Yeshiva University News » RIETS

President Richard M. Joel on Banayich and Bonayich: Two Halves of a Nuanced Whole

This past Sunday, I joined thousands of celebrants in Yeshiva University’s Lamport Auditorium for a most joyous occasion, as a record 230 of our young rabbinical students received their ordination, from our Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

13380712214_f4ef10fb63_zThe atmosphere at this quadrennial Chag HaSemikhah event, attended by more than 3,000 people on our Wilf Campus, was simply electric; the potential energy latent in the collective capacity of these young men reverberated in the room, throughout our campus, and around our Jewish world.

The moment was not merely memorable – it served as a dramatic demonstration of Jewish vibrancy and Torah vitality in our day, a ceremonial call to arms for the incoming leadership of our people. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University Celebrates Largest Class of Rabbis at Chag HaSemikhah Convocation

On March 23, no early spring chill could deny the warmth and excitement on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus as hundreds of voices lifted in joyful song and cheering soared high above Amsterdam Avenue. The street flooded with celebration as more than 230 new musmakhim [ordained rabbis] linked arms and hands and danced together in front of Zysman Hall, pausing only to receive hugs or words of congratulations from their esteemed Roshei Yeshiva, mentors, family and friends.

Representing the largest cohort in history, the musmakhim were celebrating their ordination from YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at its Chag HaSemikhah. In a day filled with festive song and dance and brimming with pride, the graduates of the 2011-2014 classes joined more than 3,000 rabbinic alumni who have gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

“At a very crucial time in Jewish history, you are uniquely trained and qualified to reach out to Jews of all backgrounds with an authentic Torah message,” Rabbi Menachem Penner, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS and Undergraduate Torah Studies at YU, told the musmakhim. “In you, we see the bright future of our community.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi Noah Cheses Builds a Spiritual Home for Yale University Students

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Rabbi Noah Cheses“Compassion” and “trust” were the two words that led Rabbi Noah Cheses to a career in the rabbinate. As a curious high school junior in Newton, MA, he’d approached local congregation leader Rabbi Benjamin Samuels ’94YC, ’94BR, ’96R, about his calling. “He told me that becoming a great pulpit rabbi requires opening your heart, sharing your mind and forming relationships of trust with your congregants,” said Cheses.

It was a deeply intriguing message, and Cheses took it to heart. After graduating from the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College, he decided to enroll in the semikha program at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Simultaneously, he pursued a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy at YU’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies. He also studied in YU’s Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Israel for two years while completing coursework for his master’s degree in Family Counseling and Therapy at the Family Institute in Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry…

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi Yosef Bronstein Continues His Father’s Devotion to Torah Scholarship at RIETS

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Yosef BronsteinAs a young boy growing up in Bayswater, NY, the prominent Torah scholars at Yeshiva University-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary were household names in the home of Rabbi Yosef Bronstein. His father, Rabbi Chaim Bronstein, was a musmakh of the yeshiva and had worked as an administrator there since before Yosef was born. “The study and teaching of Torah were heavily-emphasized values in our home,” recalled Bronstein. “We regarded the faculty at RIETS as respected Torah leaders and role models.”

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Meet the Muskmakh: Rabbi Tsvi Selengut Works to Rebuild Shul and Community Struck by Hurricane Sandy

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Rabbi Tsvi SelengutRabbi Tsvi Selengut, a native of Teaneck, NJ, was only three months into his first full-time position in the rabbinate when he faced the challenge of a lifetime.

Selengut had planned to pursue semikhah [rabbinical training] since his teenage years. “Increasingly, people feel their lives lack meaning,” he said. “There is a real thirst out there for spirituality and satisfaction. Being a rabbi allows you to reach out and help people find the meaning that they want and need.”

After graduating from YU’s Sy Syms School of Business with a degree in marketing (“which has actually come in very handy as a rabbi,” he noted), Selengut enrolled in RIETS to assemble the tools he would need for a successful career as a pulpit rabbi. Read the rest of this entry…

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Yeshiva University and its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) today issued the following statement in response to media reports that one of our rabbinical students may be denied ordination due to his participation in a “partnership minyan”:  Read the rest of this entry…

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Center for the Jewish Future Hosts Conference for Rabbis on Addressing and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Jewish Communities

On February 25, Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future hosted an educational and training session for rabbinic leadership focusing on the unique challenges of addressing and preventing child sexual abuse in religious communities.

Victor Vieth, executive director emeritus

Victor Vieth, director emeritus of the Gundersen Health System’s National Child Protection Training Center

The conference was one of several programs and efforts by YU to promote child sexual abuse prevention and awareness and provided an overview of the latest research about abuse in faith-based communities as well as guidelines to help synagogues institute policies and procedure aimed at preventing and addressing allegations of child sexual abuse. The program included addresses from Andrew (Avi) Lauer, Esq., vice president for legal affairs and secretary and general counsel at YU; Dr. Shira Berkovits, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine‘s Early Childhood Center, part of the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center /Rose F. Kennedy Center, and a student at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School; and national child sexual abuse expert Victor Vieth, director emeritus of the Gundersen Health System’s National Child Protection Training Center.

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Alumnus and Former YU Rosh Yeshiva to Receive Israel’s Highest Honor

Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein will be awarded the Israel Prize in Jewish religious literature this year on May 6, Israel’s Independence Day. The announcement was made Sunday, February 23, by Israel’s Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron.

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein

A renowned author and scholar, Rabbi Lichtenstein is a former Rosh Yeshiva at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and Rosh Kollel and director of the RIETS Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem.

Born in France in 1933, he graduated Yeshiva College and earned his semikhah [rabbinic ordination] at RIETS, as well as a PhD in English literature from Harvard University. In l971, after serving as RIETS Rosh Yeshiva for several years, he immigrated to Israel, joining Rabbi Yehuda Amital as co-Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shevut.

“Rav Lichtenstein—in his manner, bearing, teaching and philosophy—continues to illumine our world in ways unique and distinct.  How wonderful that the Medinah has chosen to recognize this, and how what Rav Lichtenstein is serves as a critical component of what Israel has to be,” said President Richard M. Joel. Read the rest of this entry…

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Meet the Musmakh: Rabbi and Physician Eytan Cowen Cares for Others’ Well-Being, Inside and Out

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at its Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on March 23, 2014. The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, YU News will introduce you to several of these remarkable musmakhim

Rabbi Eytan Cowen of Toronto, Ontario, did not set out to become a rabbi.

20140220_RIETS_Eytan_Cohen_028He always knew that he wanted to help others—but he interpreted that desire as an imperative to care for their physical well-being. So, inspired by his parents’ altruistic example, he attended the University of Toronto and went on to graduate from medical school with a specialty in naturopathic and integrative medicine. An active member of Hatzolah Toronto, Cowen maintained a solid learning schedule in the Kollel Dirshu as he devoted the next 10 years of his life to building up his practice in Toronto, together with his wife, Sy Syms School of Business graduate Caroline Sarah Bitton, and their children.

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RIETS to Celebrate Largest Class of Ordained Rabbis at March 23 Convocation; Honorees include Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz and Jay Schottenstein 

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on Sunday, March 23, 2014, in the Nathan Lamport Auditorium, Zysman Hall, 2540 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City.

A record class of musmakhim will celebrate at the March 23 Chag HaSemikhah.

“The Yeshiva gives context to the University, and our rabbinic graduates, whom we celebrate at this Chag HaSemikhah, truly represent the best in us,” said President Richard M. Joel. “Their perspective and their professions are central and vital to the future of our community. In many ways we define ourselves through them and look to them to help in the unfolding of the Jewish future.”

This year more than 225 musmakhim from the classes of 2011-2014 will join the more than 3,000 young men who have passed through the batei midrashim [study halls] of RIETS and gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

RIETS will also honor philanthropist Jay Schottenstein, with the Eitz Chaim Award, and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz’46YC, ’49R, Av Beit Din of the Beth Din of America and of the Chicago Rabbinical Council Beit Din, with the Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l Aluf Torah Award. Special recognition will also be given to those who received semikhah 50 years ago, members of the RIETS classes of 1960-63. Read the rest of this entry…

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