Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), an affiliate of Yeshiva University, will honor dedicated leaders and educators of the Jewish community at its annual gala evening of tribute on Wednesday, May 1, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
“I have always believed that RIETS is the heart and soul of Yeshiva University,” said Joel Schreiber, chairman of the RIETS board of trustees. “It is blessed with the finest roshei yeshiva that have produced outstanding scholars of Torah and Jewish thought. For over 100 years it has embodied the philosophy of Torah Umadda and has been at the forefront of Modern Orthodoxy in America and beyond. This year, we are privileged to honor leaders in Torah, chesed, and service to community.”
Etz Chaim Award: Rabbi Hyman (Hy) and Ann Arbesfeld. Hy attended Talmudical Academy, the earlier name of Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB), and went on to Yeshiva College, where he graduated summa cum laude. Rather than accept one of several fellowship offers following graduation, he went to RIETS, becoming a student of Rav Joseph Soloveitchik, and received semichah in 1956. He joined the RIETS board of trustees in 1982 and became vice chairman in 2007. Ann served as national president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization for 10 years and is currently a member of its executive council.
The Arbesfelds have endowed YU’s Sunday morning Abraham Arbesfeld Kollel Yom Rishon and the Millie Arbesfeld Midreshet Yom Rishon learning program in honor of Hy’s parents, and most recently, endowed the popular YU Torah To-Go series in memory of Ann’s parents, Benjamin and Rose Berger.
Guest of Honor: Rabbi Hershel Schachter. Rabbi Hershel Schachter, one of the world’s most respected Talmudic scholars, has had a distinguished association and career with RIETS for more than 40 years. A graduate of Yeshiva College and Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Rabbi Schachter received semichah from RIETS in 1967. At age 22, he was appointed assistant to Rav Soloveitchik, with whom he formed a close relationship. Rabbi Schachter officially joined the RIETS faculty at the age of 26 in 1967, becoming one of the youngest roshei yeshiva in RIETS history. A renowned posek, he holds the Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud and lectures in communities around the world. Rabbi Schachter also serves as senior posek for the Orthodox Union and has authored more than 100 scholarly articles and numerous books.
Distinguished Rabbinic Leadership Award: Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler. Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler is a graduate of YUHSB, Yeshiva College, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. He received his semichah from RIETS in 2000 and currently serves as the senior rabbi of Congregation Ahawas Achim B’nai Jacob & David in West Orange, New Jersey. Rabbi Zwickler was recently appointed as a public member of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Israel Commission.
Founded in 1896, RIETS is the leading center for education and ordination of Orthodox Rabbis in North America. To learn more about the RIETS Annual Gala Evening of Tribute, make a reservation, or to participate in the Scroll of Honor visit www.riets.edu/dinner, call 212-960-0852, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. v