UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and former Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer Recognize Honorary Degree Recipient Mr. Jason Greenblatt, Key Architect in Creating Abraham Accords
Yeshiva University held its 90th Annual Commencement Exercises in person on Wednesday, May 26, in Arthur Ashe Stadium in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with the participation of more than 650 graduates and their families, friends and university faculty, staff and administration.
The commencement opened by honoring the incredible dedication of YU’s students, rebbeim, faculty, staff and administrators, who have demonstrated tremendous resilience over the past 14 months and who have ensured a healthy academic year for the YU community, whether they were on campus or participating virtually.
This year’s ceremony marks the end of a tumultuous year where the YU community emerged even stronger together. Internationally renowned singer Shulem Lemmer set the tone, inspiring the audience with his version of “Rise Up” as a tribute to all that the members of the YU family have been through together followed by a joyful celebration of this remarkable milestone.
“Character is shaped by adversity,” said Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, in his remarks to the graduating students. “While none of us had the map that told us how this year would unfold, we did have the compass. Our values are our compass. Even during times of deep uncertainty, they give us confidence that we are moving in the right direction.”
Turning directly to the students, Dr. Berman congratulated them on the leadership, kindness and sense of responsibility they displayed all throughout this year, charging them with the mission of living their values all throughout their lives.
Prior to the awarding of the degree to Jason Greenblatt, Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States, and Ron Dermer, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, offered warm recognition for Greenblatt. Oitaba commended him for his work, which “not only created new economic opportunities but demonstrated to the world the possibilities and potential of peace,” and Dermer paid tribute to Greenblatt’s steadfast loyalty to Israel, thanking him for “all the work he did to help advance peace between Israel and our Arab neighbors.”
Greenblatt is a graduate of the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva High School for Boys (1985) and Yeshiva College (1989) and former White House Middle East Envoy. During the nearly three years that Greenblatt worked at the White House, he re-educated people about the conflicts and their complexities and began to build the bridges necessary to achieve peace. As founder and CEO of Abraham Venture LLC, Greenblatt now focuses on creating what he calls a Middle East 2.0, building economic bridges between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
In his keynote address, Greenblatt exhorted the graduates to “always remember that it’s your obligation to continue to build your communities and help the United States of America, the Jewish State of Israel and indeed all of humanity in meaningful ways, while living up to and being true to the values of the Torah. You can be a proud, observant Jew anywhere.”
As the graduates were called up to walk across the stage, they had the opportunity to hear from their fellow students, with remarks from the valedictorians as well as personal reflections and memories from the classmates.
In all, more than 1,700 students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business as well as graduate students in law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish studies and psychology were awarded degrees from Yeshiva University during its commencement season.