settle in for their first year of study in fields ranging from biology to marketing, political science to Jewish education, mathematics to studio art and beyond. The students’ backgrounds are as diverse as their interests: this year’s incoming class includes natives from across the United States and countries around the world, including Switzerland, Argentina and France, among others. But all of them are united by their decision to inaugurate one of the most important periods of their lives here, at the only institution where they can receive an unmatched academic education and launch their professional careers while deepening their understanding and commitment to Judaism.

Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off

Student Leaders and Alumni Share Some Helpful Advice with New Students

This week, new students at Yeshiva University’s Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business will hit campus for the first time to make new friends, learn new things and set out on a journey of self-discovery that will define their college years and prepare them to pursue their dreams.

Starting college is an exhilarating experience—but it can also be a little overwhelming. To get new students off to the right start, YU News asked for some tips and tricks to get the most out of your Yeshiva University experience from the people who know best: current student leaders and alumni. Read on to for some helpful and interesting advice. Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off

Students Arrive on Campus for Undergraduate Orientation

They come from Morocco, Panama, Austria, Switzerland and countries across the globe.

They dream of becoming first-rate biochemists, artists, teachers, business leaders and Jewish thinkers.

In all, more than 650 new students will arrive at Yeshiva University’s Wilf and Israel Henry Beren Campuses this week to begin their academic journeys at the only institution where high-level Judaic studies and cutting-edge academics go hand in hand.

[easyembed field=”flickrembed”]

Fall 2012 Orientation kicked off on Wednesday, August 22 with exciting and informative activities to help students feel at home. Newcomers learned their way around YU’s uptown and downtown campuses on interactive tours led by student guides, who introduced them to key faculty, staff and resources dedicated to their academic and personal success. Read the rest of this entry…


Senator Lieberman Acclaims Yeshiva University as an “Important Proposition” at Straus Center Event

A capacity crowd of more than 1,000 people filled Yeshiva University’s Lamport Auditorium to hear a conversation on Jewish ideas and American Democracy between Senator Joseph Lieberman (I – CT) and the director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik on the evening of August 31, the last day of fall orientation.

As the first of a series of public conversations on religion and democracy, the event also served as the first public gathering of the fledgling Straus Center, attracting an audience of students, alumni, administrators, faculty and members from the greater Jewish community.

Intent on developing a new breed of Jewish thinkers and public intellectuals, the Straus Center functions as a hub for the spreading and nurturing of YU’s motto of Torah U’madda, which combines the traditional ideals of Jewish learning with the great ideas of the Western tradition.

In introducing the event, President Richard M. Joel spoke of the Straus Center’s important mission of “making headlines out of what it is we are. What it is we do. And what it is we must be.” President Joel welcomed Lieberman to Yeshiva, referring to him as a “groundbreaking Jew,” “a serious Jew,” and “a member of the family.”

Rabbi Soloveichik exclaimed his delight in opening the Straus Center with a Torah observant United States senator, calling Lieberman, “the perfect person in which to begin our series of public conversations of America and religion.”

The senator returned these compliments by sharing his admiration of the Yeshiva mission. “I feel very much at home,” he said. “YU and the Straus Center stand for an important proposition that our mission cannot be narrow, we must reach out [with our Torah ideals].”

Using Lieberman’s latest book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, as a springboard for discussion, the conversation revolved around the senator’s life as a well-known observant Jewish public servant. Lieberman recounted the inspiration he felt from the presidency of John F. Kennedy—the first Roman Catholic president—which eventually convinced him to enter politics and noted the great progress made in the realm of religious tolerance in America since that time.

An especially crowd-pleasing moment occurred when Lieberman described an encounter he had with former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin days before her televised debate during the 2008 election season. With Palin feeling nervous and off her game, her aides contacted Lieberman, asking him to help calm her as “they both were religious.” He went on to report that he shared an idea of Yeshiva University’s own Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (the great-uncle of the Straus Center’s director) with Palin, which gave her strength and motivation before the debate.

Senator Lieberman meets with student leaders at a special dinner preceding the event.

Senator Lieberman meets with student leaders at a reception before the event.

The senator closed the conversation by directly addressing the students in the audience, urging them to pursue their desired professions knowing that their faith need not hinder their success. “In this country and at this moment you will never have to choose between living a Torah observant life and your secular professional career,” he said. “Whatever you do, do it with the confidence that the system will respect your observance.”

“Senator Lieberman embodies the promise of America,” said Rabbi Soloveichik after the event. “We were delighted with his forthrightness. He answered my questions eloquently and we loved having him.”

Jordan Abowitz, the father of YU students, came to the Wilf Campus “to see what Senator Lieberman had to say. I always watch him from afar and now I can be five rows from him and hear him first hand,” said Abowitz.

As a Beren Campus student liaison for the Straus Center, Jina Davidovich ’12S, greatly enjoyed the public dialogue. “It was absolutely fabulous,” she said. “I was extremely impressed by the caliber of the questions and the depth of Senator Lieberman’s responses. They addressed key points important to America and our university while showing how much Judaism has to give to the world at large.”

The next Straus Center Conversation will take place in Weissberg Commons on Friday, October 28 at 10 a.m. Entitled “Faith and Democracy in America and Europe,” it will feature the United Kingdom’s Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


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.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”yeshivauniversity” id=”72157627547084982″]

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 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.


August 31 Conversation with Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik is First Hosted by YU’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought

Senator Joseph Lieberman will discuss religion and democracy, his political career and his new book at Aug. 31 Strauss Center event.

Senator Joseph Lieberman will discuss religion and democracy, his political career and his new book at Aug. 31 Strauss Center event.

U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman will discuss religion and democracy, his historic political career and his new book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath in a wide-ranging, one-on-one conversation with Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik on Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Lamport Auditorium, 2540 Amsterdam Ave. on YU’s Washington Heights Wilf Campus, is open to the public and serves as the first in a series of “Great Conversations on Religion and Democracy” convened by the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva. It takes place on the first day of classes in the fall semester and marks the formal beginning of Yeshiva University’s academic year.

The Straus Center is named in honor of Moshael J. Straus, an investment executive, alumnus and member of YU’s Board of Trustees, and his wife Zahava, a graduate of YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. The Center’s mission is to help develop Jewish thinkers and wisdom-seeking Jews by deepening their education in the best of the Jewish tradition, by exposing them to the richness of human knowledge and insight from across the ages, and by confronting them with the great moral, philosophical and theological questions of our age.

In the coming year, the Center will be teaching seminars on “Jewish Ideas and American Democracy” to undergraduates at Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women, and to rabbinical students. The goal of these seminars is to bring classic Jewish texts about government into conversation with the foundational works of American political thought and to consider how traditional Jewish ideas impacted the development of democracy in the United States. The Straus Center will also host, throughout the year, “Great Conversations” featuring prominent figures in public life, which will address the relationship between faith and democracy in an extended discussion.

Rabbi Soloveichik, the director of the Straus Center, explained that “because Senator Lieberman has always been proud of the role that his faith and Torah observance plays in his own historic career, he is the perfect person to discuss the role of faith in public life before the students of Yeshiva University. We are honored that the Senator will join us for what we expect will be an unforgettable evening as we ponder how Jewish ideas have changed the world and how they can continue to do so in the future.”


Gad Elbaz Concert, Sponsored by Lori Schottenstein, Caps off Exciting Orientation Week

Neon lights—green, blue and red—flickered across the stage. The sustained rasp of a cymbal and a deep, echoing bass filled the theater. More than 300 students began a slow, steady clap, raising their hands high above their heads, as Gad Elbaz took the stage at Yeshiva University’s Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center on Thursday night, August 26.

Mah shlomchem? [How are you]?” he called to the crowd. “You ready to have fun?”

The overwhelming response? “Yeah!”


That fun was made possible by Lori Schottenstein, whose family, based in Columbus, Ohio, has established a legacy of caring and community-building at YU through multiple charitable gifts, and who herself has already brought other megawatts in the Jewish music world, like Avraham Fried and Dudu Fisher, to the University. Those concerts, like Thursday’s, were free for YU students and booked to the hilt.

‘Simcha’ can mean a lot of things. It can mean song, and it can also mean participation, involvement,” noted Dr. Karen Bacon, The Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College for Women, in her address to students before the concert. “Our whole University is about involvement—intellectual involvement in the classroom, spiritual involvement on Shabbat—and I think that’s Lori’s hallmark and a theme in Gad Elbaz’s music as well.”

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”yeshivauniversity” id=”72157624840835264″]

Elbaz, an Israeli Jewish singer, has already achieved international success at age 26 with three number one hit songs, “Halayla Zeh Hazman,” “Or” and “Al Neharot Bavel.” His music appeals to both observant and secular listeners by mixing original and biblical texts with ballads, harmonies, Middle Eastern rhythms and modern pop. And he believes that dynamic can make music like his a powerful tool in uniting Jews from different communities and lifestyles.

“He makes this great soulful music; it has a rock feel, but it’s religiously oriented,” explained Sy Syms School of Business senior Or Pikary, who grew up on Elbaz’s work. “And it’s awesome to have a free chance to hear him.”

“Awesome” pretty much sums up the energy in the Cultural Center that night. Glow sticks were tossed out into the audience, becoming neon headbands, necklaces and bangles. Students rose to their feet and joined arms, swaying slowly as they sang “Jerusalem of Gold” in unison, while Elbaz kept time and later joined the audience.

“Having an Israeli artist perform is a great way to cap off Orientation,” said Naomi Friede, who along with four other Stern College women staffed the registration table and also snagged an autograph and a picture with Elbaz. “A lot of new students are just coming back from Israel, and it’s great to have an Israeli performer to show them that connection continues here, too.”

For Eli Shavalian, a freshman psychology major, the concert was just one example of the vibrant atmosphere that drew him to YU. “If you go to the Web site, there are all these exciting events lined up,” he said. “There are so many things offered. I figured, why not try them all?”

In addition to Lori Schottenstein’s concert series, her family’s donations have also established Yeshiva College’s Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program; the Jerome and Geraldine Schottenstein Residence Hall for Stern College on East 29th Street; the Schottenstein Student Center on West 185th Street on the Wilf Campus; and, in 2000, the Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, where Thursday night’s concert took place.

The coolest part of the night? “Hands down, that brocha he just made,” said Zvi Wiesenfeld, referring to the operatic, cymbal-dusted blessing Elbaz recited before taking a sip from his water bottle.