Yeshiva College (Yeshiva University)

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Belfer Hall, named for philanthropists Diane and Arthur Belfer, was (formerly) listed as one of the 50 tallest educational structures in the world.[1]. (Construction completed 1968[2])

Yeshiva College is located in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood in Upper Manhattan. It is Yeshiva University’s undergraduate college of liberal arts and sciences for men. (Stern College for Women is Yeshiva College’s counterpart for women.) The architecture reflects a search for a distinctly Jewish style appropriate to American academia.[1]

Roughly 1,100 students from some two dozen countries, including students registered at Syms School of Business, attend Yeshiva College.

On July 27, 2009, it was announced that Barry L. Eichler, Ph.D., will succeed David J. Srolovitz, Ph.D. as dean of Yeshiva College.[2]

Philosophy[edit]

Students at Yeshiva College pursue a dual educational program that combines liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional studies with the study of Torah and Jewish heritage, reflecting Yeshiva’s educational philosophy of Torah Umadda, which translates loosely as “Torah and secular knowledge” (the interaction between Judaism and general culture).[3]

History[edit]

Like many American colleges and universities, Yeshiva College was founded originally as a religious seminary. Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) was established in 1896 as the first yeshiva for advanced Talmudic study in America. Its first president, Dr. Bernard Revel, envisioned an institution in which yeshiva students would be able to “harmoniously combine the best of modern culture with the learning and the spirit of Torah.” Through Dr. Revel’s efforts, Yeshiva College was founded in 1928, with 31 students. The creation of the college coincided with the move of RIETS, with its Teachers Institute and Talmudical Academy High School, from the Lower East Side to the newly built Washington Heights campus.

Since its inception, Yeshiva College has been training Jewish secular and religious leaders. The growth of its student body over the years necessitated the building of the Rubin and Morgenstern Residence Halls, which supplemented the original and subsequently refurbished Muss Residence Hall. The growth of its academic programs also necessitated the creation of the Mendel Gottesman Library to house its manuscript, rare book and scholarly collections of Judaica, the development of the Pollack Library collections in secular studies, as well as the construction of Furst Hall and Belfer Hall for additional classroom, administrative and laboratory space.

Yeshiva College now has an enrollment of more than 1,000 undergraduate men with an additional 300 students learning in major yeshivot in Israel. Students are drawn from the world Jewish community including North America, South America, Europe, Israel and Australia. To this diverse student body, Yeshiva College offers a varied Jewish Studies and liberal arts curricula with intensive support services for their educational, social and religious needs.

The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program (1999) is designed for exceptionally gifted students seeking intellectually rigorous experiences, individualized mentoring, exciting research opportunities and leadership development. It also offers summer travel classes to Japan, Italy, Spain. Participation in Honors Program offerings are also open to non-honors students and thus it augments the college’s academic opportunities for all highly motivated Yeshiva College students. During the last six years, through the generosity of Mr. Ronald P. Stanton, the college has experienced a 30 percent growth of its tenure-track faculty in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.[citation needed]

In recognition of more than 20 years of sustained support by the Wilf families for their many contributions to Yeshiva, especially in the area of need-based and merit scholarships, the Washington Heights campus was named in their honor (2002). Most recently, the completion of the Glueck Center for Jewish Study (2009) in the heart of the Wilf Campus physically reaffirms the centrality of Torah studies in the college’s academic mission.

In his remarks in 1928, Dr. Bernard Revel consecrated Yeshiva College “to the pursuit, interpretation and advancement of universal knowledge in harmony with the great affirmations of Judaism concerning God and man, which are the basis of enlightened civilization … and which still hold a vital message for humanity.”[citation needed]

Academics[edit]

Majors offered include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Classical languages
  • Computer sciences
  • Economics
  • English
  • French
  • Finance
  • General Business
  • Hebrew
  • History
  • Jewish studies
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political science
  • Pre-engineering
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Speech and drama

Combined and joint programs in business administration, dentistry, engineering, Jewish education, Jewish studies, law, occupational therapy, optometry, podiatric medicine, and social work are also available.

Minors offered include:

  • American studies
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Classical languages
  • Computer sciences
  • Economics
  • English (Literature and Writing tracks)
  • Foreign languages
  • French
  • Hebrew
  • History
  • Jewish studies
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Public health
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Speech and drama

The Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies unifies and centralizes all academic Jewish studies offerings at Yeshiva College: Bible, Hebrew, Jewish history, Jewish philosophy, and Judaic studies.

In addition to courses leading to the B.A. degree, all students undertake Jewish studies requiring intensive analysis of classic texts in Hebrew and Aramaic. Students are enrolled in a full course of study in one of the following options:

  • James Striar School of General Jewish Studies/the Mechinah Program
  • Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies
  • Isaac Breuer College of Hebraic Studies
  • Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program

Yeshiva College's Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors program stresses writing, critical analysis, cultural enrichment, and individual mentoring.[citation needed]

The S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program allows students who wish to spend a year in Israel to take courses at one of 51 different Israeli institutions.

Student life[edit]

Athletics include Maccabees basketball, tennis, fencing, cross-country, golf, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, and baseball. Other student activities include the newspaper The Commentator and the radio station WYUR.

David H. Zysman Hall, on the Washington Heights campus of Yeshiva College, is home to one of the main batei midrash (study halls).

Student Government[edit]

The student government includes the Yeshiva College Student Association (YCSA), the Yeshiva Student Union (YSU), the Student Organization of Yeshiva and Judaic Studies Programs (SOY/JSC), and the Syms School Of Business Student Association.

Dormitories and student housing[edit]

Approximately 90% of the undergraduate student population(s) lives on campus.

The Wilf Campus includes three main dormitory buildings: Morgenstern, Muss, and Rubin Residence Halls. Many upperclassmen live in the surrounding independent housing that is run by the university or in other nearby buildings.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

Facilities[edit]

The campus is centered around the area of Amsterdam Ave and West 185th Street (Yeshiva University's main office is 500 185th St).[4] The buildings in the campus are:

  • David H. Zysman Hall
  • Sol and Hilda Furst Hall
  • Belfer Hall
  • Schottenstein Center
  • Mendel Gottesman Library
  • Max Stern Athletic Building and Benjamin Gottesman Pool
  • Ruth and Hyman Muss, Morris and Celia Morgenstern, Joseph and Dora Strenger, and Leah and Joseph Rubin Residence Halls
  • Glueck Center for Jewish Studies

Further reading[edit]

  • Menachem Butler and Zev Nagel, eds., My Yeshiva College: 75 Years of Memories (New York: Yashar Books, 2006) ISBN 1-933143-12-6.
  • Victor Geller, Orthodoxy Awakens: The Belkin Era and Yeshiva University (Jerusalem; Urim Publications, 2003) ISBN 965-7108-47-0
  • Jeffrey S. Gurock, Men and Women of Yeshiva University: Higher Education, Orthodoxy and American Judaism (New York; Columbia University Press, 1988) ISBN 0-231-06618-X
  • Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Bernard Revel: Builder of American Jewish Orthodoxy (Philadelphia; Jewish Publication Society, 1972) ISBN 0-87306-284-1
  • Gilbert Klaperman, The Story of Yeshiva University, the First Jewish University in America (Macmillan, 1969) ISBN 0-684-82341-1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eitan Kastner, “Yeshiva College and the Pursuit of a Jewish Architecture,” American Jewish History 96 (June 2010), 141–61.
  2. ^ Cinnamon, Michael (August 7, 2009). "Dr. Barry L. Eichler Named YC Dean, Outgoing Dean Srolovitz to Assume Position in Singapore". The Commentator. Retrieved 2009-08-07. [dead link]
  3. ^ Marc Lee Raphael (2013). The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America. Columbia University Press. p. 310. 
  4. ^ "Yeshiva University Campus Map". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°51′02″N 73°55′46″W / 40.8505°N 73.92945°W / 40.8505; -73.92945