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Chag HaSemikhah 5774

RIETS to Celebrate Largest Class of Ordained Rabbis at March 23 Convocation; Honorees include Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz and Jay Schottenstein 

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and the Yeshiva University community will celebrate the ordination of its largest class of musmakhim [ordained rabbis] at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation on Sunday, March 23, 2014, in the Nathan Lamport Auditorium, Zysman Hall, 2540 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City.

A record class of musmakhim will celebrate at the March 23 Chag HaSemikhah.

“The Yeshiva gives context to the University, and our rabbinic graduates, whom we celebrate at this Chag HaSemikhah, truly represent the best in us,” said President Richard M. Joel. “Their perspective and their professions are central and vital to the future of our community. In many ways we define ourselves through them and look to them to help in the unfolding of the Jewish future.”

This year more than 225 musmakhim from the classes of 2011-2014 will join the more than 3,000 young men who have passed through the batei midrashim [study halls] of RIETS and gone on to become distinguished Orthodox rabbis, scholars, educators and leaders around the world.

RIETS will also honor philanthropist Jay Schottenstein, with the Eitz Chaim Award, and Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz’46YC, ’49R, Av Beit Din of the Beth Din of America and of the Chicago Rabbinical Council Beit Din, with the Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l Aluf Torah Award. Special recognition will also be given to those who received semikhah 50 years ago, members of the RIETS classes of 1960-63.

The class of rabbis represents an internationally diverse group, hailing from five continents and more than 50 North American cities. While most of the musmakhim will remain engaged in either full-time post-semikhah Torah study or in religious work—Jewish education, the pulpit, outreach or non-profit work—many will pursue careers in other professions, including medicine and law.

The musmakhim will enter their calling well-equipped with the unique training that only a RIETS education can offer. Along with its rich history of unmatched Torah scholarship, the seminary has implemented an enhanced Rabbinic Professional Education Program. Designed to meet the communal and spiritual needs of our time, the innovative program offers students an extensive curriculum on topics ranging from pastoral psychology and public speaking to leadership training and community building—all taught by renowned experts and rabbis. In addition, students are exposed to contemporary halachik [Jewish law] issues they may encounter in fields such as bioethics, technology and business—embodying Yeshiva University’s Torah U’Madda philosophy.

“Our semikhah students experience a training program at RIETS like no other,” said Rabbi Menachem Penner, acting dean of RIETS, who will oversee his first Chag HaSemikhah. “Aside from the erudition and scholarship—which remain the emphasis of our program—we are producing professionally qualified and sensitive individuals who have received the requisite professional skills to lead our community into the future.”

Founded in 1896, RIETS is the leading center for education and ordination of Orthodox rabbis in North America. To learn more about the Chag HaSemikhah or to place an ad in the Scroll of Honor, please call 646-592-4027 or email The event will be presented as a live webcast to the public at