YESHIVA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman speaks with students on campus in New York.
(photo credit: YESHIVA UNIVERSITY)
A group of 20 undergraduate students from Yeshiva University is currently in Israel to visit successful hi-tech companies and get a feeling for the start-up culture.
The students will meet with YU alumni who have become leaders in the hi-tech sector and start-up scene, and it is hoped that some of these meetings will translate into summer internships for students.
The group will meet with around 15 tech companies and labs, including senior executives from companies such as Innovation Africa, Wix, and Freightos.
The visit is part of Yeshiva University president Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman’s efforts to emphasize and strengthen the institution’s educational programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The broader goal is to advance developments in the fields of medicine, finance and artificial intelligence (AI) as part of a vision to harness the talents of Jews in the Diaspora and Israel into improving society in the Jewish state and around the world.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post ahead of the trip, Berman said that cooperation between Israel and the Diaspora can help foster progress in these disciplines and that YU has been strengthening its relationship with Israeli institutions to advance this goal.
YU has recently formulated agreements with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, whereby Yeshiva University and Stern College students pursuing graduate studies in computer science or biology are eligible to apply during their senior year to pathway programs for master’s degrees in computer science at Hebrew University and Bar-Ilan, a master’s degree in electrical engineering at Bar-Ilan or a master’s degree in biology at Technion.
In addition, philanthropic money has been made available to provide two top YU students with a $10,000 annual grant for two years to study in whichever of those universities they choose.
And YU’s Innovation Lab, a start-up incubator on its campus due to open this spring, has partnered with Hebrew University’s tech transfer company, Yissum, to help bring Israeli companies into the New York start-up ecosystem by forming working partnerships with YU student interns and faculty.
“Israel is a blessing for the Jewish people and the world and creating change that benefits all of society, that is an ethos that energizes our whole history and what the Jewish people is about,” Berman told the Post.
“We’re here to better the world and increase Jewish flourishing, and Israel does this. YU recognizes this and wants to be part of it.”
Berman referenced the tensions that have arisen between Israel and parts of the Jewish Diaspora in recent years – principally over issues of religious pluralism and the Jewish character of the state – but said that these arguments should not hinder the benefits that cooperation between the two sides can bring.
Although Berman said he did not want to address the specifics of those issues, he said that the relationship between the two sides had become too focused on the divisions.
“We know there are problems and challenges, and they do need to be addressed. But when the arguments become the primary focus, it’s a problem and obscures the fact that having such a vibrant and vital Jewish state is a great blessing.”