LCM Bids Farewell to Rabbi Josh Sturm

Reflections on his eleven-year tenure

June 10, 2015

The beloved staff member, LCM graduate, and musmach recently announced that he will be stepping down from his eleven-year tenure with LCM to accept a position as director of outreach at Renewal, an organization which helps facilitate kidney transplants in the Jewish community. He will be replaced by Rabbi Ari Manheim, LCM ’11.

In the goodbye banquet on June 4, faculty and students joined together to share memories of the affectionately-known “Rabbi Josh” and to wish him hatzlacha in his future endeavors.

A member of the Bais Medrash L’Talmud since graduating from LCM in 2006, Rabbi Sturm was so much more than the coordinator of admissions and community programming, explained R’ Ariel Kopitnikoff, director of student life at LCM. Besides organizing community-wide shiurim and student recruitment events such as the Model Beis Din Competition, he was a mentor, a weekly parsha shiur rebbe, and a constant Shabbos host (and organizer of the popular Friday night “Learn and Nosh with Rabbi Josh”).

He had, as Rabbi Kopitnikoff said, several titles: Josh, HaRav Josh, and Rabbi Josh.  “[The title of] just ‘Josh’ represents his warm personality as a loyal friend. ‘HaRav Josh’ represents his status as a talmid chacham from whom people constantly ask shailos. And ‘Rabbi Josh’ represents his role as a talmid of the yeshiva and confidante of so many talmidim.”

Farewell remarks were also made by Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik. After Rabbi Sturm thanked each of the rebbeim, deans, and administrative staff for all that he’d learned from working alongside them, he expressed his gratitude to all the students for making him and his family such an integral facet of the institution.

“From the many Shabboses together to the late night conversations and the daily greetings in the halls of LCM, these day-to-day interactions are what I’m going to miss the most from LCM, and for that I owe a deep hakarat hatov and appreciation to you. I thank everyone for letting me be such a welcomed part of your lives for the past eleven-and-a-half years.”

On behalf of the student body, Bais Medrash member Shai Kopitnikoff presented Josh matching Mets jersey gifts for the entire Sturm family.

Students will miss the long-time staff member. “Josh epitomized what the yeshiva strives to instill in its students, and had the ability, with his charisma, to connect with anyone with whom he crosses paths,” said Nahum Twersky, LCM ’15. “The way he cared about people was just second nature for him,” agreed Avromie Elberger. “He’s the most emmesdik person I know.”

And many, including Jonathan Zada and Yaakov Gendler, remarked on his “big-brother”-type personality. “He made every guy here feel like a million dollars,” said Aaron Kattan. “He’d make time for you to shmooz whenever you want and really make you feel at home whenever you were with him.”

Meanwhile, Rabbi Sturm acknowledged Rabbi Ari Manheim’s capabilities as his successor. “I cannot think of a better, well-suited person to replace me in this position. You’re all in amazing hands.

“And although I’m leaving,” he continued, “Lander College for Men will always hold a precious place in my heart.”