YU valedictorians: Standing (L–R)—Jonah Steinmetz, Alex Abraham, Sima Gold, Elianne Neuman, and Josh Honig. Seated (L–R)—Joshua Wildes, Yosef Frenkel, Yaacov Chein, and Jacob Meir.

Five Towns Residents Among YU Valedictorians

YU valedictorians: Standing (L—R)–Jonah Steinmetz, Alex Abraham, Sima Gold,  Elianne Neuman, and Josh Honig. Seated (L—R)–Joshua Wildes, Yosef Frenkel, Yaacov Chein,  and Jacob Meir.
YU valedictorians: Standing (L—R)–Jonah Steinmetz, Alex Abraham, Sima Gold,
Elianne Neuman, and Josh Honig. Seated (L—R)–Joshua Wildes, Yosef Frenkel, Yaacov Chein,
and Jacob Meir.

On Wednesday, May 25, hundreds of students from Yeshiva University’s undergraduate schools received their degrees at YU’s 85th commencement ceremony, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nine of the students were honored with the designation of valedictorian for their outstanding academic achievement.

Josh Honig of Lawrence was the co-valedictorian for Sy Syms School of Business, and Jonah Steinmetz of Woodmere was the valedictorian of the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies.

“In addition to stellar academics, YU provided me with incredible role models and a warm community. My young family has greatly benefited from the camaraderie and opportunities that have been made available to us throughout the week and during the weekends,” said Steinmetz. “The experience of living and studying in a family-oriented and thriving yeshiva setting is unparalleled.”

Honig adds that YU is truly the “full package,” noting that YU’s stellar academic offerings helped him develop the skill-set and business acumen necessary to pursue a successful career in finance.

Steinmetz majored in Modern Jewish Studies, while Honig majored in finance. Honig was also active on campus, serving as the president of the finance club, president of the Yeshiva University Investment Banking Society, and a member of the YU Investment Club.

The other valedictorians were Sima Gold, Sy Syms School; Jacob Meir, Sy Syms School; Yaacov Chein, Isaac Breuer College; Alex Abraham, Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program; Joshua Wildes, James Striar School of General Jewish Studies; Elianne Neuman, Stern College for Women and Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies; and Yosef Frenkel, Yeshiva College. v

 

Robert Kraft Tells YU Class Of ’16 To Dream Big

Honorees at YU’s 85th commencement: Standing–Chairman Emeritus Henry Kressel, President Richard M. Joel, and Chairman Moshael Straus. Seated–Rabbi Hershel Billet,  Dr. Ruth Bevan, and Robert Kraft.
Honorees at YU’s 85th commencement: Standing–Chairman Emeritus Henry Kressel, President Richard M. Joel, and Chairman Moshael Straus. Seated–Rabbi Hershel Billet,
Dr. Ruth Bevan, and Robert Kraft.
Robert Kraft at YU commencement
Robert Kraft at YU commencement

A glorious spring day greeted the Yeshiva University Class of 2016 and their friends and family as 5,000 people streamed into The Theater at Madison Square Garden to celebrate YU’s 85th commencement.

Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and owner of the New England Patriots, was this year’s keynote speaker, and he also received an honorary degree. Rabbi Herschel Billet, rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere, and Dr. Ruth Bevan, David W. Petegorsky Professor of Political Science at YU, also received awards.

In bestowing the Presidential Medallion on Bevan, Yeshiva University president Richard M. Joel credited her for creating a superb political-science department shaped by her “wisdom, care, and unswerving devotion.” As he conferred an honorary degree upon Rabbi Billet, Mr. Joel lauded the outstanding success of the rabbi’s leadership of the congregation.

Mr. Joel then presented Robert Kraft with an honorary degree and praised him for practicing a “philanthropy that models for each of us what it means to wear our Jewishness with pride.”

After receiving the award, Kraft delivered a heartfelt speech about how much joy his father, Harry Kraft, would have felt if he could see his son receiving this degree from Yeshiva University: “Watching his son deliver the commencement address at Yeshiva would be far more rewarding to him than all of our Super Bowl successes combined.”

Kraft encouraged the graduates to have a chalom gadol, a big dream, that “wakes you up in the morning ready to attack your day, to persevere and persist until you accomplish it: don’t play conservatively between the 40-yard lines, because making improbable dreams happen is the story of our people.”

He finished with a call to action for the graduates to take responsibility for the state of the world in which they live. “Go forward from here, my friends, and make people’s lives richer and better because they have known all of you.”

Following Kraft’s keynote address, Mr. Joel honored the undergraduate valedictorians as well as the class of 1966, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their own graduation. Then  Joel had his own last word for the undergraduates, praising them for the good work that they have done “in making the ordinary noble. You dream of tomorrow, and you build it because you are your parents’ children and our future.”

More than 1,700 undergraduate students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business, as well as graduate students in the fields of law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish studies, and psychology, will be awarded degrees from YU this commencement season. v

Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life and the heritage of Western civilization. More than 6,400 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, the Israel Henry Beren Campus, the Brookdale Center, and the Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools–Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and the Sy Syms School of Business–offer a unique dual program of Jewish studies and liberal-arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Mordecai D. and Monique C. Katz School of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading universities. To learn more, visit www.yu.edu.

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