Apr 3, 2006 — Yeshiva University will offer a Yeshiva Honors Program through its undergraduate Mazer Yeshiva Program and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary beginning in the 2006-2007 academic year that administrators hope will continue to invigorate Torah learning at YU.
“The addition of an honors program in the Mazer Yeshiva Program infuses into the Beit Midrash a sense of striving to greater levels of Torah learning, which is a tone we want to echo throughout the Beit Midrash (study hall) and the campus as a whole,” said Rabbi Mayer Twersky, Merkin Chair and rosh yeshiva at RIETS, who will direct the program.
The program will identify approximately 10 to 15 exceptional incoming students who demonstrate potential to become genuine talmidei chochomim (Judaic scholars). Yeshiva University will provide these students with the opportunity to maximize their potential through a rigorous learning schedule and curriculum, within the framework of YU’s unique commitment to Torah Umadda.
The program will provide significant scholarships and will include additional required learning, mentoring, bechinot (examinations), and the publication of Talmudic exegeses.
“We want to give the brightest young men a focused atmosphere for learning and growing,” said Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS and the Mazer Yeshiva Program. “We want to reward them for their intensive, seven-day-a-week learning –– no less than students at other university honors programs are rewarded.”
Students must maintain a 3.4 out of 4.0 grade point average in all of their subjects to remain in the program. Participants who complete the program will receive degrees with the honors notation upon graduation.
Honors Program participants will be subject to rigorous learning expectations. They will be expected to learn a minimum of 60 blatt (pages) of gemara (Talmud) with commentaries by Rashi and Tosafot per year –– beyond the regular curriculum of in-depth learning with commentaries –– and will be tested on the material. Students will also focus on chumash (Bible) and the commentaries of Rashi, and Unkelos and be tested weekly on their understanding. In addition, students will attend Rabbi Twersky’s regular sichot mussar and hashkafa (talks on philosophy).
Expectations will be increased over the course of the program; for instance, the chumash requirement will expand in the second year to include the study of selected passages of Ramban (Nachmanadies) in the second year.
A Yeshiva Honors final project of divrei Torah of publishable quality, written under the guidance of a mentor from the rabbinic faculty or Kollel Elyon is also required. Students must remain in the program for three years and are encouraged to allow four years for college, beyond their studies in Israel.