Rabbi Dr. Moshe Sokol
HaRav Yonason Sacks
Dean R. Blumenthal • Stephen Brown • Dr. Joshua Fox • Yehuda Hammer • Dr. Gabriel Hershman • Eli Kamionski • Jordan Kaplan • Elliot Klein • Ari Lasker • Dr. Sholom Levitin Bruce Lilker • Samuel Meyer • Michael B. Nechamkin • David Portal • Michael Schussheim Alexander E. Weingarten
Dr. Alan Kadish
Rabbi Doniel Lander
Abraham Biderman • Shmuel Braun • Dr. Benjamin Chouake • Allen Fagin • Howard Friedman Dr. Zahava Friedman • Gilles Gade • Rabbi Menachem Genack • Solomon Goldfinger Abraham Gutnicki • Brian Levinson • David Lichtenstein • Martin Oliner • Dr. Larry Platt Margaret Retter • Stephen Rosenberg • Israel Sendrovic • Gary Torgow • Jack Weinreb Rabbi Shabsai Wolfe • Steven Zuller
Yehuda Azose • Dan Bamshad • David Bamshad • Shmuel Belsh • Yoni Berkovits • Yaakov Black • Jacob Bouskilla • Aaron Charach • Dovi Cohen • Elie Cohen • Ezra Cowan • Asher Dobin • Ronen Dvash • Seth Faigen • Yonatan Feldman • Dovid Yehuda Fink • Natan Fink • Aaron Fleksher • BJ Frenkel • Akiva Fried • Nosson Friedman • Jacky Fruchter • Benjy Fuchs • Yitzchak Fuchs • Yaakov Gendler • Ari Ginsberg • Shalom Glas • Ari Glatt • Aryeh Goldman • Matis Goldring • Jay Goldstein • Yisrael Dov Goldstein • Yecheskel Gottheim • David Herbsman • Justin Hirmes • David Hirsch • Yedidya Hirschhorn • Evan Honigsfeld • Suchi Hornung • Avi Horowitz • Joey Husney • Eliyahu Jacoby • Joey Katz • Zev Kilstein • Yitzchak Kolakowski • Danny Konigsberg • Ariel Kopitnikoff • Shai Kopitnikoff • Alex Kupchik • Noam Laks • Yonah Laster • Yossi Lehrman • Avi Lermer • Dovid Lermer • Sholom Levitin • Daniel Lichter • Yosef Madowitz • Tzvi Malks • Ruby Markowitz • Aleks Melamud • Jonathan Meyers • David Moskowitz • Rafi Motechin • Elyasaf Munk • Elie Norowitz • Avraham Panish • Daniel Parnes • Nachi Penn • Meir Popowitz • Benjy Ramras • Gavri Raskin • Jeff Remin • Josh Rohr • Eytan Rosenbaum • Ahron Meir Rubel • Dovid Rubin • Josh Sarner • Justin Schussheim • Zachary Schussheim • Scott Sears • Aryeh Shapiro • Ari Sher • Gideon Sher • Adam Sigman • Eli Sinnreich • Etan Spector • Naftali Sudwerts • Yitzy Thurm • Marc Umansky • Dovid Vishnevsky • David Wasserlauf • Noah Weichselbaum • Shalom Weiss • Nathaniel Yankelev • Avraham Young • Jonathan Yousefzadeh • Josh Zelman • Yaakov Zimmer • Chaim Zinn • Dany Zolty
Harav Moshe Bamberger
Harbatzas HaTorah Award
Rabbi Moshe Bamberger has served as the beloved Mashgiach Ruchani of Lander College for Men (LCM) Beis Medrash L’Talmud for nearly two decades. When the position was offered to him by Dr. Bernard Lander, zt”l and yb”l HaRav Doniel Lander, shlit”a, Rabbi Bamberger and his devoted wife immediately recognized the important mission and great potential of this unique makom Torah, and joined its stellar hanhallah and faculty in its third year of existence.
Whether delivering inspirational weekly va’adim, his famous Friday morning shmuess or leading stirring tishes on special days of the year and meeting individually with students, Rabbi Bamberger passionately relays Torah lessons and wise guidance to his talmidim on matters of personal growth, careers and relationships. Rabbi Bamberger is a constant fixture in the Beis Medrash, serving as Rav on Shabbos and Yom Tov, learning in the Beis Medrash mornings and evenings, and giving a pre-davening Daf Yomi shiur to talmidim for over 17 years.
Rabbi Bamberger sees his primary role as developing and guiding the students of Beis Medrash L’Talmud not only when they are in the yeshiva, but for life. He is in constant communication with alumni years after graduation, and even leads alumni gatherings in Eretz Yisrael, Canada and throughout the United States.
He has authored several volumes of original commentary on Tanach, titled Shiras HaLevi, as well as a highly acclaimed series for Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, including his newest additions, Great Jewish Journeys and Great Jewish Inspiration.
Rabbi Bamberger has a weekly feature in Hamodia newspaper, and his hundreds of online lectures have an international following. He lives in Kew Gardens Hills with his wonderful wife Risa—who is an equal partner in all of his endeavors—and their five amazing children: Shlomo Zalman, Chava, Frieda, Golda and Yitzchak Dov.
Dr. Michael & Bonita Goldmeier and Family
Family Legacy Award
The Goldmeier Family truly epitomizes the ideals of Lander College for Men. As proud members of the St. Louis Jewish community, they are active in the local Young Israel, U. City Shul and Epstein Hebrew Day School. Dr. Michael Goldmeier is an interventional cardiology specialist from Columbus, Ohio, who met his wife, Bonnie, when he came to St. Louis for training at the Jewish Hospital. Together, they have built a home that revolves around tzedaka and chesed. They are most proud of their six outstanding boys, four of whom have attended Lander College for Men. Growing up in a family of leaders, the Goldmeier boys have learned by example what it means to be committed to Torah, service to community and educational excellence.
Dr. Michael and Bonnie Goldmeier embody integrity and have inculcated in their children the need to live their lives with complete honesty. This is manifested in their quest to fulfill the ratzon Hashem above all else and to prepare their sons for meaningful careers that will enable them to earn an honest living. As role models, Bonnie and Michael demonstrated how to blend hard work, honesty and avodas HaShem. Naturally, their children found their community within Lander College for Men, an institution founded on these principles.
The eldest, Joshua, who was the 2018 valedictorian, studied computer science and is now taking a hiatus from the professional world to learn in the Mir Yeshiva. The second son, Bradley, has been learning in Kollel ever since graduating with a computer science degree. Eric and Gary are studying business and pre-medical studies, respectively.
Jordan (‘11) & Shoshana Kaplan
Alumni Commitment Award
Rabbi Jordan Kaplan is a graduate of Touro’s Lander College for Men (LCM) Beis Medrash L’Talmud, where he earned his B.S. in Finance in 2011 and his semicha in 2013. He went on to earn his MBA in Finance from Touro University in 2017. Rabbi Kaplan began his professional career at Ernst & Young as a financial planner, and advanced to junior credit ratings analyst at S&P Global. He worked his way up as an analyst and currently works as the business analyst in the office of the CEO.
Rabbi Kaplan’s love for Torah was instilled in him by his Lander rebbeim, including Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz, Rabbi Moshe Bamberger and Rabbi Chaim Kirschenbaum.
Rabbi Kaplan and his wife, Shoshana, grew up in Edison, New Jersey, and both studied in Israel after high school; he at Torat Shraga and she at Michlalah. Mrs. Kaplan earned her B.A. in Judaic Studies, from Stern College in 2010 and her M.S. in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration in 2015. She is passionate about teaching limudei kodesh and has taught at almost every grade level in multiple schools. She currently teaches at her alma mater, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva, as a middle school girls’ limudei kodesh and Think Tank teacher.
Rabbi and Mrs. Kaplan are both dedicated to serving the community. He is the immediate past president of the LCM Alumni Board and is currently on the LCM Advisory Board and the Board of Governors at Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva and Congregation Ohr Torah. She has been involved in Edison/Highland Park Connects, as well as the welcoming committee for Congregation Ohr Torah.
Rabbi and Mrs. Kaplan are the parents of four beautiful children, ka”h, Shaya, 8, Roni, 6, Dani, 6, and Gavi, 2.
Ira (‘13) & Sara Suss
Alumni Commitment Award
Ira and Sara Suss exemplify the Lander College for Men values of fusing Torah learning with professional excellence. Ira attended Yeshivat Torah Shraga before going on to Touro’s Lander College for Men, where he was known for his extraordinary chesed and for seeking out those in need so he could assist in any and every way possible. Ira graduated from LCM in 2013 with a B.S. in Accounting. He then went on to earn his CPA license and serve as a trusted advisor at Perelson Weiner LLP, a prestigious NYC- based accounting firm, for seven years.
After relocating to Boca Raton with his wife, Sara, and son Daniel, he now serves as the Vice President of Accounting for Frisbie Group, a family-owned real estate office. On a daily basis, Ira attempts to look beyond the numbers to see where he can provide valuable business insights from an operational standpoint. Most importantly, he remains cognizant of the fact that people are always watching and strives to make a kiddush Hashem in the workplace. Ira believes in achieving balance between work, family and spiritual spheres of life and schedules times on his calendar daily for davening, learning and family time in addition to his work commitments.
Ira, who has served as the Vice President of the Lander College for Men Alumni Board since 2018, cherishes his memories of Lander and maintains many of the close relationships forged with rebbeim and friends during this time. He is particularly thankful to his Touro professors for instilling the business and accounting fundamentals, which he still utilizes daily and to Rav Bamberger for both being a guiding light in his life, as well as referring him to his first job out of college.
Rabbi Lavi Greenspan
Community Leadership Award
Rabbi Lavi Greenspan is well known to everyone in the Lander College for Men community. After illness left him blind, he continued to achieve all his life goals—passing the bar exam, earning semicha and learning and teaching Torah daily.
Rabbi Greenspan attended Yeshivah of Flatbush, Yeshiva University and Fordham Law School. While he lost his vision during law school, he never lost his spirit or his will to continue studying, working, learning and reaching out to others.
Rabbi Greenspan continues to inspire young and old in the Jewish community through retelling how he overcame obstacles to reach his goals and by living his life as a model of simchas hachaim.
Over the years, Lavi has been a familiar face at the Lander College for Men Beis Medrash, where he learns Torah and inspires students and rebbeim alike.
Rabbi Dotan Arusy
Rabbi Dotan Arusy, 35, has been learning at Lander Col-lege Beis Medrash L’Talmud for 15 years—three years as a bochur and 12 in the Kollel. While maintaining his dedication to intense learning on his own, Rabbi Arusy also enjoys giving shiurim to help talmidim grow in their learning and serves as a sgan mashgiach, giving hadracha to the talmidim. He delivered a nightly skill-building Gemara shiur for nine years on various masechtos and prepared talmidim for the semicha tests through review and by guiding them through the process as a shoel u’meishiv.
In the semicha program, Rabbi Arusy especially appreciated studying original sources, seeing the underlying principles at play, and then tracking their development from information to implementation. He plans to continue in intense learning and build his ability to deliver shiurim.
Rabbi Arusy is grateful to all of the hanhala and rebbeim at Lander College Beis Medrash L’Talmud, who infused him with a love of learning, excellent skills and a strong foundation of knowledge. Rabbi Arusy is especially indebted to his beloved rebbe, Rav Yehuda Parnes who trained him in derech halimud and encouraged him to invest in himself through his commitment to long-term learning, which will allow him to eventu-ally “spill to others from a full cup rather than pour to others from half a cup.”
Rabbi Ari Moshe Blavin
Rabbi Ari Blavin, 33, learned at Wisconsin Torah Institute in Milwaukee before coming to Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud.
In learning for semicha, Rabbi Blavin truly enjoyed seeing the progression of each sugya from the Gemara to rishonim down through the ages into practical halacha. He is grateful to Rabbi Yehuda Parnes, who took him under his wing upon his arrival at the Yeshiva and who guided him in derech halimud, and to Rabbi Zvi Sokol whose shiurim and shimush were invaluable.
Rabbi Blavin is currently learning in the Lakewood Kollel in Detroit where he lives with his wife, Yehudis, and their four children.
Rabbi Yehoshua Drang
Rabbi Yehoshua Drang, 31, learned at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel and at Ner Yisroel in Baltimore, Maryland, before joining Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. Today, he lives in West Hempstead, New York, and works as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual. Rabbi Drang appreciates the practical aspects of semicha and enjoys learning information that affects his daily life.
He has a master’s in accounting and holds a CPA license, which he earned while in Kollel. “The semicha program helped me build my work ethic. I developed study habits and set high expectations for myself,” Rabbi Drang said.
Rabbi Drang is grateful to Rabbi Chaim Kirschenbaum, who showed him what it means to make Torah part of your life, to Rabbi Zvi Sokol for his clarity in presenting complex topics, and Rabbi Yonason Sacks for inspiring him throughout the program.
Rabbi Mendy Eisenberg
Rabbi Mendy Eisenberg, 27, is honored to receive semicha. He learned at Yeshivat Reishit in Israel before attending Lander College for Men.
Rabbi Eisenberg currently lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with his wife, Shira, and their three-year-old son. Since he was in middle school, Rabbi Eisenberg has dreamt of becoming a teacher and finds his job as a rebbe at Ramaz Middle School in Manhattan extremely rewarding. “It is gratifying to explain a complicated subject to young students and to see their faces light up when they understand it,” he said.
Rabbi Eisenberg would like to thank Rabbi Kirschenbaum, who showed him how to teach in a down-to-earth and accessible style and to Rabbi Shmuelewitz for his brilliance and deep understanding of human nature. He is also grateful to his fellow talmidim, who greatly contributed to his learning.
Rabbi Avraham Elberger
Rabbi Avromy Elberger, 31, teaches and is a shoel u’meishiv at his alma mater, Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion, where he learned for three years before attending Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud.
Rabbi Elberger received an MSW from Touro’s Graduate School of Social Work. He hopes to build on both his teaching experience and his social work training to enhance mental health awareness in yeshivas, from both a clinical and Torah perspective. “Lander cultivated within me an appreciation for teaching and an understanding of how to convey a down-to-earth but authentically frum worldview. I try to emulate that for my students,” he said.
Rabbi Elberger is grateful to all of the rebbeim at Lander. He feels a special level of hakaras hatov to Rav Yehuda Parnes for sharing his wit and wisdom both in and out of shiur—eight decades worth of insight and understanding in hashkafas hachaim, yiras shamayim and profound depth in learning. Rabbi Elberger currently lives in Mevaseret Tzion with his wife, Ahuva, and two children.
Rabbi Eliezer Feder
Rabbi Eliezer Feder spent his post-high school years in Israel at Yeshivat Shaalvim and has since spent nine years at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud, a place he considers his second home. Rabbi Feder graduated college with a degree in computer science and is in his sixth year in Kollel. He also completed a master’s degree in history with a concentration in Jewish education.
Rabbi Feder is currently a youth director at the Irving Place Minyan in Woodmere, where he lives with his wife, Ariela, and three children. He is also the head counselor and co-director of Camp Machane Chaim in Far Rockaway. Rabbi Feder’s goal is to be a rabbi and teacher. “It has always been a dream to teach Torah to others,” he said. Through the semicha program, he developed a passion for the applications, nuances and structure of Jewish law throughout the ages.
He is grateful to Rabbi Shmuel Marcus for his guidance and mentorship, Rabbi Zvi Sokol for his knowledge and clarity when discussing topics of Jewish Law and Rabbis Yonason Sacks and Yehuda Shmulewitz for their leadership of the yeshiva.
Rabbi Yitzchok Gross
Rabbi Yitzchak Gross, 30, is honored to receive semicha. Rabbi Gross learned at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh before attending Lander College for Men. He lives in the Bronx and is a trained social worker.
As the youngest member of his shul, Young Israel of Pelham Parkway Jewish Center, Rabbi Gross was inspired to study for semicha by members of his community. “It is refreshing to see everything inside the texts myself and not just hear it from others,” he said.
Rabbi Gross would like to especially thank Rabbi Chaim Kirschenbaum for making him feel comfortable and confident in the program, and Rabbi Yitzchok Genack for his effective teaching.
Rabbi Gil Israel
Rabbi Gil Israel of Cedarhurst, New York, learned on his own throughout his college years at CUNY’s Queens College, where he earned degrees in Jewish studies and political science. After graduation, Rabbi Israel decided to pursue more structured Torah study at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. While in the semicha program, he completed a master’s degree in Jewish education at Touro’s Graduate School of Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Israel is planning a career in Jewish education. The semicha training equipped him with the knowledge and skillset to educate children and adults in a wide range of Torah and halachic subjects. “I’d like to inspire students the way I have been inspired, and to further my own learning while helping others,” he said.
Rabbi Israel is grateful to all of his rebbeim at Lander, especially Rabbi Chaim Kirschenbaum, who guided him throughout the program and Rabbi Dotan Arusy, who helped him navigate the semicha curriculum and was a mentor throughout the program. He also is extremely appreciative to his parents, Shmuel Israel and Dganit, and his grandmother, Ruchama, who supported him throughout the endeavor.
Rabbi Shmuel Kahn
Rabbi Sammy (Shmuel) Kahn, 30, treasured the opportunity to continue learning at the Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. Originally from Chicago, Rabbi Kahn learned at Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel before moving to New York to study at Lander. There, he completed his bachelor’s degree in mathematics while learning for semicha.
Rabbi Kahn now lives in Beit Shemesh, Israel, with his wife Rikki and three children. He is a data analyst in the health industry and has found that his semicha training is useful in unexpected ways. “I use the skills I learned analyzing texts to analyze issues at work,” he said. More importantly, the semicha training gave him knowledge of Jewish law that guides everyday life. Rabbi Kahn is especially grateful to Rabbi Yonason Sacks for his tremendous knowledge and ability to communicate complex information.
Rabbi Asael Kent
Rabbi Asael Kent, 27, is honored to receive semicha. He has been learning under Rabbi Soloveitchik at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud since 2014. He also completed a rabbinic training program through the National Council of Young Israel. Rabbi Kent received his bachelor’s degree from Lander College for Men and a master’s degree in industrial psychology from Touro. He has spent the past several summers working in talent management at a Midtown consulting firm and giving shiurim.
The semicha program enabled Rabbi Kent to grow closer to Hashem. He also developed a deeper sense of purpose. “Learning is incredible; it is essentially guidance for life. It comes with the responsibility to be a role model and a teacher,” he said.
Rabbi Kent hopes to make the spreading of Torah a central part of his life. In addition to Rabbi Soloveitchik, he would like to thank Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz for his insight, Rabbi Moshe Bamberger for his commitment to developing the next generation and Rabbi Sacks for his dedication to the Yeshiva. Rabbi Kent lives with his wife, Shoshana, in Queens, New York.
Rabbi Yaakov Lyss
Rabbi Jack Lyss, 28, learned at Derech Ohr Somayach and Yishrei Lev in Israel before attending Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. He is currently a fourth-year student at SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, he now lives in Kew Gardens Hills with his wife, Shoshana, and three children.
“The knowledge and training gained through the semicha program enabled me to develop my skills in learning and also shaped the way I’m raising my family,” said Rabbi Lyss. He is grateful to all of the rebbeim for sharing their values and perspective with him.
Rabbi Mimon Mamane
Rabbi Mimon Mamane, 30, grew up in a close-knit Sephardic community in Montreal. After studying for two years at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh in Israel, he moved to Queens to study at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. Rabbi Mamane completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2010, then joined the semicha program. He also enrolled in Touro Graduate School of Social Work and is now a licensed clinical social worker.
Rabbi Mamane is both the rabbi of Congregation Magen David of Manhattan and an LCSW at a New York City hospital. Rabbi Mamane values the way in which his two careers support and enhance each other, making him more effective as both a rabbi and a social worker. “Through the semicha program, I was able to study and learn from brilliant rabbanim whose perspective on the halachic process really left an imprint,” he said. He is especially appreciative of Rabbi Chaim Kirschenbaum for sharing not only his knowledge, but also his wisdom.
Rabbi Ethan Razi
Rabbi Ethan Razi, 27, moved from his native Los Angeles to Queens to attend Lander College for Men. Before starting at Lander, he spent two years learning at Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion in Israel. At Lander, he majored in biology and decided to pursue a career in the sciences. He applied to dental school while in the semicha program at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud.
The semicha program was an opportunity for Rabbi Razi to keep learning even as he began to pursue professional goals in dentistry. He appreciated the opportunity to learn about practical aspects of halacha. He hopes to be able to share his knowledge by teaching and giving shiurim. The rigor and training of the semicha program also prepared him for dental school. “It opens your mind and teaches you how to think,” he said.
Rabbi Razi is grateful to all of the rebbeim at Lander, especially Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz who was his rebbe throughout his time at Lander and helped guide him to reach the milestone he has achieved today.
Rabbi Chanoch Schrier
Rabbi Chanoch Schrier has been part of the Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud family for 15 years. He is honored to receive semicha and will continue to run a morning halacha seder and second seder Gemara shiur for Lander students as well as numerous alumni programs in his role as the alumni rebbe.
Originally hailing from Oceanside, Rabbi Schrier now lives in Richmond Hill, Queens, with his wife, Aliza, and four children. He studied at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh for three years before attending Lander College. Lander “made me who I am. My whole growth as a ben Torah is from them,” he said. Rabbi Schrier is grateful to all of the rebbeim at Lander but would like to especially thank Rabbi Yehudah Parnes for inspiring his spiritual growth.
Rabbi Meir Sears
Rabbi Meir Sears, 28, spent nine years learning at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud and is honored to receive semicha there.
Rabbi Sears plans to continue learning and pursue a future as a rabbi. Originally from Twin Rivers, New Jersey, he and his wife, Naomi, now live in Skokie with their three children, where he is continuing his Torah study at the Hebrew Theological Seminary Kollel. Rabbi Sears is grateful to the Lander rebbeim and talmidim for their guidance, support and camaraderie.
Rabbi Nati Shore
Rabbi Nati Shore, 28, is honored to receive Semicha. Rabbi Shore learned at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh and Mir Yerushalayim before attending Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. While at Lander, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in Jewish education.
Being part of the semicha program had a profound impact on Rabbi Shore. “Having the opportunity to learn under such high caliber rebbeim was a tremendous zechus,” he said. Rabbi Shore is grateful to Rabbi Yonason Sacks, who was his rebbe for the six years he learned in Lander College Beis Medrash L’Talmud. Rabbi Shore cherishes the kesher that was forged and still speaks with Rabbi Sacks often and confers with him for hadracha.
Rabbi Shore gave the night seder bekius shiur at Lander for two years, which was an opportunity given to him by the rebbeim that he fondly remembers and one that he capitalized on to build his ability to transmit the excitement of learning to talmidim. He appreciates the trust placed in him by the Lander rebbeim and their affirmation that a career in chinuch was the right choice. A Toronto native, Rabbi Shore today lives in Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife and children, and is a rebbe at Yeshiva K’tana of Waterbury.
Rabbi Dovid Sperber
Rabbi Dovid Sperber of Randolph, New Jersey, attended Touro College Israel while learning at Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion and then graduated from Lander College for Men with a degree in psychology. While in the semicha program, he completed two master’s degrees, one in industrial psychology and one in Jewish studies with a concentration in education.
Rabbi Sperber plans to use the knowledge and training he gained in the semicha program to have a direct and positive impact on the Jewish communal world, even as he builds a career in industrial psychology. “I appreciated the opportunity to learn halacha in a deep and structured way. It will be valuable in my own life, in my community and in my profession,” he said.
Rabbi Sperber is grateful to Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik who taught him how to understand the complexities of both halacha and hashkafa, and to Rabbi Moshe Bamberger, who helped him develop a balanced approach to living a frum and meaningful life. He resides in Kew Gardens Hills with his wife, Rivka, a physician assistant.
Rabbi Yehudah Steinberg
Rabbi Yudi Steinberg, 28, is honored to receive semicha and plans to continue learning at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. Rabbi Steinberg studied at Ohr Yerushalayim before attending college at Lander College for Men, where he majored in computer science.
The semicha program gave Rabbi Steinberg a sense of mastery of Torah concepts and a new approach to learning. “I gained a picture of the way the entire system fits together,” he said. He would like to thank Rabbi Chaim Kirschenbaum for his patience and willingness to engage in discussion, Rabbi Dotan Arusy, who helped him master challenging material and Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz, who is his rebbe.
Rabbi Yishai Valter
Rabbi Yishai Valter, 29, studied at Ner Israel Toronto before attending Lander College for Men. He went on to get a graduate degree in biomedical engineering from City College of New York. Today, he lives in Highland Park, New Jersey, and works at Soterix Medical, a medical device company.
Receiving semicha is important to Rabbi Valter for its impact on his daily life. “I greatly value what I learned in the semicha program and I know this knowledge will help me teach and raise my own children,” he says. He also finds the ethical components of halacha learned during semicha helpful in the workplace.
Rabbi Valter is grateful to Rabbi Yonason Sacks for his broad knowledge and perspective and to Rabbi Zvi Sokol for his practical expertise and clarity. He and his wife, Shulamis, have two children, Racheli and Shoshana.
Rabbi Yosef Wilcox
Rabbi Yosef Wilcox, 33, is honored to receive semicha. Originally from West Bloomfield, Michigan, Rabbi Wilcox joined Lander College Beis Medresh L’Talmud as a student following three years of study in Israel. After receiving a B.A. in Accounting, he joined the Lander Kollel while simultaneously studying for and passing the CPA exam. Years later, he continues to learn and teach Torah as a member of the Kollel and night seder staff of Beis Medresh L’Talmud.
“Being a part of the Lander Kollel has given me the opportunity to discover and utilize my strengths, and it is with my deepest appreciation to all of those at Lander who helped give me the ability to do so,” he said. Rabbi Wilcox, who has a passion for learning and teaching Torah now lives in Woodmere, New York, where he has joined a growing community of b’nei Torah along with his wife, Gavi, and three children.
Rabbi Bentzion Yachzel
Rabbi Bentzion Yachzel, 36, is honored to receive semicha. He previously learned at Tiferet Yerushalayim and Bais Yisroel in Israel. For Rabbi Yachzel, the semicha program was the natural next step in his learning. He still davens at Lander every Shabbos and brings his children. “The relationships I cultivated with both friends and rabbeim has made me a better person, he says. Rabbi Yachzel feels tremendous gratitude to all of the rebbeim at Lander.
Rabbi Yachzel also earned a degree in accounting from Lander in 2010. Today, he works as an accountant at Brand Sonnenschine. Originally from Los Angeles, he now lives in Queens with his wife, Rivka, and four children.
Rabbi Shmuel Yudelzon
Rabbi Shmuel Yudelzon, 31, began his Jewish studies in his home country of Bulgaria before embarking on a path that led him to Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud. Rabbi Yudelzon studied in Israel at Ohr Avraham and Yeshivas Mir for six years, ultimately deciding that he wanted to attend college in a setting that allowed him to continue his Talmudic studies. He moved to New York, completed his bachelor’s in finance and a master’s in Jewish history, all while studying for semicha. He is currently a teaching assistant at Touro.
Rabbi Yudelzon is already using his experience to contribute to Jewish life in his community in Bulgaria. He teaches a weekly Torah class in Bulgarian on Zoom. In the future, he hopes to create Torah source materials in Bulgarian since the community lacks Jewish resources in their native language.
In the semicha program, Rabbi Yudelzon valued the personal attention and flexibility. He is especially grateful to Rabbi Yehuda Kirschenbaum, Rabbi Zvi Sokol and Rabbi Yitzchok Genack for their time, expertise and devotion; Rabbi Yonason Sacks for exemplifying the breadth and depth of knowledge that comes from years of study and devotion; and Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz for his constant encouragement and invaluable guidance.
Rabbi Shlomo Zelefsky
Rabbi Shlomo Zelefsky, 26, is honored to receive semicha. Rabbi Zelefsky previously learned at Yeshiva Sha’ar HaTorah in Queens and the Mirrer Yeshiva in Israel. He currently lives in Lawrence, New York, with his wife, Mindy, and their two children.
Rabbi Zelefsky graduated from Lander College for Men and will begin dental school in the fall. He hopes to use his semicha training to address halachic questions in both his home and community.
“Studying practical halacha and hearing shiurim from the rabbis at Lander gave me a greater understanding of how to make decisions that affect daily life. It motivates me to keep on learning and using my time to the fullest,” said Rabbi Zelefsky. He would like to thank all the rebbeim at Lander for their warmth and accessibility, insights and knowledge.
Harav Yonason Sacks
Twice a year, on Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, we emphasize the heroism of the asara ha’rugei malchus, the ten martyrs. We do so on Yom Kippur, based on the teaching of R’ Elazar, “Misasan shel tzadikim mechaperes,” “the death of the righteous provide atonement.” (Moed Kattan 28a) On Tisha B’Av, however, we echo the statement of R’ Akiva, “Shekula missasan shel tzadikim kisreifas bais Elokeinu,” “the death of the righteous is equivalent to the burning of the Bais Hamikdash. (Rosh Hashana 18b)
Among the asara harugei malchus is the illustrious tanna R’ Yehuda ben Bava, who sacriﬁced his life to insure that the chain of semicha, dating back to Moshe Rabbeinu, remained unbroken, (Sanhedrin 14a). The mesirus nefesh of R’ Yehuda ben Bava eloquently attests to the solemnity and distinction of the tradition of semicha.
To an extent, the same is true of contemporary semicha. Our musmachim have demonstrated the knowledge, integrity and commitment to have earned the title Rav B‘Yisroel. I am exceedingly proud of their admirable accomplishments. I thank Hakadosh Boruch Hu for the privilege of teaching and learning from such exceptional talmidim. B’ezras Hashem, they will emerge as impactful leaders, inﬂuencing Jewish communal life l’hagdil Torah u’lehaadirah.
Rabbi Yonason Sacks
Harav Yehuda Shmulewitz
Tonight, you will receive your semicha—a major accomplishment and the culmination of years of dedication and hard work. Earning the title of Rav or Rabbi is the easy part. It’s the commitment to spend years learning, reviewing and taking all of the oral and written bechinos that is the true accomplishment.
On a personal level, I wanted to express how much of a pleasure it has been for me to spend time with each and every one of you over these past few years, getting to know you and seeing you shteig in learning and grow as people. It is you who help make our Yeshiva the wonderful Makom Torah that it is.
I wish you all tremendous hatzlacha in the next stage of your lives. I encourage you to use the skills you developed in the semicha program in whatever career you choose or life decisions you make. Your ability to focus on a long-term goal and continuously improve your avodas Hashem will surely enhance your lives and the lives of your families.
Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz
Rabbi Dr Moshe Sokol
When Bnei Yisrael were about to leave Egypt, Hashem told them to borrow silver and gold vessels from their neighbors, which they later took with them during their escape from Egypt— partial payment for their long years of slavery. Bnei Yisrael left with choice silver and gold objects, beautiful and valuable, the best artifacts of Egyptian culture.
What did they do with those objects? Many gave them to Betzalel for the construction of the Mishkan. They consecrated Egyptian beauty for higher purposes, for the service of Hashem. However, some gave it for the fashioning of the Golden Calf. Instead of consecrating the best of Egyptian culture, they debased it even further, using it for unholy purposes.
At Lander College for Men/Beis Medrash L’Talmud, we give our students valuable vessels with which to build their lives and families, wisdom and knowledge, skills and information. And we do our very best to inspire each student to use those vessels for higher purposes—to build his own personal Mishkan, at whose heart is the Torah learned in our Beis Medrash, under the direction of our distinguished Rosh HaYeshiva, our Menahel, and our rebbeim.
Rabbi Moshe Bamberger, our Mashgiach Ruchani, plays a pivotal role in this process. His inspiring talks and meaningful teaching, the deep relationships he forms, shape and guide our students long after they graduate. Rabbi Lavi Greenspan, too, is a living model of that life of Torah, who inspires all with whom he comes into contact.
The Goldmeier family epitomizes the consecration of wisdom for the greater good, the lives the family leads model what we seek to teach.
And that is ever so true of our alumni honorees, Rabbi Jordan and Shoshana Kaplan, and Ira and Sara Suss. Both are successful professionals and communal leaders, for whom Torah serves as the Mishkan of their lives.
Finally, our musmachim. They have worked so very hard to achieve their goals, days and nights spent in the Beis Medrash mastering very difficult material. Some are engaged in chinuch or rabbanus, several distinguishing themselves as key members of our own rabbinical staff. Others will pursue careers in the professions. But all of them will build a Mishkan with the Torah they acquired in our Beis Medrash.
May Hashem grant all our honorees and musmachim the blessings they so richly deserve.
Rabbi Dr. Moshe Sokol