Yeshiva U names 8 valedictorians


On June 14, over 1,800 students from Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate schools will receive their degrees at YU’s 89th Annual Commencement Exercises, this year to be held virtually in light of the pandemic.

These eight undergraduates will be honored as valedictorians:

Elisheva Cohen, majoring in Jewish education with a minor in biology, has been selected as valedictorian of both Stern College for Women and the Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies. Among the many activities in which she was involved were the Beit Midrash Committee, co-coordinator of the Beren Bekiut Program and as a volunteer for Ezras Nashim, Stern College’s EMT group. “I have had a very positive and meaningful experience at Yeshiva University that extended from the classroom and beyond,” she said. 

CJ Glicksman of Teaneck, valedictorian of Yeshiva College, is graduating with a double major in philosophy and music. During his busy three years on campus, he has worked with undergraduate and graduate students as a peer tutor, a tutor in the writing center and resident adviser of Rubin floor 7 as well as being the vice president of the Yeshiva College Student Association. In addition, he has been participating in the MafTeach Chinuch Fellowship at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

Natan Siegel of Silver Spring, Maryland, is valedictorian of the Mazer School of Talmudic Studies, graduating with a major in mathematical economics. He is grateful for the knowledge and guidance he received from his rebbeim, in particular, Rav Michael Rosensweig, a rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).

Avidan Rudansky, from Mamaroneck, is valedictorian of the Isaac Breuer College of Hebraic Studies with a major in biology and a minor in finance. “YU is more than just a college — it is a community,” he observed. “From the rabbis and professors to the students and coaches, I was always in a learning and growing environment.” 

Chananya (Nani) Shapiro of Los Angeles is valedictorian of the Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program and a business management major with plans to pursue a career in marketing. One of his primary goals in the coming year is to continue the close relationships he had with his rebbeim, among them Rav Moshe Tzvi Weinberg, Mashgiach Ruchani [spiritual guidance counselor], and Rav Azriel Kuschnir, Sgan Mashgiach Ruchani. “Being from out of town, it was hard to be away from home for so long,” said Shapiro. “But the warm relationships I formed with my Rebbes really made me feel like I had a home away from home.”

Lior Brik, from Zichron Yaakov, Israel, is valedictorian of the James Striar School (JSS) majoring in computer science (data science track) and minoring in math. He is thankful for having been part of JSS, where “I learned how to be a better human being and was given many tools for daily life.”

Shayna Doretsky from Plainview, New York, is the valedictorian of the Sy Syms School of Business, with a major in accounting and a double minor in finance and information decision sciences. During her time at YU, she participated in exciting clubs, been challenged by and learned from brilliant professors, and made wonderful friends. She spent much of her time participating in extracurricular activities such as the Beren Campus Student Council, the Israel Club, The Langfan Constitutional Oratorical Competition and The Accounting Society.

Yona Rom from Toronto is valedictorian of the Sy Syms School of Business with a double major in finance and accounting. He expressed a deep appreciation for all the positive experiences he had during his four years at YU, the lifelong friendships he formed and also the many opportunities he was given to get involved in chesed [charity] projects to give back to the community. Rom makes specific mention of the dynamic faculty and rebbeim at YU, saying, “I have been exposed to role models who embody real principles of success, integrity, altruism and a commitment to a Torah life, and for this I am so grateful.”  

The graduates will look back at their YU experience as one of religious growth and being prepared to be successful in their chosen careers. The administration, teachers and students of YU are immensely proud of these exceptional students and wish them much success in the future.