Mar 9, 2007 — Ann and Hyman Arbesfeld of Kew Gardens, NY, will dedicate the popular Sunday learning programs at Yeshiva University, on March 18 in memory of Mr. Arbesfeld’s parents. The Kollel Yom Rishon, a program for men, will be named the Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon program and the study group for women will be named the Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon program.
Yeshiva University’s three-year-old Kollel Yom Rishon and Midreshet Yom Rishon programs “started on a street corner,” says Philip Moskowitz, program coordinator for the Department of Community Initiatives at Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).
According to the CJF staff member, the unique series had its beginning when Rabbi Meir Goldwicht, Rosh Yeshiva of YU’s Mazer School of Talmudic Studies, suggested in passing to colleagues at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) that they should create special learning programs to re-engage former students.
Today, those programs—a project of the CJF and RIETS –serve hundreds of men and women every Sunday morning, drawing not only alumni but interested students and visitors from all over the metropolitan area.
“Word spread quickly and we started to attract all those thirsty for YU’s brand of Torah,” notes Mr. Moskowitz. The program now has an e-mail base of 4,000 names and features weekly presentations by RIETS Roshei HaYeshiva, members of YU’s faculty, and other Torah luminaries, both men and women.
“Everything from the quality of the speakers, to the people who attended, to the parking arrangements and the food they served was unbelievable,” says Mr. Arbesfeld.
In fact, the couple was so impressed that Mr. Arbesfeld offered to endow the programs in memory of his parents. “It’s a perfect fit,” he says. “My father always had a sefer [Torah study book] in his hand, and he always spoke about the importance of learning.”
Mr. Arbesfeld is hopeful that his gift will allow the two programs to expand, since, he notes, “calls are coming in from all around the country” for this type of venture.
The couple has a long relationship with YU. Mr. Arbesfeld, a longtime member of the RIETS board, says he is “indebted to YU” for 11 years of education, including high school, college, and three years in the semikhah [rabbinical ordination] program. Mrs. Arbesfeld served for a decade as president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization, and the couple’s four children are all graduates of YU’s undergraduate and graduate schools.
Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the heritage of Western civilization and the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life. More than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools –– Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business ––– offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic research institutions.