Annual Luncheon Marks 34 Years of Wilf Family’s Scholarship Support at YU
On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, hosted the annual Wilf Scholarship Luncheon, where approximately 40 student recipients of financial assistance from the Wilf Family Distinguished Scholarship Fund met with senior YU administrators and members of the Wilf family: Zygi, Audrey, Mark, Jon, Rachel and Steven.
The Wilf family has been among the most generous donors to YU. In addition to providing scholarship assistance, the family named the men’s campus in Washington Heights and created a cardiovascular research center at YU-affiliated Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This year, 95 students received approximately $1.5 million in aid from the Wilf fund.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Berman thanked the Wilf family, including Harry z”l and Joseph z”l, “for being such incredible partners. They are the ones who are behind so much of the University’s success and surely the success of the students in this room.” He went on to speak about how the students, with the help provided by the Wilf scholarships, will go on “to transform not just the Jewish world but the broader society for the better. That is what is represented in this room: the leaders of the future, the leaders of tomorrow, rooted in their Jewish identity, pro-Israel and culturally conversant and successful in the outside world.”
Yael Blau and Yonatan Abrams, both seniors, spoke about how the scholarship has enabled them to reach achievements otherwise not available to them and their enduring gratefulness for the help the Wilf family gave them.
Blau described how she discovered her passion for working with less fortunate children, which has inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in social work. “I hope that the time that I have put in, the work that I’ve done and the professional life that I have planned have made your investment in me worthwhile.”
For his part, Abrams thanked the Wilfs “for changing the course of my life, and I genuinely believe that I speak for all of us when I say that any and every achievement and success we have in the future is yours as well. We will not forget that it is not through our strength alone that we made it here to YU but through God’s gift of people like you, who can see beyond themselves to help their fellow Jews work toward the future they envision for themselves and for the world.”
Several students also spoke extemporaneously about how the Wilf scholarship helped them lay out the courses of their lives.
When Mark Wilf, who received an honorary degree from YU in 2015, took his turn at the podium, he said that his family always looks forward to this day “because it feels like a family gathering. We get so much nachas [pride] from hearing you and being with you. We’re very proud of all the work the scholars do, and as much as you are thanking us, we want to thank each of you. Anyone concerned about the future of the Jewish community only needs to come and hear you to feel energized and hopeful.”