Geri Mansdorf grew up in Brooklyn and attended Yeshiva University High School for girls there. She has a masters degree in education and administration from the Azrieli Graduate School, and taught in the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach before coming to Yeshiva University.

Geri’s husband Asher is a dentist is an alumnus of YU High School and Yeshiva College. They have been blessed with 4 children, three of whom so far who have brought wonderful spouses into the family, and 9 adorable grandchildren. They currently live in Woodmere.

 

1. What profession did you think you would hold when you were a student?

I certainly didn’t ever imagine that I would be in this position. I did expect to be in the field of education, as a teacher and eventually in administration, however, I never considered higher education as a destination. I suppose in the literal sense this position is actually what I had hoped for since it combines both education and administration.

2. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

There are so many aspects of working at YU that make the job special. I have the opportunity to visit communities across North America and meet with extraordinary families and educators. It is fascinating to see so many different approaches to Jewish education when I go from school to school, and there is something new I learn from each one and at each visit. Meeting with high school students and listening to their hopes and aspirations, learning about what they enjoy doing and even what they like to read is uplifting and enlightening. The student interaction is definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job. On campus, I am constantly in awe of how outstanding and exceptional our own students are.  They are serious about their studies, committed to the betterment of the Jewish community and the world, work twice as hard as students in most other universities and still find time to savor student life and enjoy every moment of their undergraduate experience. Then there are the added benefits of working at YU. For example, where else could I work and hear a dvar Torah from a renowned rosh yeshiva in the copy room?

3. What are some of your goals in the admissions office?

Only a small part of what we do in Admissions is actually that. An important goal is to share the vision of the Yeshiva University of the future. I am passionate about communicating to as many individuals and communities that the very existence of YU is critical to the existence of the Jewish community in the US and even around the globe. Admissions is the face of the university and often we are the first representative that a student or parent meets. It is critical to be sure that the impression we make and the feeling a visitor walks away with is one that accurately reflects our mission and our strengths. Often I am asked to compare YU to other institutions, and I can honestly respond to that by stating that YU is incomparable. Only at YU will you find both the diversity and unity of the Jewish people under one umbrella and only here can you study with the freedom to question and explore the world while ensconced in the veil of Torah. I would like everyone to know that students can soar at YU and that we will give them the tools, the guidance and the power to fulfill their dreams.

4. What would you consider some of your YU successes?

My success can only be measured by student success. When a graduating senior comes to see me in my office, probably 5 or 6 years after we first met in high school, and thanks me for believing in him and giving him the opportunity to study at YU when others didn’t think he could do it, I consider that a success. There are no words to adequately describe that feeling. When a Mechina student who came to YU with no real comprehension of what she was getting herself into graduates and is admitted to Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and then pursues a career in medicine as a Torah observant Jew, that is a success. The list is longer than you can imagine, and each story is its own unique tale, but knowing that I can make a difference in a student’s life is a success.

5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

After all these years, I am not sure there is much my colleagues don’t know about me. One of the other great things about working at YU is that there are ties that bind us to one another here that just don’t exist anywhere else. YU is a community unto itself. Our faculty doesn’t sit in an “ivory tower.” The deans, faculty, roshei yeshiva, administrators and every level of employee are committed to the institution and to each other. They are as sincerely interested in one another as they are in the students, which means that we spend time sharing smachot and life cycle events in meaningful and personal ways. We share pictures on our phones, follow each other’s stories on Instagram and look out for one another. So, thinking of something they don’t already know is a challenge. I suppose it might come as a surprise to some that if I had the opportunity to go back to work in summer camp, I would definitely do it!

 

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