Yeshiva University’s Class of 2022 was launched into its next stage of life in a celebration at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens on May 26, in a celebration that reflected the values and significance of their YU education.
From the keynote address by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, to one of the largest Jewish music concerts ever in North America, it was a celebration shaped by YU’s core Torah values and filled with joy, optimism, achdus, and love of Israel. More than 5,000 onlookers crowded the stadium to celebrate the graduates.
“My dear students, we need you, the Jewish people need you, the world needs you,” YU’s president, Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman of Teaneck, said. “We need the next generation of leaders whose character is shaped by our core Torah values, who will not only immerse themselves in text but also emerge from the text to be leaders with a deep reservoir of information and knowledge. Who not only study our values but live our values with courage and distinction. We need fighting Jews, and we need inspiring Jews.”
Before the received their diplomas from Rabbi Berman, graduates danced and embraced as renowned artist Simcha Leiner led the crowd in “Rise Up.” The song celebrated not only the graduates but also the school’s Rise Up Campaign. That campaign’s goal is $613 million, to go toward scholarships, faculty, and facilities; so far it has raised more than $250 million.
Later that evening, a community-wide siyum honored the Torah that YU students have studied throughout the year. After Rabbi Herschel Schachter recited the closing kaddish, more than 12,000 people stayed for the sold-out YU Ishay Ribo concert. The audience was visibly moved by the poignant music, responding to Ribo’s distinct ability to distil the poetry and holiness of Judaism into song. He sang his last song of the night, Seder Ha’Avoda, draped in an Israeli flag, to resounding cheers.
The day’s events reflected YU’s unique place in the world as the flagship Jewish university that stands at the heart of its community, providing its next generation of students with the Torah and academic education to live lives of great meaning and purpose as well as significant personal and professional success.
In his closing remarks, President Berman summarized the mission of Yeshiva University, noting: “We provide our students not just with the means to live, but with meaning to life. Who will be the pillars of the Jewish community in the years ahead? Who will sanctify God’s great name in the public sphere? Who will serve as a bridge connecting Jews to each other and to our heritage? Who will raise the next generation of children on the teachings of their parents and grandparents? Who will bring our Torah values into the world? Who will rise up against the tide of hate? And who will stand with Israel during its time of need?
“It’s you, our Yeshiva University graduates. You are the leaders of tomorrow. You are the hope that we have been waiting for. And this is our mission: To study, embody, and forward our values for the Jewish people and our broader society throughout whatever you do, to live as both fighting Jews and inspiring Jews, standing tall in the halls of power and shaping our world with the inspiration of the book.” – YESHIVA UNIVERSITY