Torah values saw Yeshiva U through 'year of enormous challenges'

YU has felt the pain of loss from the pandemic and the recent Meron disaster.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Rabbi Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University
Rabbi Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University
Arutz Sheva

The pandemic has been a “year of enormous challenges” for Yeshiva University (YU).

One of their high school students, Nachman Daniel (Doni) Morris – “a dear precious student from our YU family” – was killed in the Meron disaster.

“There are no words for the enormous pain and loss and grief,” said YU President Rabbi Ari Berman in an exclusive interview with Arutz Sheva. “We’re inspired by his memory and about what he stood for and what he lived for, to make ourselves better.”

YU was also one of the first American universities to have a positive COVID-19 case during the “ground zero” period last year at the start of the pandemic.

“It’s been a very hard year,” said Berman, who added that it was important for them when everything shut down to immediately introduce online classes as “the character is shaped and formed during times of adversity.”

It was essential to continue teaching about Torah values for students to learn and grow and have the ability to continue to interact with professors and fellow students.

They began teaching Zoom to all their instructors, and provided computers to everyone, including some rabbis who were not computer savvy and who were taught how to use Zoom and other apps to communicate with students and colleagues.

They have recently gone back to in-person classes, with online learning still an option for concerned students.

Berman stressed that their students are very responsible and have a strong sense of community and have been keeping to the safety protocols.

He is confident that a basis in the five Torah values has been a huge help in seeing them through the pandemic and their reopening.

“For us any new situation that comes our way we don’t necessarily know the ending but we know that we have our values that are our compass. That will guide us in any situation,” Berman said.

When asked about the current political situation in the United States, with different factions of the Jewish community pulling in different directions, Berman struck a note of cautious optimism.

“It’s crucially important for the Jewish people to remain strong together,” he said. “We need to keep our eye on what’s important and what our values are and never lose sight of our greater purpose.”

In times of political crisis, “We need to work on staying together, it is very important for our future.”

CLICK HERE TO HELP THE FAMILIES OF THE MERON TRAGEDY VICTIMS TO VAAD HAEABBANIM

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