More than 600 students from Yeshiva University’s (YU) undergraduate schools were presented with their degrees at YU’s 83rd commencement exercises, held at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Thursday, May 22.
Addressing the new graduates, YU President Richard M. Joel challenged them to value their time and this “momentous moment,” as members of a generation that are “nostalgic for the past, savoring the present and anticipating the future.”
Referencing graduate Josh Hillman, the grandchild of one of the few remaining Schindler’s List survivors, the president emphasized the importance of sustaining and advancing the Jewish story like those of previous generations.
“Take that same valued time and consciousness with you and it will remain with you for all your sacred days,” he said. “Our great hope is for you to own your future and make it count.”
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. John S. Ruskay, executive vice president and CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, who urged the graduates to find their calling in life by seeking out a fulfilling career that would allow them to make an impact in the Jewish community and beyond.
“Your YU education will be an asset to treasure for the rest of your life,” said Ruskay. “Let us each be able to recognize and hear our calling and respond, undertaking work to strengthen and improve our community, our nation and the Jewish people.”
President Joel conferred an honorary doctorate upon Ruskay, as well as upon Joshua Gortler ’54YUHS, ’58YC, ’60W, president of The Kline Galland Center Foundation, and YU benefactor Dorothy Schachne, who along with her husband endowed the David I. and Dorothy Schachne deanship at Wurzweiler and created several scholarship funds at YU.
Dr. Morton Lowengrub, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, received the Presidential Medallion for his more than 15 years of service as a leader of the YU academic team.
In her address to fellow graduates, Malia Weiss, one of two valedictorians from YU’s Sy Syms School of Business, reminded the Class of 2014 that despite the challenging life decisions they would face after graduation, the unique values-based education they received at YU left them equipped to make those tough calls.
“Yeshiva University is an oasis of Judaism and morality, while also extending the best the secular world has to offer in terms of education and career advancement,” she said.
“YU has provided us with a decision-making structure and a moral compass. We benefit from the values, the culture and the tradition of Judaism, which YU has helped instill in all of us. These Jewish values form the lodestar that guides us as we pursue success in our life plan.”
For the Cohen family of Stamford, Connecticut, commencement was a unique three-generation milestone. Stern graduate Sara Malka Cohen ’14S was joined by her father, Rabbi Daniel Cohen ’89YC, ’94R, ’96A, who was celebrating his 25th reunion, and her grandfather, Rabbi Herbert Cohen ’64YC, ’70F, ’70R who traveled from Israel to mark his 50th reunion.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)