Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy
|Yeshiva University High School for Boys
The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy
Manhattan Talmudical Academy
Brooklyn Talmudical Academy
|2540 Amsterdam Avenue
Washington Heights, NY, 10033
|Type||Private High School, Yeshiva|
|Faculty||44.0 (on FTE basis)|
|Student to teacher ratio||6.8:1|
|Color(s)||Blue and White|
|Accreditation(s)||Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Affiliation||Centrist Orthodox Judaism|
The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, also known as Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB), MTA (Manhattan Talmudical Academy) or TMSTA, is an Orthodox Jewish day school (or yeshiva), the boys' prep school of Yeshiva University (YU) in the Washington Heights neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan.
The Talmudical Academy (TA), as it was originally called, was founded in 1916 by Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel. He had become president of the institution that was to become Yeshiva University a year earlier, in 1915, when the "Rabbinical College of America" (a short-lived name) had been formed from the merger of two older schools, an elementary school founded in 1886 and a rabbinical seminary founded in 1896. As the elementary school soon ceased to exist, the high school is thus one of the oldest components of the University.
TA was the first Jewish high school in America, and the first ever to feature a dual curriculum, now standard in Jewish schools, of Judaic and secular studies. It was originally located on the Lower East Side, and moved to Washington Heights with the rest of Yeshiva in the late 1920s. The building originally planned for the High School alone was shared with the other schools of the University for many years before the campus expanded; today, that building is almost entirely occupied by the High School, and the other buildings of the University's main campus (including a dormitory for MTA students) surround it.
TA was later joined by a brother school, the Brooklyn Talmudical Academy ("BTA"), founded in the 1940s. While the Manhattan school remained, officially, "TA," it became popularly known as "MTA," the Manhattan Talmudical Academy, and, rarely, the Uptown Talmudical Academy, or "UTA." While the name "MTA" has never been official, it remains the most popular name for the school. Two girls' high schools were founded as well, Central Yeshiva High School in Brooklyn in the 1950s and a Manhattan school in the 1960s. Eventually, all four were eventually simply named by borough and gender, e.g., "Yeshiva University High School for Boys- Manhattan," but the popular names remained.
The Brooklyn schools, which had moved to a joint campus in 1967, were closed and merged in the 1970s into their Manhattan counterparts; still later, in the 1980s, the girls' school was merged into a Queens school. The latter is now called "Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls" (or simply "Wang"), but is still commonly referred to as "Central," while the boy's school, since the 1970s, has been known as "The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy- Yeshiva University High School for Boys" (or simply "TMSTA" or, more recently, "MSTA"), but is still commonly referred to as "MTA."
The school's enrollment peaked during the '60s and '70s, when relatively few competitor schools existed. However, with the growth of competing institutions, enrollment declined, and by 1999, Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University, wanted to close the high school down. When word of the imminent closure leaked out, Rabbi Michael Taubes, MTA's principal at that time, together with senior instructor, Rabbi Yitzchok Cohen, led a student protest and recitation of Psalms in front of the YU's main building at that time, Furst Hall. Although the protest led to Rabbi Taubes' dismissal, and eventually to the dismissal of Cohen as well (both became instructors in other divisions of Yeshiva University, although in 2012, Rabbi Taubes became principal of the boys high school), their prompt action is credited with swaying Rabbi Lamm to not close the school. Nevertheless, the school was still in trouble due to both financial problems and issues with students. Rabbi Taubes was rehired by MTA to serve as the Rebbe (Teacher) of one of the two incoming freshmen honors Talmud classes for the 2008-2009 school year.
Rabbi Michael Hecht, who had been teaching at the school for many years and also served as a Dean in Yeshiva College, became Dean of MTA and effectively saved the school. In September 2005, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb, formerly the Principal of Maimonides Day School in Boston, assumed the role of Head of School. In February 2011, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb announced that he would be stepping down as Head of School/Menahel at the culmination of the 2010-2011 academic year. His successor is former principal Rabbi Michael Taubes, who took over as Head of School (now also known by the Hebrew title of Rosh HaYeshiva at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.
MTA is currently led by Rabbi Michael Taubes, Menahel; Dr. Seth Taylor, Principal of General Studies; Adam Dobrick, Dean of Students; Rabbi Jon Green, Director of Student Activities, Rabbi Mayer Schiller, Mashgiach Ruchani.
The main value of the school is based on that of Yeshiva University, namely Torah Umadda. This idea emphasizes teaching both Limudei Kodesh (Torah studies) and general (secular) studies. Limudei Kodesh classes are taught in Jewish studies including Gemara (Talmud), Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), and Halakha (Jewish law). These classes comprise the morning session of the day. In the afternoon session, the students participate in a general studies program. Many of these classes end with Regents or Advanced Placement tests.
In December 2012, a scandal developed alleging widespread sexual misconduct by two high ranking male faculty members and perpetrated on multiple male students. The alleged misconduct, which occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, was apparently known about, and ignored, by the highest levels of administration at the high school and at Yeshiva University.  The current president of Yeshiva University issued a statement stating that the university will examine the allegations. The Jewish Week uncovered a story, further alleging knowledge of the inappropriate behavior by the university. The story alleges that the door to one of the abuser's offices was removed, possibly, to prevent a private environment where further misconduct could continue.
The school offers morning classes in Gemara and Tanakh. In the afternoon the school offers secular classes, including an AP course in 12th grade. Students can take AP European History and AP American History in 10th and 12th grade respectively. The 11th grade may take courses in AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Biology, and AP Statistics. Additionally, seniors have the option to take courses in Yeshiva College and Sy Syms School of Business. Almost all classes offered within the school are open at a number of different levels including low, regular, and honors sections.
Beit Midrash Katan
In the '06-'07 school year, MTA started an advanced Talmud Shiur for the top 12th grade students called the Beis Medrash Katan. The Beis Medrash Katan, commonly referred to as "BMK," has more hours for Torah study and a modified breakfast and lunch period. The purpose of the program is to give the school's top Talmud students a feel for a real beit midrash, which many of the students will be enrolled in the following year and possibly many more. The Beis Medrash Katan also encourages its students to develop habits of "budding Talmidei Chachamim." The Rebbe who teaches and supervises the Beis Medrash Katan is Rabbi Tanchum Cohen. In 2011-2012 Rabbi Michael Hecht joined the BMK staff. Building on the amazing success of the 12th grade BMK, MTA decided for the 2010-2011 year to create BMK's for their top 10th and 11th grade shuirim.
The students in the school are able to participate in many extracurriculars. On the athletic side, the school fields Varsity and Junior Varsity basketball, hockey, and wrestling, as well as baseball, softball, bowling, and soccer teams. For the more intellectually inclined, there are College Bowl, Torah Bowl, Mock Trial, Model UN, Model Congress, chess, Debate, Extemp (Extemp is currently suspended), @Club (the computer club), and Math teams, as well as the Business and Finance Club. The students also publish a number of publications including The Polis (political magazine),The Academy News (school newspaper), Shema Koleinu (weekly Dvar Torah newsletter), The Scope (school magazine), Yagdil Torah (Torah essay journal), HaTzioni (Zionist publication), Pearls of Wisdom (book of students' literary works and as of 2011 Art work), and the Elchanite (yearbook).
Recently, the school has been supervising international trips for select groups of students. In 2004, a group of students spent Shavuot in Belarus in coordination with YUSSR. In 2005, the HaTzioni club, in cooperation with the Palau Mission to the United Nations, arranged a trip for its members to travel to Palau to show the Jewish community's gratitude for Palau's support of Israel. Recent years have seen MTA delegations being sent to Turkey, Germany, Poland, and Israel.
- Head of School: Rabbi Michael Taubes
- Principal: Dr. Seth Taylor
- Bochen: Rabbi Sholom Richter
- Dean of Students: Mr. Adam Dobrick
- Mashgiach Ruchani: Rabbi Mayer Schiller
- Director of Student Activities: Rabbi Jon Green
Grade Mashgichim/Deans: Rabbi Avraham Shulman 12th grade • Rabbi Netanel Danto 11th grade • Rabbi Jonathan Kessel 10th grade • Rabbi Baruch Gopin & Mrs.Harriet Levitt 9th grade
Jewish Studies Teachers: Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer • Rabbi Gary Beitler • Rabbi Samuel Borenstein • Rabbi Alfred Cohen • Rabbi Tanchum Cohen • Rabbi Eli Cohn • Rabbi Michael Hecht • Rabbi Shimon Kerner • Rabbi Baruch Pesach Mendelson • Rabbi Rafi Pearl • Rabbi Shimon Schenker • Rabbi Michael Taubes
General Studies Teachers: Dr. Ed Berliner • Mr. David Robinson • Ms. Megan Harris-Linton • Mr. David Shatzer • Mr.Hillel Broder • Ms. Liora Haibi • Mrs. Hana Matiteyahu • Rabbi Dr. Sid Schimmel • Rabbi Mordechai Brownstein • Dr. Geoff Cahn • Mr. Derek Kulnis • Mr. William Gononsky • Dr. Emily Schneider • Ms. Esmeralda Doublette • Mrs. Danielle Lewis • Mr. Michael Pershan • Dr. Laurence Bensaid Geyer • Mr. Alexander Fein
- Rabbi Dr. Sidney B. Hoenig, (class of 1923), Dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University and president of the Jewish Welfare Board.
- Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, (class of 1927), leading 20th century Rabbi.
- Rabbi Mordechai Gifter (class of 1933), Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe yeshiva, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Harry Walker, (class of 1934), founder of leading speakers' bureau, the Harry Walker Agency.
- Bill Mazer (class of 1937), famous American Radio and Television personality.
- Rabbi Tzvi Dov (Harold) Kanatopsky, (class of 1939), first American born Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
- Rabbi Nachman Bulman, (class of 1942), leading 20th century Rabbi.
- Rabbi Saul J. Kassin, (class of 1942), Chief Rabbi, of Congregation Shaare Zion and the Community of the Syrian Jews, Brooklyn, NY.
- Rabbi Dr. Yehuda (Leo) Levi, (class of 1942), author, of numerous scholarly works on Jewish Studies and Optics.
- Rabbi Chaim Dov Altusky, (class of 1943), author, series of works on the Talmud, Chiddushei Basra.
- Chaim Potok, (class of 1946), renowned Jewish American author.
- Rabbi Shlomo Brevda, (class of 1947), renowned Maggid.
- Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, (class of 1947), Dean (Menahel) Emeritus of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
- Prof. Yosef H. Yerushalmi, (class of 1948), Jewish historian and Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society; director, Institute for Jewish and Israel Studies at Columbia University.
- Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg, (BTA class of 1949), renowned scholar and author.
- Rabbi Meir Kahane, (BTA class of 1949), founder of the Jewish Defense League and former Israeli Knesset member. Controversial activist who was labeled "racist" by the Israeli government.
- Velvel Pasternak (class of 1951), authority on Jewish Music.
- Dr. Fred Rosner (class of 1951), authority on Jewish Law and Medicine.
- Dr. Joel Rosenshein, (class of 1952), founder, Ptach, Orthodox Jewish Special Education service.
- Prof. Nat Lewin, (class of 1953), prominent American lawyer.
- Dr. Mandel Ganchrow, (BTA class of 1954), Orthodox Jewish lay leader.
- Rabbi Harvey Senter, (BTA class of 1954), founder, Kof-K Kosher supervision service.
- Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, (class of 1955), noted scholar, author and teacher.
- Rabbi Shimon Eider, (BTA class of 1956), prominent Halachic authority.
- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (BTA class of 1956), prominent Rabbinic leader in the US and in Israel, founder of Lincoln Square Synagogue and Chief Rabbi of Efrat.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter, (class of 1958), leading American Orthodox Rosh Yeshiva and Rabbinic authority.
- Dr. Leonard Feiner, (BTA, class of 1961), prominent ophthalmologist and philanthropist.
- Prof. Eli Turkel, (class of 1961),Professor of Applied Mathematics at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Tel Aviv University.
- Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, (class of 1962), dermatologist.
- Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, (class of 1963), founder and president of the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) .
- Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer, (BTA, class of 1964), rabbi, author and lecturer.
- Rabbi Menachem Genack, (class of 1965), CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division.
- Prof. David Shatz, (class of 1965), Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Associate Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and editor of The Torah u-Madda Journal.
- Rabbi Nachum Sauer, (class of 1965), head of the Kollel of Los Angeles
- Dov S. Zakheim, (BTA class of 1966), former official of the United States government.
- Rabbi Avishai David, (class of 1967), Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Torat Shraga.
- Rabbi Hershel Billet, (BTA, class of 1967), senior rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere.
- Rabbi Raphael Marcus, (class of 1968), leading rabbi in the Toronto Jewish Community.
- Rabbi Koppel Paretzky, (class of 1968), rabbi and Rosh Kollel in Monsey.
- Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, (class of 1968), founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
- Richard Joel, (class of 1968), president of Yeshiva University.
- Rabbi Barry Freundel, (BTA, class of 1969), rabbi of Cong. Kesher Israel in Washington, D.C.
- Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, (BTA, class of 1969), rabbi in Englewood, NJ, first person from West Hempstead, NY to become a rabbi.
- Stan Kasten, (class of 1969), president of the Washington Nationals
- Yossi Klein Halevi, (BTA class of 1971), author and journalist.
- Rabbi Ephraim Kanarfogel, (class of 1973), scholar of medieval Jewish history and rabbinic literature, and expert in Jewish law.
- Rabbi Yona Reiss, Dean (Menahel) of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
- Rabbi Yaakov Jaffe, principal of Maimonides in Brookline, MA.
- Rabbi Eli Jacobs, Rabbi in Yeshivas Sha'ar Yoshuv and renowned motivational speaker.
- Alan Dershowitz, (BTA), lawyer, author, professor at Harvard Law School
- Elon Gold, (MTA), Actor
- Robert J. Avrech, (BTA), noted screenwriter.
- Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer and business executive (did not graduate from MTA but attended the school for two years).
- Shalom Auslander, writer, Woodstock, NY.
Securitas patrols the Yeshiva University campus.