October 2020 -- Tishrei- Cheshvan 5781,  Volume 26, Issue 10

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Yeshiva University Names Local Students as Valedictorians of the Class of 2020

On June 14, 2020, over 1,800 students from Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate schools received their degrees at YU’s 89th Annual Commencement Exercises, this year held virtually in light of the pandemic. Eight undergraduate students were honored as valedictorians for their outstanding academic achievements.

As they enter this new and exciting stage in their lives, they will bring with them the dynamic and fulfilling Jewish, academic, extra-curricular and social experiences they received throughout their undergraduate years at YU. Two area graduates include Elisheva Cohen and Avidan Rudansky.


Elisheva Cohen, majoring in Jewish education with a minor in biology, has been selected as valedictorian of both Stern College for Women and the Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies. Among the many activities in which she was involved were the Beit Midrash Committee, co-coordinator of the Beren Bekiut Program and as a volunteer for Ezras Nashim, Stern College’s EMT group. “I have had a very positive and meaningful experience at Yeshiva University that extended from the classroom and beyond,” she said.


Next year, the Stamford, Connecticut, native plans to study in Israel to gain a deeper knowledge of Torah and cultivate the skills to be a master teacher. “I want to learn in order to give back and spread a love of G-d, Torah and the Jewish People.”


Avidan Rudansky, from Mamaroneck, is valedictorian of the Isaac Breuer College of Hebraic Studies with a major in biology and a minor in finance. “YU is more than just a college—it is a community,” he observed. “From the rabbis and professors to the students and coaches, I was always in a learning and growing environment.”


The diversity of students and course offerings at YU allowed him the opportunity to explore other areas of interest. Although a biology major, he discovered a passion for venture capital and entrepreneurship, and as a member of YU’s tennis team, he was able to form lifelong bonds with students and coaches who shared his passion and drive.


“As I enter the next chapter of my life, I hope I can bring the knowledge, lessons and morals I was fortunate to learn at YU into the real world and contribute positively to society. If I could help change, inspire or uplift even one person’s life, whether that be religiously, educationally, professionally, socially or economically, that would truly be something I’d be extremely proud of.”


It’s clear the graduates will look back at their YU experience as one of religious growth and being prepared to be successful in their chosen careers. The administration, teachers and students of YU are immensely proud of these exceptional students and wish them much success in the future.