Yeshiva University News » Yeshiva High School

Nov 5, 2008 — Before he was killed in the terror shooting at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav in Jerusalem in March this year, 16-year-old Avraham David Moriah was known for his extraordinary commitment to Torah study and worship. He prayed with such devotion that another Torah scholar would travel to the yeshiva to pray alongside him. Rabbi Yerachmiel Weiss, head of the Yeshiva High School of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, shared this memory with over 300 Yeshiva University undergraduates at an event sponsored by the Israel Club.

The audience crammed into a Furst Hall lecture room to hear Rabbi Weiss and Rivkah Moriah, Avraham David’s mother, speak about their experience of the shooting that shook the global community.

After the attack, Rabbi Weiss identified the bodies of six of his students among the eight killed in the massacre. He was acclaimed worldwide for his response to the tragedy, particularly his balance of grief and faith in a well-known television interview with hard-hitting Israeli reporter Ilana Dayan.

The students were deeply moved and awed by the accounts they heard. Danny Buckingholts, a senior at Sy Syms School of Business and president of the Yeshiva Student Union, asked the rabbi what emotions were appropriate to express as a nation and how people should go about living their ordinary lives after such an event.

“All strength comes from God alone; when I question what happens in this world, I do so knowing that God knows all and everything, and judgment is his alone,” Rabbi Weiss said.

Ms. Moriah, who grew up in rural New Hampshire and converted to Judaism, spoke about the life of her late son. Though only in high school, Avraham David was already skilled at reading the weekly Torah portion in synagogue. She recounted some of the precocious study habits of the other young victims, one of whom, a 16-year-old, had reviewed the entire six tractates of Mishnah 50 to 60 times.

“I have lost one son, but I have gained 300,” Ms. Moriah said. “My commitment and tafkid [mission] has shifted to working for the wellbeing and recovery of the remaining students of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav.”


Jul 13, 2006 — As many Jewish day-school principals and administrators retire over the next decade, the profession will look to the next generation of Jewish educators to take their place. Most day-school teachers have never received formal training in school administration, and often find themselves struggling to balance teaching with new administrative responsibilities.

This issue was addressed for the first time at a Yarchei Kallah (gathering for learning) held in June in Teaneck, NJ. About 20 educators from six states participated in this conference, which aimed to create a strong network of talented Jewish educators and administrators.

The conference was organized by Support for Educational Leadership Advancement (SELA), an initiative of the Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools and Yeshiva High Schools (AMODS) at the Center for the Jewish Future.

“This is the first step in preparing professional Jewish educators for the roles they will play as administrators,” said Toby Goldfisher Kaplowitz, SELA’s director.

Conference workshops and discussions focused on pressing issues facing future school administrators, from ethical leadership to interpersonal communication.

“The sessions offered many practical tools and techniques for effective leadership as a school administrator,” said Nina Freeman Bieler, director of programming at Maayanot Yeshiva High School.

Small mentoring groups led by older professionals, as well as informal discussion time, offered participants opportunities to share their individual concerns and learn from each other’s experiences.

To provide a more formal support network throughout the year, each participant received membership in the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), which includes members of the entire profession of education.

“The SELA conference was a wonderful opportunity to interface with colleagues. It is the relationships we are developing as peers that will be most helpful as we strive to advance in Jewish education,” said Rabbi Daniel Loew, principal of the Hebrew High School of New England in West Hartford, CT.

Workshops were led by prominent educators, scholars, and psychologists, including YU President Richard M. Joel; Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of CJF; David Schnall, PhD, dean of Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration; Rabbi David A. Israel, director of AMODS; Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, PhD, senior scholar at CJF; David Pelcovitz, PhD, Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Professor of Jewish Education at Azrieli; and Frank Pignatelli, prof