The fourth annual University-wide Melave Malka brought an already popular event to an entirely new level. To accommodate the more than 400 students, rabbinic faculty and friends of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the undergraduate Torah studies programs who participated, the Max Stern Athletic Center Gym was chosen as the new venue for what has become one of the highlights of the year. Previous Melave Malka events were held in the Furman Dining Hall, but attendance in recent years has steadily expanded beyond the dining hall’s capacity.
This year’s expanded program treated participants to spirited music and dancing led by world-renowned Jewish singer Yehuda Green. Students danced late into the night and enjoyed a private concert and inspiring kumzits [gathering] with Green and his band. There was a palpable excitement throughout the evening for all who were present.
Following a shiur [lecture], a delicious smorgasbord and sit-down dinner allowed students to interact with their rabbinic mentors and friends in an elegant and relaxed setting. Rabbi Menachem Penner, dean of RIETS, provided the welcome address. In his remarks, he asked everyone present to “take a moment to realize how lucky we are because our yeshiva is the force behind not just our religious lives but the religious lives of most of the community in America.”
He then introduced Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, as keynote speaker. “More than any other time in history,” Dr. Berman declared, “Jews have the access to levels of power and success in all spheres. They do have the ability to be a role model to the Jewish people and sanctify God’s name into the world and have an impact on the broader society.” He urged those present “to capitalize on these opportunities in ways never even imagined and leave this yeshiva and become people of enormous impact, to take all the values and all the ideals and live your lives in these ways and be a great force of good in our communities and to the broader society.”
Micah Hyman ’20YC felt that “the event had a very upscale feel with cool lighting, and it was really fun dancing with all the roshei yeshiva [leaders] and other students. Yehuda Green was really exciting!”
The annual event is a celebration of Yeshiva University and its unique place in the personal growth and religious development of its constituents. Likewise, it is an opportunity to pay tribute to the experiences and opportunities for Torah study that the institution affords and the transformative impact that its faculty make possible for their students.
To experience some of the excitement and fervor of the event, watch this video.