By Eli Saperstein
On Monday, May 3, 2021 the Sy Syms School of Business held its annual Awards Dinner at the Keter Torah Synagogue located in Teaneck, New Jersey, where faculty, guests, parents and students gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of students and faculty after an unprecedented year.
Everyone was required to show their compliance to Yeshiva University’s COVID-19 safety program, and the green smiley face of the online YU COVID-19 questionnaire was required at check-in. Once you were told your table number and took your seating card, you were allowed to enter the main hall where the hors d’oeuvres were being served in a COVID-19-safe way, with everyone being required to sit at their table with servers coming around periodically as opposed to the typical pre-covid way of crowding around various stations and receiving a portion. Despite all these restrictions, the excitement was palpable, this dinner coming after a long, primarily online year was the first time for many of the one-hundred-fifty guests to meet or reunite with their professors and classmates in person in a formal setting.
Before the official programming began, a perek (chapter) of Tehillim (Psalms) was said in honor of Donny Morris and all those lost at Meron this past Lag B’Omer, led by Adam Baron, the current president of Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business Student Council.
Opening remarks were given by Alexandrie Brody and Adam Baron about the successful events over the past year such as the stock market challenge, followed by a welcome from Dean Strauss. President Rabbi Dr. Berman spoke about the role of students in the workforce and how their Avodas Hashem (service of G-d) is no longer just in the Beis Medrash (study hall), but about growing the economy, helping the community and producing wealth while making a Kiddush Hashem (representing Judaism positively) is its own form of Avodas Hashem. Marcy Syms (President of the Sy Syms Foundation and former CEO of Syms Corp) began her introduction of Steve Lipman about how wonderful it was to see everyone mentioning that “it is her first time being in a room with more than four people” as well as relating her views on inspiration and aspiration which was inspiring for all those present. Her introduction moved to the keynote speaker who this year was Steve Lipton, Global managing partner of Rothchild & Co. Someone who should be an inspiration to all of us as “Mr. Lipman can be proud that he is one of a handful of investment bankers who has the same friends in his address book that he had fifteen-twenty years ago and he hasn’t changed his cell phone number!”
The keynote speech which focused primarily on work ethic and its resulting rewards began by giving a brief introduction to what he actually does on Wall Street, maximizing value. He mentioned that no matter what in order to be successful “you need to go all-in” as well as relating that in his experience the employees who feel connected to the firm’s culture and value being surrounded by the best and brightest will have a very different attitude than the employee whose sole goal is to make a lot of money and has no passion for their work then, “you may be rich someday but I doubt you will ever be happy.” The speech concluded with the hope that those present will redefine what they might assume to be a success such as attaining personal wealth and challenging everyone to think about success as “what you can do for others, that concepts such as tzedakah and tikkun olam do not begin and end at shul they are how you define yourself in the business world and beyond” to the applause of everyone.
Following that Dean Wasserman gave a siyum (celebration of completing a Judaic text) on Tractate Bava Basra, elevating this wonderful event to a seudas mitzvah (celebratory meal in honor of fulfilling a Jewish commandment). Following that, the Dean Harold Nierenberg Valedictorians Awards were given to Tali Goldman and Noah Tradonsky, after which the Bernard Brown Salutatorian Award for Excellence in Business Studies was given to Pamela Abraham and Avraham Kaminker.
There was a break given for the entree to be served after which everyone was called to return to their seats after which the awards were to commence
The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Accounting was given to Yosef Bram, Daniel Spirgel, Jennifer Sorscher, and Joshua Saltzmen.
The Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Business Intelligence and Marketing Analytics was given to Jason Jubas and Seth Mintz.
The Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in Finance was given to Joseph Aron, Daniel Koenigsberg, and Eden Krenzel.
The Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in management was given to Zev Markowitz and Isabelle Selter.
The Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement in marketing was given to Lily Betesh and David Schmidt.
The Dean’s Award for Service and Character was given to Harrison Drucker, Eden Krenzel, Ilan Marouani, and Haviva Tirschwell.
The Dean’s Hakarat Hatov Award for Service and Leadership went to the respective presidents of each campus, Alexandrie Brody and Adam Baron.
Another break was given for the dessert, after which the Professor of the Year Award went to Professor Mark Finkel and Professor Yitzchak Rosenthal.
The Adjunct Professor of the Year Award was given to Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin.
Members of the BGS (Beta Gamma Sigma, an academic honor society for top business school students) were then announced. Congratulations to: Abraham Bahar, Adam Duitz, Rafael Fischer, Cody Halbert, Daniel Jaspan, Ahuva Oppen, Boaz Sobal, Noah Zaionz, Moshe Zeileniec, Yaakov Schreier, Jakob Sheckter Samuel Adler, Aryeh Bienstock, Rachel Doretsky, Liav Garbuz, Andrew Gottfried, Madlan Kavian, Shaina Levin, Jonah Loskove, Jonathan Saks, Dov Schlossberg, Elizsheva Katz, Isabelle Selter, and Sharon Tuchman.
We were then treated to concluding remarks from Adam Baron and Alexandrie Brody.
There was an after-party which consisted of doubles ping pong, Jenga, miniature basketball, giant connect four, giant checkers, and multiple air hockey tables.
Swag was given out shortly after another call for social distancing and mask-wearing which consisted of a Sy Syms clear plastic bag, a wireless charger, and a washable mask.
Fun was had by all and, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the busses brought the students back to their respective campuses after yet another successful Annual Sy Syms dinner. Congratulations to all honorees and award winners.