Largest Class of Rabbinic Students to be Honored at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary Chag Hasemikhah Convocation

Feb 11, 2010 — On Sunday, March 7, 2010 Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of the most recent class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation, which will take place at Nathan Lamport Auditorium in Zysman Hall, Amsterdam Ave. at 186th St. in New York City.

“Every four years, RIETS celebrates the commitment of its devoted students who join the ranks of our world-class musmakhim,” said President Richard M. Joel. “The Chag Hasemikha is our way of acknowledging their years of hard work and signifies our profound pride in their commitment to the Jewish people.”

This year over 190 musmakhim—the largest group ever—from the classes of 2006-2010 will join the thousands of young men who have passed through the batei midrashim [study halls] of RIETS and gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

RIETS will also honor Marvin S. Bienenfeld, a distinguished member of its board, with the Eitz Chaim Award and Rabbi Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, vice president for university affairs, with the Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l Aluf Torah Award. Those who received semikhah 50 years ago – members of the RIETS classes of 1957, 1958 and 1959 – will also be honored.

The record class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and 59 North American cities. While most of the musmakhim will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or in religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach, or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including 12 doctors and 15 lawyers. The majority of those pursuing rabbinic careers will be spreading the Torah of RIETS outside the tri-state area in communities such as Memphis, Oakland, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Boca Raton and Toronto, among others.

The musmakhim will enter their calling well-equipped with the unique training that only a RIETS education can offer. Along with its rich history of unmatched Torah scholarship, the Seminary has implemented an enhanced Rabbinic Professional Education Program. Designed to meet the communal and spiritual needs of our time, the innovative program offers students an extensive curriculum on topics ranging from pastoral psychology and public speaking to leadership training and community building—all taught by renowned experts and rabbis. In addition, students are exposed to contemporary halachik [Jewish law] issues they may encounter in fields such as bioethics, technology and business—embodying the Torah U’Madda philosophy.

“Our semikhah program represents the gold standard of excellence,” said Rabbi Yona Reiss, the Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS, who will oversee his first Chag HaSemikhah since joining RIETS as dean in 2007. “Aside from the erudition and scholarship – which remain the emphasis of our program – we are also producing professionally qualified and sensitive individuals who have received the requisite professional skills to serve as community leaders.”

Founded in 1896, RIETS is the leading center for education and ordination of Orthodox Rabbis in North America. To learn more about the Chag Hasemikhah, please call 212-568-7093, email or visit

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