End of Year Torah Study Awards, Celebrations and Thesis Presentations

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Yeshiva College Ends the Year on a Celebratory High Note

Yeshiva College celebrated student excellence and honored a member of its faculty at its annual awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. In addition to the awards, one valedictorian from each of the four Torah-studies programs and one from Yeshiva College gave addresses to fellow students, faculty and family members in attendance. The valedictorians included Samuel Gelman, Isaac Breuer College of Hebraic Studies; Asher Finkelstein, Mazer School of Talmudic Studies; Aryeh-Leib Deutsch, Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program, Michael Ozery, James Striar School of General Jewish Studies and Liam Eliach, Yeshiva College.

Dr. Karen Bacon, The Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of  the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences said that “the Awards Ceremony is our annual opportunity to showcase individual students who have excelled over their entire college careers by their academic excellence, personal initiative and commitment to the underlying mission of Yeshiva University.” She added, “In the presence of our awardees’ families and friends, we celebrated our students’ achievements and publicly acknowledged the extraordinary commitment of our faculty who mentor and inspire in all that they do.”

Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, dean of the men’s undergraduate Torah studies programs, said, “The awards ceremony allows us the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the many achievements of our graduates. We are proud of their accomplishments in Torah learning and look forward to their continued personal growth and impact on the broader community.”

Also taking place that evening was the announcement of the Lillian F. and William L. Silber Professor of the Year Award, given to Dr. Chaviva Levin, lecturer in Jewish History. Dr. Shalom Holtz, associate dean for academic affairs, Yeshiva College, said, “Dr. Levin is a model of scholarly excellence” and told the audience about her immense popularity among the students. He referred to a recent course review provided by a student who said that “Professor Levin is great. Not only is she incredibly prepared and competent, but she always cares deeply for her students, both in terms of their growth, and in terms of them as people.”

 Another highly anticipated part of the evening was the graduate student thesis research presentations of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College. Presented with the awards for the three best theses of 2018 were Shaul Elson (Humanities and Jewish Studies), Kafka’s Containers: Space, Gesture, Music and the Emptying of Subjectivity; Yishai Eisenberg (Mathematics and Natural Sciences), Ring Of Charge Probed With Atomic Force Microscopy Dielectric Tip; and Joseph Friedman (Social Sciences), The Power(s) in Love: The Variation of Dyadic Power Across Relationship Domains in Romantic Couples.

“The honors dinner was a wonderful showcase for the some of the very best that Yeshiva College has to offer. The thesis presentations by the students were really first class, exhibiting both a diversity in subject matter and a depth of research that was quite remarkable. I know that I was impressed; I’m sure the 70 or so attendees were as well,” said Dr. Daniel Rynhold, director of the Honors Program.

Of the Honors Program dinner and thesis presentations, Dr. Holtz said, “They are always a highlight of my academic year. Engaging our honors thesis writers ranks high on my list of professional joys.  We get to be part of the excitement of first discovery, a thrill in any context, but especially so when we, as educators, can claim some share in that discovery.”

2019 YC Awards