By Menachom Aharon Wallach
My name is Menachom Aharon Wallach.
I started at Yeshiva University’s Makor program in August 2017. And I haven’t left YU since. Before YU, I also went to MTA, from 2009 – 2014, which is Yeshiva University’s high school for boys. So, I have basically been in the Heights since 2009, and while that may be a very long time for some people, it’s been so much fun.
I have gotten to do so much at YU. For starters, I was and still am the team water manager for the Yeshiva University basketball team. This means I give water to the students and the referees. In addition, I was part of the 50-game winning streak that the team had from November 2019 to December 2021 (which is the second-longest streak in Division 3 college basketball!). Another experience I’ve had is getting to work in the YU Seforim sale. I’ve also had the privilege to work for the YU Dean’s office. I also was an MTA assistant JV basketball assistant head coach, which was so cool to say the least. I was also on the Student Council last year which was a ton of fun. I even finished Shas Mishnayos in YU.
In YU all of my Rabbis and teachers were so nice to me. I also made a lot of friends. I enjoy the fact that I had a very fun time getting to know a lot of new and old faces.
I’d like to thank a lot of people who helped me during my time at YU and MTA. Rabbi Pener, Dr. Glicksman, my parents, President Berman, Rav Dan Cohen, Nicholas Pitsirikos, Dean Bacon, Dean Sugarman, all the other deans, Adina Kushner, all the men’s basketball team players and coaches the last five years, and everyone in YU and Stern, both students and facility. And most important thanks goes to Hashem.
There is so much to be thankful for at YU so I decided to ask my friends what they thought about YU and what was their favorite part of YU:
SJ Tannenbaum who graduated from Yeshiva University, and who now works for Syms said his favorite part of his YU experience was being a sideline reporter for YU MacsLive.
Shmuel Aberman said that the energy and simcha that comes with all of the events that YU hosts is unparalleled.
Baruch Lerman said, his time on student council with me was one of the highlights in his YU career.
Eitan Auerbach said that he was thankful for all of the opportunities to hear from and interact with the Roshei Yeshiva.
Avrohom Frohlich said that the environment in YU is warm and the people here are great.
Eli Levi said YU has some great people to connect with.
Mijal Gutierrez said YUMUM was the highlight of her experience. She said it’s a rich experience with the YU community, and that there are many different impactful events such as the Chanukah American Dream Mall celebration, YUPAC, and the Stomp Out the Stigma event.
Jon Greenfeld said it is always impressive to see all the YUPAC events put together and to participate in them.
Reuben Hartman said YU has offered him the opportunity to explore all of his academic interests.
Ariel Kashizadeh said being a part of the Sephardi Minyan and Birkat Kohanim, as well as Rabbi Weiderblank’s Shiur. “When people ask me why I am in YU, I say that there is not much like it, but the reason here is because I get to wake up in the morning and go to Rabbi Weiderblank’s Shiur.”
Ezra Seplowitz said, his highlights in YU are spending time with Menachem Aharon Wallach (me), learning from Rav Rosensweig and Rav Twersky, as well as with his incredible Chavrutot, enjoying all that the Straus program has to offer, and spending time with all of his friends!
Rabbi Green said everyone coming back to classes after COVID was very impactful.
David Lifshitz said, “My time in YU has been a true blessing, and the moments I’ve made here with my friends will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Tali Rosensweig said Friendship Circle and all their wonderful staff, members, and events.
Yoni and Ariella Broth said the Chanukah concert in December of 2019.
Bianca Curitz said the teachers here.
Nitti Heinemann said American Dream Mall and Yom Haatzmaut.
Ayelet Brown said the opportunity and extra curriculum that the school provides for us.
An anonymous person said that the Torah is such an important part of being at Stern.
Another anonymous person said learning from so many scholars of the Jewish community and included in that both students and teachers.
An anonymous person said they love the extracurricular programming.
Micheal Stark said a positive highlight he had at YU was playing on the volleyball team with his friends.
Dean Strauss said he likes being with the students. He enjoys spending quality time with them to discuss their career aspirations, their time at the school, or any other issues or challenges they have.
Jose Lopez said he enjoys the time with students and faculty.
Yuval Nitzan said “My most enjoyable moment at YU is playing basketball on the team. We became a family and I made friends for life. I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful!”
Dean Bacon said the mission and values and the students like Menachem Aharon Wallach.
An additional anonymous person said, “YU combines secular studies with Torah studies. I am grateful to have grown both academically and spiritually at YU.”
Jonathan Miller said the people who work here and the students are menches.
Kristine Ahmetaj said YU gives the sense of belonging and being part of a team.
Dean Noam Wasserman said, ‘My first week at YU in May 2019, was quite memorable and set the tone for much I’ve experienced since then. The Wednesday night of that week was the night before finals. R’ Herschel Schechter was going to be giving the pre-Maariv shiur in the Glueck Beis Medrash. I figured, “Great! It’ll be pretty empty and I’ll get a seat.” I showed up a few minutes before he was going to start … and the Beis Medrash was packed. Even the night before finals, our students were prioritizing Torah. Fortunately, I found one empty seat, but it was my introduction to how our students ensure excellence in both Torah U’Business. (I assume they had prepared days in advance for their Syms and YC finals!) It was also my introduction to Night Seder, which has become a regular highlight of the day for me. That day and the day before, I conducted my first “Chats With the Dean”– one on each campus. Drinking in the students’ perspectives, having a dialogue with them about potential solutions to long-time problems, and getting to know them personally was another highlight. Those discussions also helped set the table for some of our most important initiatives since then, including our developing a distinct strategy for the Honors Program and investing in it, and our needing to strengthen the grading consistency across courses and professors. Regular Chats With the Dean have been great complements to what has become a daily occurrence for me: one-on-one chats with students. A final highlight was on Thursday of that week, when we convened our first Faculty Day for the Sy Syms faculty. In addition to bonding together, we threw the professors into a case study in which they experienced being a student (and even doing a role play about the difficult conversation between a passionate wantrepreneur and the hesitant spouse), then debriefed it to set the table for a more all-encompassing teaching workshop. We have continued doing our Faculty Days each semester, tackling together the biggest issues faced by the faculty and the school.’
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin said, “My favorite part about YU is the people. And one of my favorite people is you! You are Menachem Aharon. Menachem means to comfort, and Aharon was renowned for bringing Jews together. You do both. Through your joy and kindness, you bring comfort and hope to everyone who meets you.”
Even President Berman’s suite added something nice to say about me. They said, “Menachem Aharon has been such an important part of the YU community and we know he will accomplish great things in the future. He is beloved by all and is basically the mayor of YU!”
Thank you for your time. I hope you always enjoy YU the same amount as me, if not more. I wish you much success in all you do. Thanks again!