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Masmidim Honors Program

Education Built upon Relationships for Life

The Yeshiva University Masmidim Honors Program, under the aegis of the Mazer Yeshiva Program (MYP), offers accelerated study and scholarship support to a small group of budding Torah scholars. We seek to identify exceptional incoming students each year who demonstrate potential to become genuine talmidei chochomim.

Students 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 U'madda. Upon graduation, our students receive Masmidim Program notation.

Directed by Rabbi Mayer Twersky, a renowned talmid chochom and rosh yeshiva, the program offers significant scholarships, up to $25,000. The program includes advanced learning, mentorship, and bechinos.

The undergraduate Jewish studies faculty consists of more than 75 leading roshei yeshiva and academic scholars. Many are products of YU's affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). As a result, they are deeply committed to and immersed in the tenets of the Torah U'madda ideology.

Our faculty teach, lecture, and publish across a variety of subjects and contexts—ranging from scholarly articles appearing in Talmudic journals to books on popular culture appearing on Amazon.com.

Many faculty members are pulpit rabbis in leading synagogues. They expose students to the teachings and ideas at the forefront of Jewish life. Students respect their faculty not just as accomplished scholars but as moral exemplars, looking to them for guidance on how to live ethical lives. The relationships formed with these outstanding leaders personalize, deepen, and distinguish each student's education.

Resources

Masmidim Honors Program

Administration

  • Rabbi Menachem Penner
    Max and Marion Grill Dean
    Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Undergraduate Jewish Studies
  • Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky
    Undergraduate Torah Studies Dean

Faculty

  • Rabbi Mayer Twersky
    Director, Yeshiva Masmidim Honors Program and Leib Merkin Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy
  • Rabbi Ari Zahtz
    BA, Yeshiva University; Ordination, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; Wexner Kollel Elyon
  • Rabbi Michoel Zylberman
    BA, MS, Yeshiva University; Ordination, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; Wexner Kollel Elyon

The program is open to students who have applied to Yeshiva College or Syms School of Business.

Click here for the Masmidim Honors application form.

Process

The admissions process for the Masmidim Honors Program includes:

  • An application
  • Interviews with Rabbi Herschel Schachter, Rabbi Michael Rosensweig and Rabbi Mayer Twersky
  • Two letters of recommendation

Timeline

  • The application and letters of recommendation must be submitted by January 22nd prior to the fall term in which the student will be entering the program.
  • Bechinos will be administered mid February in New York and Israel.  Applicants will be notified of their decision in early April.
  • Admitted talmidim must formally accept in writing. (This may be done via e-mail.)
  • Talmidim may not defer their awards to, or begin their studies in the spring semester.

To learn more, please contact us.

Rabbi Mayer Twersky and other Masmidim Honors Program faculty members, including Rabbi Michoel Zylberman, mentor students. Together, they help the young men work to achieve their full potential in learning.

The Masmidim Honors Program incorporates a number of responsibilities beyond the regular Mazer/Yeshiva Program curriculum. This fosters the shleimus we seek for our talmidim:

  • Bekius expectation of a minimum of sixty blatt of gemara per year with Rashi and Tosafos (beyond what is covered in their Iyun shiur, and when possible within the Yeshiva's mesechta) with bechinos
  • Written sikumim (in Hebrew) of some sugyos assigned from shiur [lecture] or bekius
  • Weekly tests on the Parsha, Rashi and Onkolos
  • Weekly hashkafa chaburah given by Rabbi Twersky
  • Coordinated mussar seder

Expectations increase over the course of the program. The Chumash requirement, for example, expands to include the study of selected passages of Ramban in the second year.

Time Commitment

Additional mandatory learning times beyond the usual morning and night seder include:

  • Friday morning seder from 9 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Elul Zman
  • June Zman

Talmidim must remain in Yeshiva at the following times:

  • Yomim Noraim
  • Shavuot
  • Two out of every four Shabbosos. (In-Shabbosos will feature sedarim and/or shiurim [lectures].)

Summers

Talmidim are not required to stay at Yeshiva University for the summer, but we expect talmidim to be involved in full-time learning, other than a traditional bain hazmanim (two or three weeks).

Rabbi Twersky will meet with talmidim to discuss and guide them in their specific summer plans.

Program Maintenance and Secular Studies

To remain eligible for the program, talmidim must maintain the following standards:

  • 90 average on Masmidim Program bechinos
  • 3.4 GPA in Yeshiva College or Sy Syms School of Business
  • Appropriate progress in the regular MYP shiur, in keeping with the expectations of honors students
  • Requirements for a class in which a student receives an incomplete mark must be fulfilled within four weeks of the next semester

To allow excellence in all aspects of study, talmidim will take between 12 and 16 credits per semester, subject to approval of Rabbi Twersky. Students must remain in the program three years and are encouraged to allow four years for college, beyond their studies in Israel.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the Yeshiva Masmidim Honors Program. We look forward to hearing from you.

Rabbi Tanchum Cohen - Assistant Director

Glueck Center for Jewish Study, Suite 632
515 West 185 Street
New York, NY 10033
Telephone: 646-592-4455
E-mail: tancohen@yu.edu 
Fax: 646-592-4060 

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