Yigal Gross

Yigal Gross ’06YC, ’07R is internal counsel at Peridot Financing Solutions, a Blackstone portfolio company headquartered in New York City. Peridot is a global player in working capital finance, with offices in 20 countries and $60 billion in annual settled volumes. In addition to attending Yeshiva College (where he earned a bachelor’s in pre-engineering) and Revel Graduate school (adding a master’s in Jewish history), he also earned a J.D. at Cornell Law School in 2010.

He currently lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with Tamar Warburg, a graduate of both Stern College for Women (2005) and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (2008), and their four children: Ella, Sara, Yonatan and Aviva.

Revel News had a chance to catch up with him to discuss his career as a lawyer and how his education at Yeshiva University influenced his professional and personal lives.


Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Lawrence, New York, and was blessed with parents who are not only observant but passionate about Jewish education and the Jewish community.  The discussions around our table were about Jewish communal issues and concepts, and my parents sought out all kinds of ways to give of themselves to the Jewish community.

My father, Yaacov Gross, founded Rambam Mesivta in 1991, which I attended, and devoted countless time and energy during my childhood to communal matters.

My mother, Ronit Gross, constantly sought opportunities to learn at a high level and herself taught Tanach from 2010 to 2018 at Stern College. I love them deeply, and they were and remain my role models of what Modern Orthodox Jews should be.

 

What was your Jewish education like as you grew up?

My parents taught me to strive for excellence and intellectual independence. For me, that meant attending a variety of schools.  I attended HAFTR for elementary school and Rambam Mesivta for high school and, after high school, Kerem B’Yavneh, Derech HaTalmud and Yeshivat HarEtzion for various periods of time. These are quite different institutions. But what they all share is a dedication to excellence and an ability to embrace independently minded students. I am deeply indebted to all of them. They each gave me something different and valuable.

 

What convinced you to attend Yeshiva College?

Yeshiva College is the college in the United States whose core mission is ensuring Jewish communal continuity. All other aspects of Yeshiva University, including its college and graduate programs, stem from and ultimately support (or are at least meant to support) that mission. Other schools in the United States do have a Jewish “feel,” a lot of Jewish students, robust Jewish programming and so forth.  But only Yeshiva University sees a thriving American Jewish community as its responsibility.

When you study in Yeshiva University, you are not just going to college but actively, intentionally and meaningfully engaging in the Jewish communal experience.  Building the Jewish future is the essence of what you do. It is the conversations in the hallway, the articles in the newspaper—everything. That’s what I wanted my college experience to be. And there is no other college in the United States that offers that.

 

What led you to continue your studies with Revel?

Two things. First, I fell in love with the academic study of Jewish history at Yeshiva University. Second, I made a very fortunate error and did not realize that I needed to take my LSAT a year earlier than I did. So I had a “free” year between graduation and law school.  I figured what better way to spend it than by getting a Master of Arts in Jewish History at Revel.

 

Can you recollect one or two experiences that would give readers a feel for the essence of your Revel experience?

I pretty much lived on the fifth floor of the Gottesman Library for a year. That about sums it up. My teachers were all great, and I would feel funny singling any out because then I would need to mention them all!

 

What is the throughline from Revel and Jewish studies to Cornell and the law, and why Cornell?

I always wanted to be a lawyer. And Cornell Law School is an amazing place to study law. The setting is gorgeous, nestled up in Ithaca overlooking the Finger Lakes.  The teachers were serious academics but also warm and accessible. I had a lovely and diverse group of classmates, many of whom have since gone on to do amazing things: Sharice Davids, whom I studied with, is in Congress, representing Kansas’s 3rd congressional district; Ari Melber, who was in my IP law class, is the chief legal correspondent at MSNBC; Quinton Lucas, who was a year above me, is now the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

Professionally, it was absolutely the right move for me, but it was challenging. I was the only openly Orthodox student in my class. I was single. There were Israel-related flare-ups on campus that I was drawn into. The Orthodox Jewish community was small and did not have anything remotely resembling the infrastructure that I had grown accustomed to in YU.  It’s not for everyone and not a step to take lightly.

 

What is the most satisfying work you do as a lawyer?

I enjoy helping people, being trusted and being creative. Being a lawyer allows me to do all these things. I have been fortunate to work with clients and colleagues who seek to accomplish remarkable things, which often involve significant complexity and operational hurdles. My job is to help them navigate that complexity, overcome those hurdles and, ultimately, achieve their goals. It’s a demanding job, but one that can be deeply fulfilling, particularly if you work with people you respect and continually learn from, as I do.

 

Does your work at Revel influence what satisfies you as a lawyer?

Of course.  I took a demanding course load at Revel—I completed the master’s in a summer and two semesters. I had to work really hard to get everything—coursework, papers, comps—done, and done well, in such a short period of time.  I had to be diligent and, at times, push myself. That was good preparation for law school and a legal career, where success tends to come to those who work hard rather than those who are gifted.

On a substantive level, much of what I studied in Revel involved textual analysis and attention to detail—I recall a paper I did analyzing how the Crusade Chronicles’ author utilized Tanakhaic imagery and verbiage—and that type of study was good preparation for the type of work that I do as a lawyer.

 

Tagged with:
 

Comments are closed.