Committed to Your Growth
A dynamic, caring faculty and daily mentoring by students at Yeshiva University's rabbinical seminary help Mechinah students progress from basic to more advanced levels of Jewish learning in systematic stages based upon individual growth and achievement.
Rabbi Zev Reichman, Director
Rabbi Zev Reichman earned a BA in Hebrew language and literature from YU's Yeshiva College and an MS from its Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. He studied at Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah D'Grodna and Yeshiva Knesses Yisroel Hevron, and received his ordination from RIETS. Subsequently, he completed four years of postgraduate rabbinic studies at RIETS' Harry and Bella Wexner Kollel Elyon. He is the author of the book, Flames of Faith: An Introduction to Chassidic Thought, and just translated and published Remove Anger From Your Heart: A Torah Guide to Patience, Tolerance, and Emotional Well Being.
Rabbi Reichman, together with his wife Chana and children, serves as the spiritual leader at the East Hill Synagogue of Englewood, NJ. Their community looks forward to hosting Mechinah and Stern BJSP students every weekend.
Chad Hopkovitz, Administrator
Behind the scenes of the Mechinah Program, Chad Hopkovitz is there working tirelessly making sure everything (and we mean everything!) is running smoothly and efficiently. Beloved for his wit and sense of humor, Chad advocates on behalf of student needs, represents the Mechinah to related YU offices and committees, coordinates all programs and activities, and provides academic and personal guidance. Chad came to the Mechinah with much experience in NCSY and Bnei Akiva, and spent several years learning at Yeshiva Netiv Aryeh in Jerusalem and at RIETS. Chad graduated from Yeshiva College with a BA in Psychology, and just recently completed his Master's in Public Administration from the City University of New York. When not busy here, Chad can be found doing home repair projects, giving informal shiurim, and talking politics.
Rabbi Avidan Elkin
Rabbi Uri Orlian
Rabbi Uri Orlian, instructor of Talmud, earned his BA in Economics from Yeshiva College and an MS in Secondary Education and Administration. He pursued postgraduate studies for five years at the Lakewood Yeshiva, where he earned his rabbinical ordination. He was also ordained by Rabbi Z. N. Goldberg, Chief Justice of the Rabbinical Supreme Court of Jerusalem. He has received special training in fertility and Jewish law from the Puah Institute. Rabbi Orlian provides spiritual guidance as part of YU's mashgiach (mentoring) program.
If you can't find him in the study hall or on the basketball court, you may find Rabbi Orlian hosting students at his on-campus home along with his wife and two children.
Professor Harvey Sober
Professor Sober earned BA and MA degrees in Hebrew language and literature and medieval Jewish philosophy from CUNY-Hunter College. Also, he completed post-graduate studies in ancient Near Eastern studies at Columbia University. Professor Sober earned his first karate black belt in 1962, and in 1967 was promoted to grand master. That year at YU, he started the Tora Dojo martial arts association, the first all-Jewish martial arts association. Through Tora Dojo he has trained 17,500 Jews from five countries in karate.
Rabbi Benjamin Yudin
Rabbi Benjamin Yudin received a BA from Yeshiva College in 1966, and an MA from YU's Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and ordination from RIETS in 1966. He was director of James Striar School of General Jewish Studies from 1982 to 1989. Before that, he was a faculty member at YU's Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy--Yeshiva University High School for Boys. He is spiritual leader at Congregation Shomrei Torah, Fair Lawn, NJ, and is active in outreach and in educating Jewish Ã©migrÃ©s from the former Soviet Union.
Rabbi Yudin is a much sought after speaker, edited the Artscroll Interlinear Prayer Book and can be heard every Friday morning on the airwaves in the New York City area on Nachum Segal's JM in the AM radio program.
Rabbi Avidan Elkin, Sephardic Studies
After several years of intensive rabbinical training in Israel, Rabbi Avidan Elkin returned with his young famly to the United States. An expert in Sephardic Halacha, Rabbi Elkin is also a licensed shochet and sofer (scribe). Fluent in English, Hebrew, French, and Arabic, Rabbi Elkin works extensively with our foreign students (even Ashkenazim!). With much experience with different outreach initiatives, the Elkin family currently resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he serves as Rabbi of the Sephardic Kehillah.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech
A world-renowned speaker, Rabbi Benjamin Blech received a BA from Yeshiva College in 1954, an MA from Columbia University, and ordination from RIETS in 1956. He has taught at YU since 1966. Students love Rabbi Blech for his warmth and wit. He has written nine books on Judaism, including three as part of the popular Idiot's Guide series, and has many popular shiurim shiurim and articles online. He is also the author of If God is Good, Why is the World So Bad?, Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life's Financial Ups and Down, and the international best-seller, The Sistine Secrets.
Rabbi Jonathan Shippel
A native of South Africa, Rabbi Jonathan Shippel is a graduate of Columbia University and Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore. He holds an MA in Judaic studies. After receiving his rabbinical ordination in Jerusalem, Rabbi Shippel founded and directed Ohr Somayach in Cape Town, South Africa. There he built a Jewish learning center, a vibrant congregation, and a Jewish day school. Now back in New York, Rabbi Shippel serves as co-director at Gateways. He is also a popular leacturer. At Mechinah, he teaches courses in contemporary Jewish philosophy and modern Jewish issues.
Rabbi Ari Solomont
Prior to making aliyah four years ago, Rabbi Ari Solomont was a licensed nursing home administrator and the executive director of New England NCSY (National Conference of Synagogue Youth) for ten years. Well known as an expert in the field of informal education, Rabbi Ari has been a sought-after consultant for several national and international educational initiatives. Rabbi Ari's warmth, humor, love of people, and compassion have inspired a generation of Jewish youth in their quest for Torah values.
Before joining YU, Rabbi Ari served as the International Director of Resource Development for Ner Le'Elef in Jerusalem, a center for Jewish leadership advancement. He is an avid ball player and cycling enthusiast who can often be found riding through the Judean Hills, Modiin, and the Ben Shemen Forest. He and his wife Sarah Beth live in Chashmonaim with their four children.