Reaching New Spiritual Heights Together

Opening Ceremony at Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Study Sets the Tone for Year of Spiritual Growth Ahead

This week, as YU undergraduates kicked off another promising semester, hundreds of students filled the Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Study to hear words of Torah and inspiration from YU President Richard M. Joel; Rabbi Menachem Penner, Max and Marion Grill Dean of YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theologial Seminary; and RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Baruch Simon that laid the foundation for the exciting spiritual journey they will undertake this year.

“Yeshiva is a place for all of us to grow not just in our Torah learning, but in our connection to Hashem,” said Rabbi Penner, whose remarks focused on a pivotal question that students and their faculty will consider together this year: the role that technology plays in both interpersonal relationships and man’s relationship with God. “Texting and emailing are important parts of our world – but we have to learn how to disconnect at times so that we can ‘reconnect’ with Hashem and give our full focus to the activities we’re involved in. This is especially critical as we are learning in the batei midrash [study halls], davening and sitting in shiur. We at Yeshiva must set a trend for the community.”

President Joel offered students additional insight into how to connect to God, as individuals and as part of a nation. “When I look out at the students of Yeshiva, hope transcends the ugly noises of today,” he said. “We have the gift of being individuals and a collective in the service of Hashem. YU gives you the opportunity to internalize that lesson and to achieve shleimut [wholeness]: to build a life of purpose, value and meaning.”

The ceremony also paid tribute to RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yosef Weiss zt”l,  who taught at YU for 75 years.