Sy Syms Celebrates Year of Achievement

Annual Gala Honors Business School Students and Faculty

Over 300 students, faculty, and friends gathered in the cream-and lilac-illuminated Prince George Ballroom on April 14 to celebrate the Sy Syms School of Business’ Annual Gala Awards Dinner. Organized by the Sy Syms School of Business Student Council, the event honored 28 award recipients and featured Benjamin Brafman, noted criminal defense attorney, as keynote speaker.

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres in the crowded foyer, with people lining up for the photo booth and others exchanging high-fives and embraces as they mingled. “I think [the dinner] is one of the best aspects of being in Sy Syms School of Business,” said Eli Greenberg, a junior from Stamford, Connecticut, “because it’s a night to reflect back on the year and recognize people who have really exceeded expectations.”

“It’s a really exciting opportunity,” said Rebecca Saragossi, a senior from Boca Raton, Florida, “to be here with all your friends and to shine the spotlight on Sy Syms School of Business and all the amazing things we’ve done.”

During the dinner portion, the crowd watched a video presentation prepared for the event, featuring students providing spirited and emotional testimony about the power, breadth, and depth of their educational journey at Sy Syms.

Syms Student Council Co-Presidents Alexa Ratner and Josh Teller then added their own reminiscences about being students and thanked the faculty, administrators, and students who had made the evening possible. They were followed by comedian Eli Lebowicz ’11YC, who entertained the room before handing off the proceedings to Associate Dean Michael Strauss.

Strauss listed the extraordinary achievements of the past five years that Dean Moses Pava, the Alvin Einbender Professor of Business Ethics, along with himself and Associate Dean Avi Giloni, have put in place, including new programs like Business Intelligence and Marketing Analytics, the planned business incubator with Israeli companies, and faculty who are also active practitioners of what they teach. He was especially gratified that Syms was ranked number 16 for accounting professionals in 2016 by LinkedIn. “When you talk to our students,” Strauss said, “you will see a sense of optimism, a sense of energy, a sense of excitement. Working with these young men and women is the reason why I’m here at Yeshiva University.”

Strauss shared a message from Marcy Syms, president of The Sy Syms Foundation, who was unable to attend the ceremony: “I am so proud of all of you and of all the wonderful things that you do and will do in the years to come. I hope all of you remain connected to the school and support its continued success and importance through your careers.”

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Benjamin Brafman

Brafman is a renowned criminal defense attorney and outspoken defender of Israel—a topic which he focused on during his keynote speech. He exhorted students to “be an advocate” for Israel and added, “If you want Israel to live, then you have to do something. Remember who you are and where you come from.”

Pava ended the evening with a Torah lesson related to Pesach, about the relationship of the exodus from Egypt and Biblical redemption in people’s everyday lives. “As you prepare to leave Yeshiva University and seek your fortunes in the world of business,” he said, “I believe that we will benefit if we think seriously about how we make the lessons of everyday redemption into a reality, not only in our personal lives but also in our professional lives as well. As the saying goes, business is business. But never forget business is the location where one is enjoined to reveal the holy that is concealed, to disclose the divine that is suppressed. Good luck and congratulations.”

The gala awardees included:

Professor of the Year: Dr. Rachel Calipha

Adjunct Professor of the Year: Professor Kevin Brabazon

Harold Nierenberg Valedictorians – Wilf Campus: Josh Honig and Jacob Meir

Harold Nierenberg Valedictorian – Israel Henry Beren Campus: Sima Gold

Bernard Brown Excellence in Business Studies: Adam Pasternak

Joseph Herbst Award for Outstanding Achievement in Accounting: Jacob Meir

Henry Brout Award for Superior Scholarship in Accounting: Sima Gold

Harry R. Mancher Award for Excellence in Accounting: Eldar Ben-Zikry

Joseph Herbst Award for Excellence in Accounting: Gavrielia Pearl

Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Business Intelligence: Sarah Ginsburg and Sammy Schwartz

Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Finance: Josh Honig and Lee Sahar

Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Marketing: Rebecca Mandelbaum and Darren May

Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Management: Michal Adler and Maurice Eisenman

President’s Award: Alexa Ratner and Josh Teller

Professor Richard Williams Memorial Award for Service and Character: Ezra Kapetansky

Service and Character Award: Alexandra Gordon, Matan Horenstein, Michael Klein, Danielle Orenshine, Rebecea Saragossi, Aharon Shevach, and Shlomo Frishman