Sep 14, 2009 — In the two weeks since the Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Study opened on the Wilf Campus, its walls have vibrated with the hum of students learning in its two-storey beit midrash [study hall]. That “harmonic symphony of Torah study,” to use President Richard M. Joel’s words, erupted into a rousing chorus of celebration as students and their rebbes, alumni and staff danced in the streets at the dedication of the new building on Sunday, Sept. 13.
“Today we celebrate a new chapter in the history of Yeshiva University and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS),” said President Joel. “The Glueck Center has already revolutionized this campus, adding a proud new space for scholarship and learning that is both timeless and timely, and a convening center for our thriving community.”
“RIETS was the first yeshiva to wave the flag of Yavneh on American soil,” he said. “From an inaugural class of only a dozen students meeting in a small room on the Lower East Side, RIETS can now proudly boast of this wonderful state-of-the-art beit midrash, which serves as just one of many under its auspices.”
Vivian Glueck Rosenberg, the daughter of donor Jacob Glueck, said that her parents’ survival of the Holocaust motivated them to devote themselves to supporting Jewish community institutions. Rosenberg, together with her husband, Henry, was instrumental in realizing her father’s vision for a new beit midrash at YU that began under the administration of Dr. Norman Lamm in 1997.
“My parents believed in the primacy of education,” said Rosenberg, a member of the Boards of YU and Stern College for Women. “Our dedication of this building to YU is a statement of our belief in the importance of limud haTorah [the study of Torah] and the need for the vast majority of our youth to have the opportunity to earn a parnasa [a living].”
Addressing the students in the crowd, she said, “We pray you use to the fullest the opportunity put in front of you and thus assure the continuity of our people and our traditions.”
Special guests at the dedication included Sheldon Silver ’65YC, Speaker of the NY State Assembly and recipient of an honorary degree from YU, and NY State Representative Herman “Denny” Farrell, Jr.
Silver, who President Joel welcomed as “a ben Torah [son of Torah],” wished his alma mater congratulations. “I am proud to see YU expand in its size and prestige,” said Silver, whose three children are also alumni. “As it grows, YU invigorates the city and the state and especially this Washington Heights community.”
President Joel paid tribute to the many supporters whose gifts made the building possible, including the Nagel family, after whom the Jack and Gitta Nagel Family Atrium and Student Commons in the adjoining Mendel Gottesman Library is named.
The new stone and glass structure, he said, is a “tangible symbol of our absolute optimism in the future of our yeshiva and our University.”
“We must fill this space with the best of our community,” added President Joel. “A YU education must be both aspirational and non-negotiable. This is where our children will learn and grow into proud leaders of a proud and purposeful people of our nation.”