April 8, 2024
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Nine Students Named YU Undergraduate Valedictorians

(Courtesy of YU) Yeshiva University announced that nine students have been named undergraduate valedictorians of its 2023 graduating class.

They and their fellow classmates will graduate at the University’s 92nd Annual Commencement Ceremony to take place at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday, May 23 at 2 p.m.

The following are excerpts from interviews with each of the valedictorians to learn about their courses of study, experiences at YU and plans for the future.


Elisheva Hirsch

Stern College for Women

Elisheva Hirsch is graduating with a major in psychology and a minor in business and management. The next step for the Passaic, New Jersey, native is pursuing a master’s degree in educational theater at City College of New York in the fall.

Her extracurriculars included stints as president and vice president of the Stern College Dramatics Society, actor in its productions of “The Mousetrap” (2022) and ”Radium Girls” (2021), as well as arts and culture editor and a contributing writer for The Observer, one of two student-run newspapers at YU. She also completed several theater internships and jobs throughout her time at Stern College, including a current internship at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

“I am incredibly grateful for my experience at Stern,” said Hirsch. “Learning from professors who exemplify Torah Umadda, creating and participating in opportunities for Orthodox Jewish women in the arts, and building connections with so many intelligent, creative and kind women are just a few reasons why I am so glad I attended Stern College.”


Jonah Tripp

Yeshiva College

Originally from Boca Raton, Florida, Jonah Tripp majored in biology with a minor in public health. He is currently beginning the application process for medical school and intends to complete a master’s in public health during the coming year.

During his time as an undergraduate, Tripp was president of YU’s Medical Ethics Society and the YU chapter of United Against Inequities in Disease (UAID). He was also a volunteer EMT for Washington Heights Hatzalah.

“Intellectual pursuit was at the heart of each moment for me as a Yeshiva University student,” said Tripp. “YU is really an amazing place for a pre-med student and any student. Not only are the courses thorough, but the opportunities for research, publications and extracurriculars are expansive. My time in Yeshiva College has truly prepared me for my pursuit of a career in medicine and public health.”


Leah Schewitz

Sy Syms School of Business

Leah Schewitz is graduating with a double major in finance and strategy and entrepreneurship, and a minor in marketing. The East London, South Africa native is currently a strategy intern at Zip Co, a financial technology company. While at YU, her extracurriculars included being co-president of TAMID, student ambassador, intern for Maccabee Ventures and a member of both the Golda Meir Intellectual Society and Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honor society.

“Yeshiva University has been life changing for me,” said Schewitz. “Having the opportunity, for the first time in my life, to be exposed to a dual curriculum and never having to choose between my religious, academic and career goals has been a true privilege. I am proud to say I now feel part of a community, of something far greater. Not only have I gained academic excellence at YU, I also connected with lifelong mentors and friends. YU has given me this gift and I have tremendous hakaras hatov [gratitude]. Thank you, YU!”


Josh Hirt

Sy Syms School of Business

Majoring in finance with a minor in mathematics, Josh Hirt has accepted a position as an investment banking analyst at Morgan Stanley.

The Lawrence, New York native participated in a variety of extracurricular activities while at YU, including the iTutor Club, the golf team and Yeshiva University’s Investment Banking Society, as well as being portfolio manager of the Harold Charno Scholarship fund.

Hirt is appreciative of the dedicated faculty at YU: “I feel incredibly fortunate to have attended a college where the professors are not only knowledgeable but also passionate about their students’ success.”


Tehila (Kornwasser) Mermelstein

Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies

Originally from Teaneck, Tehila (Kornwasser) Mermelstein majored in Judaic studies. Starting in the fall, she will study at the Graduate Program for Advanced Talmudic Studies for Women (GPATS) in the Tanach program and pursue a master’s degree at Azrieli.

“I am so grateful for the many opportunities I had throughout my years in Stern to learn so many areas of Torah from incredibly knowledgeable and committed professors,” said Mermelstein.


Natan Ehrenreich

Isaac Breuer College (IBC)

As a student majoring in political science, Natan Ehrenreich is grateful to have been a Straus Scholar at the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. After graduation, the Cleveland, Ohio native will be an editorial intern at National Review during the summer and a Beren Fellow with the Tikvah Fund. Beginning in September, he’ll be a Fellow with the Public Interest Fellowship for two years and hopes to attend law school after that.

As a Straus Scholar, he participated in summer fellowships at the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Hertog Foundation. His extracurricular activities included being a tutor at the Writing Center and chair of the Wilf Campus Canvassing Committee last year.

“As much as I’ve grown intellectually over my time at YU, I think I’ll remember my three years here most for the education in values that I’ve received,” said Ehrenreich. “At YU, what you study is far less important than the type of person you are charged to become, and I’m thankful to be part of a community that empowers us to step into the world and make an impact while representing Judaism and the Jewish people with pride.”


Jess Rom

James Striar School of General Jewish
Studies (JSS)

Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Jess Rom is graduating with a double major in finance and accounting. His next step is as a trader at Auramet International, Inc., a global precious metals merchant.

While at YU, Rom was captain of YU’s men’s soccer team, which made history this past fall by winning nine matches and advancing to the Skyline Conference Championship game.

“I will always hold Yeshiva University close to my heart as it offers a multitude of opportunities for growth, exploration and learning,” said Rom. “Throughout my four years, I managed to meet new people, discover new interests and challenge myself both academically and personally.”


Jeremy Klein

Irving I. Stone Beis Medrash Program (BMP)

Jeremy Klein, from Woodmere, New York, majored in finance with a minor in marketing while at YU. In September, the Sy Syms honors student will start work at PwC in their Financial Markets and Real Estate consulting group.

While at YU, Klein was a member of the Real Estate Club and a RIETS/UTS Student Assistant/ madrich (counselor) for Yeshivat Torat Shraga in Israel, where he studied for two years prior to coming to YU. In that position, he helped new students from that yeshiva integrate into YU as well as plan events and get-togethers about twice a month. “It was a chance for all the guys to just come to eat, sing, share Torah and just hang out,” said Klein. He was also recently inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honors society.

“It’s truly incredible the ways in which I feel I was able to grow here and prepare myself for the rest of my life,” said Klein. “My courses helped me prepare for my various internships and interviews, and now for my job, but what makes YU unique is how they prepare people for life in its totality. The values they instill, which are the same whether you’re in the classroom or beis midrash [study hall], are not just words in the brochures but are taken quite seriously here. As I leave YU, I feel that I’ll not only be a better professional in the workplace because of my great teachers and expansive education, but also that I’ll be a more well-rounded and productive member of society. That is thanks to the rebbeim, daily shiurim and the many growth opportunities that I was provided with throughout my time at YU.”


Elad Jeselsohn

Mazer Yeshiva Program (MYP)

Elad Jeselsohn, from Newton, Massachusetts, is graduating with a major in psychology (psychology and the community track). After graduation, he plans to pursue semicha (rabbinic ordination) at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).

Jeselsohn is grateful for his experience as a YU student. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Yeshiva University for being a tremendous מקום תורה [place of Torah] and for providing me the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in avodas Hashem [serving God] throughout the past three years and moving forward.”

For more information about YU’s 92nd Annual Commencement Ceremony, visit yu.edu/commencement

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