Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy

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Yeshiva University High School for Boys
The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy
Manhattan Talmudical Academy
Zysman Hall jeh.jpg
Address
2540 Amsterdam Avenue

,
10033

Coordinates40°51′06″N 73°55′42″W / 40.851804°N 73.928446°W / 40.851804; -73.928446Coordinates: 40°51′06″N 73°55′42″W / 40.851804°N 73.928446°W / 40.851804; -73.928446
Information
TypePrivate, Yeshiva, Day
Religious affiliation(s)Judaism
DenominationModern Orthodox
Established1916
Sister schoolYeshiva University High School for Girls
ChairpersonMiriam Goldberg
Head of SchoolRabbi Joshua Kahn
Faculty44.0 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades912
GenderBoys
Enrollment300+
Student to teacher ratio6.8:1
Color(s)Blue and White
MascotLion
NicknameLions[2]
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools
AffiliationsYeshiva University
Websiteyuhsb.org

The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, also known as Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB), MTA (Manhattan Talmudical Academy) or TMSTA,[3] is an Orthodox Jewish day school (or yeshiva) and the boys' prep school of Yeshiva University (YU) in the Washington Heights neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is the brother school to the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls.[4]

History[edit]

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 academic 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 college 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.

In 1967, the Brooklyn school moved to a joint campus created by repurposing the historical Vitagraph Studios in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. In the 1970s, they were closed and merged into their Manhattan counterparts. 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 boys' 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 and now, MTA"), but is still commonly referred to as "MTA." Principals of the school included the founding principal, Shelley Safire, and Rabbis David Weinbach (1973-1987), Mordechai Spiegelman (1987-1991), George Finkelstein (1991-1995), Michael Taubes (1995-1999 and 2011-2016), Michael Hecht (1999-2005), Mark Gottlieb and Yaakov Sklar (2005-2011), and Josh Kahn (2016-present).

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, and Rabbi Taubes in 2008 became a teacher at the high school and became principal again in 2011), their prompt action is credited with swaying Rabbi Lamm to not close the school. 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 was 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. In October 2015 it was announced that the school would begin a search for a new Head of School. Rabbi Taubes would continue on in an evolved capacity as Rosh Yeshiva at both RIETS and the high school. In March 2016, it was announced that the school's next leader would be Rabbi Joshua Kahn, a noted and accomplished educator in the NY area. Rabbi Kahn began his tenure in July 2016.

Allegations[edit]

In December 2012, a scandal developed alleging widespread 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 claimed to have been known about, but ignored, by the highest levels of administration at the high school and at Yeshiva University.[5] The current president of Yeshiva University issued a statement stating that the university will examine the allegations.[6] 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.[7] The lawsuit against Yeshiva University was tossed before trial in January 2014 by a federal judge who stated that the statute of limitations had long expired.[8] However, when New York State passed its new Child Victims Act in 2019, the suit was refiled by 38 former students.[9]

Beit Midrash Katan[edit]

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. 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, until his retirement in June 2014. 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.

Student activities[edit]

There are many extracurricular activities and clubs. For sports, these include Varsity and Junior Varsity basketball, hockey, and wrestling, as well as fencing, baseball, softball, swimming, and soccer teams. In other areas, there are College Bowl, Torah Bowl, Mock Trial, Model UN, Model Congress, Chess, SABR, Debate, MTAhackers, a 3d printing club, a Math team, as well as the Business and Finance Club. The Chess team won the Yeshiva League Chess Championship in both 2017 and 2018. The school has 2 robotics teams that participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge (teams 5361 and 13475). In 2018, team 13475 made it to the FTC East Super Regional, and in 2019-20 team 13475 made it through to the District Qualifiers, but was unable to compete due to coronavirus concerns.

The students also publish a number of publications including Telios Thought (political magazine),The Academy News (school newspaper), Shema Koleinu (weekly Dvar Torah newsletter), 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).

The school organizes international trips for 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 Palau to show the Jewish community's gratitude for Palau's support of Israel. There have also been trips to Turkey, Germany, Poland, and Israel.

Faculty[edit]

  • Head of School: Rabbi Joshua Kahn
  • Rosh Yeshiva: Rabbi Michael Taubes
  • Principal for General Studies: Dr. Seth Taylor
  • Associate Principal: Rabbi Shimon Schenker
  • Director of Teaching and Learning: Rabbi Dov Emerson

Grade Mashgichim/Deans:

  • 9th grade - Rabbi Eli Cohn
  • 10th grade - Rabbi Elon Soniker
  • 11th grade - Rabbi Netanel Danto
  • 12th grade - Rabbi Avraham Shulman

Notable alumni[edit]

Information is from the annual Elchanite, YUHSB's yearbook.[10]

Alan Dershowitz, lawyer, author, professor at Harvard Law School

References[edit]

  1. ^ Data for Yeshiva University High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed September 29, 2013.
  2. ^ "Welcome to MTALIONS.COM". www.mtalions.com.
  3. ^ "Our Name – Yeshiva University High School for Boys – MTA". Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  4. ^ Ain, Stewart. "Y.U. May Close Its Boys High School". jewishweek.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  5. ^ "Student Claims of Abuse Not Reported by Yeshiva U."
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-17. Retrieved 2012-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2012-12-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Judge tosses $680M sex abuse lawsuit against Yeshiva U." 30 January 2014.
  9. ^ DeGregory, Priscilla (2019-08-22). "38 former students sue Yeshiva University over alleged sex abuse". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  10. ^ "Internet Archive Search: elchanite". Archive.org. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  11. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/el-als-new-owner-eli-rozenberg-a-27-year-old-yeshiva-student-from-new-york/#gs.gf3bgg
  12. ^ Besser, Yisroel (12 March 2019). "We Can All Sing". Mishpacha Magazine. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  13. ^ https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/document/0023/1686269.pdf

External links[edit]