YU welcomes its own President-elect

Yeshiva University has chosen Rabbi Ari Berman to be its new President.

JTA and Arutz Sheva,

Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Arutz Sheva

Flagship Modern Orthodox institution of higher education, Yeshiva University, has chosen Rabbi Ari Berman to be its new President.

A product of both Y.U.'s college and its affiliated rabbinical seminary, Berman served for 14 years as a rabbi at The Jewish Center, a prominent modern Orthodox congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, before immigrating to Israel in 2008. He taught Talmud at Y.U. beginning in 1998.

Berman was promoted from assistant rabbi to lead The Jewish Center in 2000. The congregation, which has been home to many Y.U. donors and lay leaders, is something of a leadership farm team for the school. A previous rabbi of the synagogue, Norman Lamm, left to become Y.U. president and head of its yeshiva in 1976. Another, Rabbi J.J. Schachter, is now a professor at Y.U. and a senior scholar at its Center for the Jewish Future.

Since being in Israel, Berman has earned a doctorate in Jewish thought at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He now serves as rosh hamerkaz, or head of the center, at Hechal Shlomo, The Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem. He is also an instructor at Herzog College, a teachers' college affiliated with the Har Etzion yeshiva in the Judean community of Alon Shvut outside Jerusalem.

As Yeshiva University had experienced financial hardship since the Madoff Ponzi scheme in 2008, Berman was seen as someone who could really get things done.

“[The future stability of the University demands] a creative person who knows what they’re doing,” Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, in charge of the search committee, had said at the time.

“The financial side is a very big challenge,” he said. “The challenges are those of money. Running a university is a labor-intensive enterprise. Jewish philanthropy is being drawn in all directions.”

Outgoing head of Yeshiva University Richard Joel gave a warm welcome to Berman. “Welcome President-elect Berman,” he wrote on Twitter. “Nowhere but here.”

Before zeroing in on Berman, the search committee had also considered Nick Muzin, the deputy chief of staff for Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. Muzin had met with Trachtenberg multiple times as part of the search.

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