Annual Luncheon Marks 33 Years of Wilf Family’s Scholarship Support at YU
Yeshiva University President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman hosted the annual Wilf Scholarship Luncheon on Monday, April 23, 2018. Approximately 40 student recipients of financial assistance from the Wilf Family Distinguished Scholarship Fund met with senior YU administrators and members of the Wilf family: Zygi, Mark, Rachel, Jon and Steven.
The Wilf family has been among the most generous donors to YU. In addition to providing scholarship assistance, the family named the men’s campus in Washington Heights and created a cardiovascular research center at YU-affiliated Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This year, 93 students received approximately $1.5 million in aid from the Wilf fund.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Berman thanked the Wilf family for their support, started by what he called “the patriarchs of the family,” Harry and Joseph Wilf. “The impact of this scholarship,” he noted, “is not just on the lives of the hundreds of those who would have otherwise not been able to afford to further their education. It is also about the impact that the scholarship recipients have on all the people they affect afterwards in the Jewish community and the world. The scholarship fund is a force multiplier of the very nature and trajectory of the Jewish people. And this was the vision of Harry and Joe Wilf.”
Chana Bushee ’18S gave a short speech about the importance of the scholarship in her decision to come to Stern College for Women from the small community of Mequon, Wisconsin. “I was apprehensive about coming from a small Midwest city to New York, but I fell in love with Stern immediately when I visited,” she said. However, finances were a concern, and the Wilf scholarship made it possible for her to come to Stern and become engaged in multiple service projects, one of which, Project Sunshine, began in 1998 at YU and now has a presence on three continents, five countries, and almost 200 cities worldwide. “I have organized dozens of Project Sunshine events and worked with hundreds of children,” she said, “and all of that is possible because of the Wilf family. Your help enabled me to make a positive impact on hundreds of lives.”
Several students spoke extemporaneously about how the Wilf scholarship has helped them lay out the course of their lives. Liam Eliach, a junior active in START Science and the YU National Model United Nations and a seasoned resident adviser, cited his list of activities to show that “many of us in the room and throughout the campus are involved in multiple different things because we have people like the Wilfs who are generous enough to afford us all these opportunities.”
Racheli Moskowitz, a sophomore, straddles the tech world of Google and coding and the theater arts as the vice president of the Stern College Dramatic Society, and she observed that she could only do this because her scholarship gave her access to “these amazing opportunities that I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.”
Yael Mayer, who after graduation this year will be attending Einstein, spoke about the work she has done with START Science, founded in 2011 by YU undergraduates and now an international nonprofit organization. “START Science, and other initiatives by YU students that have become significant organizations in the world, are based on an ethos of ‘I am here to help people and give my talent to the world,’ and the support given by the Wilf family ensures that YU students will continue to make the world better,” she said.
When Mark Wilf, who received an honorary degree from YU in 2015, took his turn at the podium, he said that his family always looks forward to this day to see “the living legacy of what my father and uncle started.” He told the students there that “getting to know you gives the family members such inspiration to see that the Jewish future is in the goods hand of bright people who understand the great values of Yeshiva University. Count the Wilf family as part of your extended family, and we wish you all the best for many years to come.”