After more than two months of concern and uncertainty about the future of Yeshiva University’s high school for boys, the board of trustees of the university Tuesday approved the continuation of the school on its Washington Heights campus, and pledged to strengthen it academically and financially.The decision, based on the recommendation of two committees, is a victory for advocates of the 80-year-old high school, some of whom may be wondering what the fuss was all about in the first place.
Much of the drama went out of the race for Yeshiva University president this week when Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, spiritual leader of Efrat, Israel, and best known of the potential candidates, withdrew his name from consideration.
That left David Shatz, a professor of philosophy at Yeshiva and Columbia universities, as the likely contender to succeed Norman Lamm, according to sources close to the selection process.
David Schnall, dean of Yeshiva’s Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration, also is expected to be a candidate for the post.
Will Richard Joel — expected to be elected this week as Yeshiva University’s new president — redirect the flagship institution of Modern Orthodoxy from its rightward move of the past several decades back toward the center?
That’s a question being asked in the halls of Yeshiva and throughout the community at the apparent culmination of a long and difficult search process for a successor to Dr. Norman Lamm, who has guided the institution since 1976.
In a move widely seen as a victory for the centrist element of Modern Orthodoxy, and despite rabbinic opposition, Richard Joel, 52, was elected president of Yeshiva University late Thursday night, Dec. 5. In the spring he will succeed Dr. Norman Lamm, who has led the flagship institution of the movement since 1976.
Richard Joel seems undaunted by the fact that some of the faculty and lay leadership at Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school opposed his becoming chief executive officer of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the position he was elected to last week along with president of Yeshiva University.
Joel, 52, said his skills for the new posts include “taking institutions where people look askance at my capacities and being able to empower them.
Some Orthodox Jews were wondering this week what it would take for Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a prominent rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school, to be relieved of his duties for making offensive statements — the latest of which has proved to be the most shocking of all.
At the same time defenders of the rabbi were questioning when the community would come to recognize the stature of the Talmudic scholar they revere and show more respect toward him.
Dov Zakheim, the sole choice of the search committee seeking a president for Yeshiva University, withdrew his candidacy on Tuesday, throwing the process into turmoil and underscoring the ideological and political difficulties of finding a successor to Dr. Norman Lamm.
“Never underestimate the clout of the rabbis here,” one faculty member said in the aftermath of Zackheim’s short-lived candidacy.
Yeshiva University has announced the establishment this semester of undergraduate honors programs, in both Jewish and secular disciplines, at Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women.
The programs, the first of their kind at the colleges, were launched in conjunction with two donations totaling $20 million: one from Jay and Jean Schottenstein of Columbus, Ohio, for Yeshiva College; the other, for Stern College, from an anonymous donor said to be a family with a history of longtime support for YU.