Commencement: A Family Affair

Los Angeles Family to Celebrate Five Graduates at Yeshiva University Commencement

With eight Yeshiva University degrees in their extended family already, Rabbi Joseph and Robin Schreiber of Los Angeles, California, have celebrated many YU graduations, but this year may take the cake: all three of the couple’s triplets and two of the triplets’ spouses will receive their undergraduate degrees at Yeshiva University’s 84th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 17 at the Prudential Center.

Left to right: Daniel Schreiber, Naftali Nunberg, Elisheva (Schreiber) Nunberg, Sara (Schechter) Schreiber, and Nathaniel Schreiber

The triplets—Daniel and Nathaniel Schreiber and Elisheva Schreiber Nunberg—will graduate from the Sy Syms School of Business, as will Elisheva’s husband, Naftali Nunberg, with two degrees in accounting, one in finance, and one in business management between them. Nathaniel’s wife, Sara Schechter Schreiber, will graduate from Stern College for Women with a degree in psychology and a minor in art.

Their older brother, Akiva, and his wife, Avigayil Goldson Schreiber, graduated from Sy Syms and Stern College respectively within the last three years.

For the Schreibers’ parents, there was never a question where their children would study.

“We raised our children with strong Torah values as their foundation to life and encouraged the pursuit of secular education and personal growth both spiritually and professionally,” said Rabbi Schreiber, principal of Judaic studies at YULA Boys High School in Los Angeles. “YU’s mission statement of Torah Umadda makes it an institution whose values mimic our own. All our children were able to connect with rebbeim and faculty members as mentors, create incredibly strong circles of friends with young men and women of similar lifestyles, middot and drive, and become a part of the YU family.”

During their time at YU, the Schreiber triplets and in-laws enjoyed getting to share their college experience—and their professors. Daniel recalled the moment when Sidney Mehl, instructor of finance at Sy Syms, turned to him while taking attendance for his Principles of Finance class and asked if Akiva and Nathaniel were his brothers: “When I said, ‘Yes, they are,’ he smiled and said, ‘Wow, I’ve had a Schreiber in my class for three semesters in a row!’ ”

Little did Mehl know it was only the beginning of sequential Schreibers for him: “The following semester Elisheva was in his class, a year later I took another of his courses, and during the fall ’14 semester, Nathaniel, my brother-in-law Naftali, and I all took Financial Statement Analysis with Professor Mehl, capping off six straight semesters of Professor Mehl teaching a Schreiber with three of us in his class at once,” said Daniel.

The Schreibers also have a penchant for meeting their spouses at YU barbecues. Nathaniel and Sara met at their First Year Orientation barbecue, and Elisheva and Naftali met at the Yom Ha’atzmaut barbecue two years ago. (Naftali, who lived on the same floor as Daniel and Nathaniel, walked up to Elisheva when he saw her talking to them. “Right then, it was game over,” he said.) The barbecue is still one of their favorite annual YU events. “Last year Yom Ha’atzmaut fell on our shared birthday,” said Elisheva. “To make it even more fun because it’s three birthdays on the same day, we decided to wear matching birthday hats and sashes to the annual barbecue. That was quite fun—we got so many laughs from everyone there.”

However, although attending college with their siblings, spouses and in-laws meant the Schreibers had built-in friends and family, they also valued the deep connections they formed with their fellow students and faculty, both in the classroom and beyond.

“My favorite part of my YU experience is definitely the culture and camaraderie of the University,” said Nathaniel. “It is so evident among the entire student body, faculty, administration and especially the essential personnel. There’s nothing better than when the shuttle drivers and many of the security guards, who practically know me by name, always check in with me to see how I am doing and especially ask how all my siblings are doing. The warm atmosphere across the University, especially during the cold winters of New York—after all, I am a Los Angeles boy—really adds so much meaning to my education and experience here and has allowed me to branch out into many different circles.”

“Coming to YU has been the best choice I’ve made,” said Elisheva. “I made a lot of new friends who I know I will keep in touch with even post-graduation. The classes I have been taking in Stern College and Sy Syms have been great, and I built a connection with my Judaic studies teacher, who I’ve taken for three semesters and am extremely comfortable asking halachic questions.”

Her sister-in-law Sara agreed. “I also like that the classes are pretty small and I’ve made some close connections with teachers,” she said. “The whole environment is very warm. As someone who is from out-of-town—Toronto—it was nice for me to experience.”

“The residents on my floor in Rubin Hall were awesome,” said Naftali. “We share in so many fun and amazing memories: the shower sing-offs, the late night schmoozes, the birthday parties. Having intelligent people right next door who I knew I could always ask for help was also very beneficial toward my education at YU.”

Naftali, who attended YU at the same time as his sister, also has a bonus sibling-in-law of his own to celebrate: his former roommate, close friend and fellow graduate, Yiriel Liss, married Naftali’s sister this year.

Does it feel like the Schreibers are related to the entire YU community? Maybe a little. “Luckily, the Schreiber family is very welcoming and we consider ourselves related to people no matter how distant,” said Nathaniel. “So it is possible.”

Don’t worry, though—that’s not a bad thing. “We spend a lot of time with each other and it’s always a good time,” said Sara.