(Courtesy of Yeshiva University) Hundreds of students from Yeshiva University’s undergraduate schools received their degrees at YU’s 87th commencement exercises, held at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on May 16. Nine of the students were honored with the designation of valedictorian for their outstanding academic achievement.
Meir Finkelstein of Teaneck was named valedictorian of the Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies. Finkelstein is the grandson of Yvette and Jack Finkelstein of New Rochelle.
Finkelstein was a participant in the YU Masmidim Honors Program, which offers accelerated study and scholarship support to a small group of exceptional students. Program members have the opportunity to maximize their potential through a rigorous learning schedule and curriculum, within the framework of the university’s unique commitment to Torah Umadda.
“I am grateful to my rebbeim who had a great impact on me,” said Finkelstein. “I had the opportunity to learn in Rav Hershel Schachter’s shiur for three years and to learn and receive guidance from Rabbi Mayer Twersky in the Masmidim Program.”
After graduation, Finkelstein hopes to pursue semicha at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Reflecting on his favorite memories, Finkelstein said he really enjoyed Shabbat and the High Holidays on campus. “These times brought out a real sense of community and provided a warm and uplifting context for growth,” he said.
Other valedictorians include Golda Aharon, Stern College for Women; Shany Hava, Sy Syms School of Business; Michael Klein, Sy Syms School of Business; Jared Rutner, Yeshiva College; Jesse Joseph Salver, Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program; Mindy Schwartz, Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies; Brent Weinberg, Isaac Breuer College; and Mordechai (Mark) Weiss, James Striar School of General Jewish Studies.