On Monday, June 22, the Undergraduate Torah Studies Program hosted a virtual siyum [gathering celebrating the completion of a unit of Torah study] and seudas preida [closing banquet] dedicated in memory of Saadya Ehrenpreis, a beloved student from the Makor College Experience Program at Yeshiva University who passed away in April. The program also included students in the Semicha [rabbinical ordination] program at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
A touching and beautiful video featuring Saadya was shown. He was scheduled to graduate at YU’s 89th Commencement this past June and was remembered as a warm, sweet young man whose presence is sorely missed.
The event featured divrei bracha [words of blessing] from Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University; Rav Hershel Schachter, rosh yeshiva [head of yeshiva] at RIETS; Rav Asher Weiss; and Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon. Rabbi Menachem Penner, Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS, and Rabbi Dr. Yosef Kalinsky, dean of the men’s Undergraduate Torah Studies Programs, spoke as well to the over 140 participants. Rabbi Joel Schreiber ’57YC, ’60R, ’60BR, former chair of the Board of Trustees of RIETS, was honored with making the hadran [text said upon completion of a tractate]. Students who spoke included Marc Shapiro ’21SB, Ari Hagler, Noam Josse ’22YC, Eitan Aryeh ’21YC, and Michael Nassimi ’20YC.
“The Yeshiva was delighted to provide talmidim [students] the opportunity to celebrate their extraordinary learning accomplishments this year,” said Rabbi Kalinsky. “Completing the masechtos [Talmudic tractates] they started on campus – at home – was no small feat, and each talmid should be proud of his resilience, tenacity, and dedication to Talmud Torah.”
Rabbi Penner closed the siyum by congratulating the students on their impressive accomplishment and for “making the night a time of light.” He told the participants that this event “was one of his proudest moments” and “looks forward to the time when the lights will be back on in the Beit Midrash.”