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The YU Year in Review

Disclaimer: The authenticity of the identity of the author has been confirmed by The Commentator editorial staff; the views expressed do not reflect those of any Commentator writer or staff member. Also, this is a joke. Seriously.

This academic year was a year of promises. The Republicans promised to bring sanity back to the White House while the Democrats promised a fixed economy, even though it didn’t need fixing because it was “getting to 95 percent” and was “totally on track”. Closer to home, registration finally unveiled “Degree Track,” the snazziest technology update since Internet in Furst, which, to be fair, was never promised to anyone.

President Joel promised to investigate YU abuses, while The Forward swore to sift through Gottesman’s basement archives for an off-color comment possibly made by the Rav when the recorder was turned off on a Sunday shiur back in 1964. Also, Rabbi Reiss vowed to turn on or turn off the pornography filter—I can no longer remember which one.

While President Obama promised investigations into the Libyan bombing, President Joel promised to build a mikvah on campus, Rabbi Brander promised Gilad Shalit, College Edge promised to get kids into college, and The Commentator promised to make news at the first State of the University address.

Some pledges were kept: drop dates were moved, the poli-sci journal was published, scaffolding was taken down, and Jewish studies finally crawled out of the cave and introduced (insignificant) changes to its requirements. Some promises were abandoned: student elected officials reneged on their promises, AIPAC vowed to chuck Chuck Hagel, solemn officials promised gun reform, and the CJF vowed—but was unable to deliver—world peace and unity (maybe next year).

This year everyone promised change and, well, maybe some things did change. The curriculum changed, the Knesset changed, and, after the latest Cardozo event, so did President Joel’s hair color.

Other changes were less conspicuous. Backdoor leadership changes accompanied by fluffy front door press releases kept hitting our mailboxes faster than IT could shut them down for temporary outages. The women got a Yom Ha’atzmaut Chagigah, RIETS got a chassid, and The Associate became the Sy Syms Bissness Review (sic).

So many promises, so much change. Did anything good result?

To answer that question we’ll need to take a thoughtful look back on this past academic year. So pull up a chair, and get ready for YU’s first year in review.

Speaking of chairs, in…


…before the tushies of YU students hit their seats in September, Clint Eastwood was

already speaking to empty chairs at Tampa’s Republican National Convention. The previous evening, YU’s own Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik conferred a hurried yet “apolitical” blessing on the Republican hopefuls, who hoped to change their image from a party of rich WASPs to the party of rich, white Jews. After concluding, Soloveichik rushed back to his hotel room to catch the latest Simpsons episode, which, he insisted, was created “by You, our Creator; not by mortal man”.

Soloveichik wasn’t the only one watching lots of Television in September. Three weeks of class before a three-week break meant few assignments and thus plenty of time to catch up on all the shows missed while, er, on break.

President Joel gave the first “State of the University Address” at which he unveiled the iPhone 5, noting that it is “wifi ennobled and Bluetooth enabled.” He also praised the amazing strides taken in this new shalem device: noise-censoring functions, rounder corners, flashier screens and more touchy-feely modes to fit all manner of interested donor.

A week later, the Democrats filed into Charlotte to celebrate President Obama’s vast accomplishment over his last four years, noting that he had killed, eradicated, eliminated, removed, and otherwise disposed of Osama bin Laden. Also they killed Osama bin Laden, did we mention that? The failures of his administration were of course inherited from George Bush, caused by Republicans, or both.

Back on campus, RIETS swiftly ordered photographers into the beis to record students before they scattered after break, never to show up again.

Across 185th, the new curriculum broke ground with new departments in “Contemporary World Choreographers” and “Distance Over Time”; with course offerings in “Homeopathy,” “Creating the Steak” and “Idea of Smelf: Old Spice and New Worlds.” The liberal-arts course-offerings were immediately criticized in The Commentator for not teaching essential vocational skills such as house painting, carpentry, and auto mechanics.

Speaking of vocational colleges, in…


….Centre College hosts the first and only VP debate.  Deep in heartland Kentucky, Vice President “Malarkey” squared off with P90X spokesperson Paul Ryan on “47 percent” of hot button issues. They are fortunately interrupted by a Russian Punk band before the hardworking Janesville native could succumb to the VP’s infectious smirk. The band was later released after newscasters around the globe pleaded with the authorities to never have to say their name on air again.

Other televised videos hit campus that October. YU News, later named Scheiner News, makes a splash by reading off studs you just deleted while displaying grainy pictures of campus buildings. Scheiner News competes with YU Reads, a video series of YU students reading off the list of course offerings and cracking corny jokes.

After much hype, Gilad Shalit was honored to present Rabbi Kenneth Brander to talk with the student body about his vast array accomplishments across the Jewish world. Shalit later apologized for Rabbi Brander’s shyness and thanked the student body for their “amazing show of support and appreciation towards Rabbi Brander and all his important undertakings,” despite not winning this year’s Nobel Prize, which went to the European Union.

While Rabbi Brander relished in the limelight, three YU employees—or MTA freshman (we aren’t sure which one)—wrote a scathing critique of President Joel’s “ridonculous” salary, the caf’s unbalanced diet, incest, the tuition crisis, and, worst of all, shiur assistants. After drawing attention to the most pressing problems facing the university since its inception in 1928, President Joel responds by not responding to “that malarkey.” The Commentator responds by writing its first nice article since 1997.

However, the largest event of that month—indeed the entire semester—was certainly Sandy.

As she barreled down the East Coast, IT (predictably) shut down servers, but not quick enough to stop Dean Eichler from sending out his now infamous stud “IT’S A GREAT TIME TO CATCH UP ON ALL OF YOUR OUTSTANDING READINGS AND WORK – AS WELL AS YOUR SLEEP [smiley face]!  TRY TO USE THE FREE TIME WISELY!! (sic).” A day later, the women of Stern College arrived uptown just as Roshei Yeshiva began collecting two of every animal.

Fortunately, the only damage to campus was blowouts in Belfer and Furst Halls caused by a volatile mix of rain, high winds, and gays. IT soon restored the internet but forgot to plug in a cable marked “Rubin,” causing anxious FTOCs to call FEMA. FEMA responded months later by setting up temporary routers and chastising students for “going on certain websites I don’t even want to know about…”

President Joel interrupted FEMA at the town hall meeting, where he promised to set up a committee to investigate halachik problems in the BMP beis after a student realizes that the CJF worked above the ark and, “everyone knows all they do is help goyim.”

Another student asked about a new task force called Jewish Observation of Key Elements (JOKE), organized to investigate whether Torah U’Madda could be integrated within the college without causing widespread depression, insomnia, social anxiety disorders, loss of libido, or other common side effects within the student body. “The task force will convene at least twice a century,” President Joel assured the concerned student.

Speaking of assurances, in…


…President Barack Obama, now back in office despite retired Jews in Florida, promised concerned citizens that the U.S. would not drive off the fiscal cliff. Obama later admitted he has “no idea” what a fiscal cliff was, why it was dangerous, and what he could do about it. Aids in the White House say Obama was relying on the Mayan calendar to end the world before Congress did. To prove there are institutions worse than Congress, the NHL announced the lockout would continue.

Thankfully, Gangnam Style hit YouTube, distracting the world through “sexy ladies,” imaginary rodeos, and catchy Korean dance moves. Obama fled to Burma—an obviously important ally, Congress disbanded for some holiday, and everyone forgot about the looming storm.

The Observer published its first “mini-skirt observer” which “looks pretty good and feels pretty good” according to a student. Meanwhile, Kol Hamevaser wrote an article with 1,200 footnotes, and TEIQU invited a slightly-to-the-left YU Musmakh.

Speaking of leftists, the United Nations approves Palestine as a non-member state meaning, well, absolutely nothing. The YU student body responded by convening a rally at Times Square, confusing Scandinavian tourists. Palestinians responded by showering Israel with rockets. “We really thought they were fireworks,” said a spokesperson for the al-Qassam Jihadist Brigades. “We are totally sorry about the confusion.” As an apology, the Jihadists sent over more rockets.

On the other side of the Middle East, Iran launched what looked to the intelligence community like an intercontinental ballistic missile but was actually “for peaceful, civilian purposes.” Not to be outdone, North Korea soon launched its own rocket for “agrarian purposes.”

Back on campus, YC junior Michael Strassenberger joined the Yiddish Club for his 347th slice of Pizza since September. “Eich Liben Pizza,” he said after the event.

Meanwhile, General David Betray-us falls in love with his biographer. Hoping to start a new chapter in his life, the disgraced CIA director is hired as the head of a Florida Jewish high school. Another journalistic scandal hits home in…


…when President Joel promised the student body that he would investigate The Forward for covering up “journalistic abuses” leading up to an article that showed him to be making more than any other Jewish leader in the world. Students were reassured that, although the investigation would be lead by a YU-hired team, the results would “speak for themselves.”

Across the Atlantic, another president wished he could silence the opposition. Mohammed Morsi granted himself unlimited powers to “protect” his people from the unjust justice system, the undemocratic legislative system and the unfair press.

Speaking of the press, The Commentator covered student elections, which prompted outrage from students who hoped the newspaper would “just write heavy metal band reviews.”

In a slight misunderstanding, YUConnects hosted its twice-annual “Night for Men” prompting outrage from Roshei Yeshiva who called the event “the next tolerance club” and promised a lockout.

Later that month, the annual Chanukah concert featuring America’s Got Talent star Edon filled Lamport Auditorium. That evening, sixteen SCW students were arrested for soliciting a minor. They now work in a Florida Jewish day school.

As the 5,125-year cycle of the YU Events Calendar came to a close, YU administrators prepare for the impending global catastrophe by sending CJF volunteers to Mayan villages to build libraries and fishponds. While there, students learned that, just like YU’s Events Calendar, the Mayan Calendar was deeply flawed.

As New Yorkers gather in Times Square to say farewell to 2012, a crowd of 200 YU students made a big circle, whip out guitars, and broke into a slow shirah, further confusing Scandinavian tourists. However, YU’s finals only ended a week into…


…when half the student body showed up on Ben Yehuda and the other half traveled to Uzbeki-beki-stan-stan with the CJF.

After binging on “Downton Abbey,” “The Walking Dead” and reruns of “Arrested Development,” students returned to YU ready to take on 9 straight weeks of classes—or not—since the lockout ended and NHL resumed. Women at Stern were unfortunately unable to watch anything, as the English department banned electricity in favor of quill pens and papyrus.

Meanwhile, the weather—more erratic than wifi in Rubin—measured 62 in New York, 25 in Phoenix, and hotter-than-the-face-of-the-sun in Australia, obviously demonstrating Global Warming to be a liberal hoax.

Speaking of liberals, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party jumped in the polls and landed 19 seats in the Knesset, one of which went to future YU honorary doctorate recipient and ESPN addict Dov Lipman—proving that years spent as a counselor at Jewish sleep-away camps might actually get you somewhere in life. Not wanting to appear irrelevant, hawkish Jews campaigned to defame and discredit Chuck Hagel, ironically proving Hagel right when he said that the Israel lobby wielded a bit too much power.

On MLK day, President Obama is inaugurated—without error—for a second term. The festivities included lip-syncing by Beyoncé, smiling by Joe Biden, and a shoutout to Morgan Freeman. President Obama was the first president to say the word “gay” in his inauguration speech, which triggered a hailstorm over Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Speaking of storms, The Beacon failed to infuriate the student body for over six months. One student asked the editor how he “could begin to explain this.” The editor’s response: “just get over it already.” In relevant newspaper news, The Observer published an article about a skirt-wearing feminist, who, we are told, “looks good and feels good” despite being wildly estranged from Torah.

In an effort to bring students back to Torah, RIETS hired a few Chabbad chassidim who began a night seder on the famous seforim “Find Love!” “Be Happy!”  and “Marriage Now!” before Dean Berger threatened to resign. In response, a RIETS official said “you can’t go wrong by moving Right.”

Speaking of Seforim, in…


…the annual Seforim sale attracted a swarm of students looking to be happy, find love and get married now. Despite calls from The Observer to ban The Magic Touch, the Seforim sale went on without a hitch.

Other schemes encountered problems. The CJF planed a covert operation to black out the New Orleans Superdome during the Superbowl in time for Beyonce’s Halftime show, hoping for more views of its “inspiring presentations” of “Torah and sports” with Charlie Harrari and Rabbi Brander. Unfortunately, miscommunication about timing spun the plan out of control.

Speaking of out of control, curmudgeony newspapermen sporting monocles and shouting at students to “get off my lawn” interrupted the proceedings of YU’s annual Model UN (YUNMUN). In response, high school students were forced to record the inappropriate behavior in YUNMUN’s daily newspaper The Gazebo. In solidarity with the high school students, UN’s Secretary Ban Ki-moon sent a strongly worded letter to the editors of The Commentator urging them to “think of the children.”

In other United Nations news, North Korean’s “South Park” lookalike Kim Jong-un and Iranian human rights activist Muhammad Ahmadinejad stop their nuclear weapons program after reading a strongly worded letter sent by members of the Security Council.

Back on campus, RIETS Dean Benedict XVI announced his resignation to a crowd of devoted followers on the 185th street plaza. He cited the ailing health of internet filters as his reason for stepping down to pursue scholarship.  Meanwhile, another RIETS Dean unfortunately forgot about filters.

YC junior Michael Strassenberger joins the Toastmaster’s Club for his 733rd slice of Pizza since September. “Pizza is delicious, nutritious—and I am cheap,” he remarked in an eloquent speech during the event.

In Washington, major Republican lawmakers and officials backed a legal brief supporting same-sex marriage, causing a massive snowstorm that inundated New York City with nine inches of snow. Other lawmakers came to YU in…


...when Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, former President of Bolivia, visited the Latin American Business Club. Despite questionable human rights practices, his pro-Israel stance got him past the censorship committee, which does or doesn’t still exist, depending on the event.

In Israel, Kotel officials arrested a prepubescent boy for “praying loudly and sounding like a girl.” A day later, Kotel police throw out President Obama for wearing his paper Kippa slightly off-center. Unable to mend ties between the Ultra-Orthodox and the rest of world Jewry, Obama instead reconciled Israel and Turkey after a romantic night out on the Mediterranean turned ugly two years ago.

After a $75 billion search, scientists in Geneva’s CERN laboratory finally found Waldo. In celebration, the entire European Union was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.

Leading up to the Sarachek Basketball Tournament, RIETS unveiled RosenSwag, a new line of casual wear “for the homo religiosis.” Button down shirts with tag lines for men read “I’m a gavra” while the women’s line of baseball seminary shirts read “Seriously, I’m not a cheftza.” Not to be outdone, the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot puts out its own line of T-shirt reading “Friends Don’t Let Friends Wear T-Shirts About Prenups.”

Days later, staff of The Commentator was told that high school students, dressed in “colorful shirts,” “cheering loudly,” and “having fun,” were inundating YU’s uptown gym for the Sarachek tournament. An investigation and subsequent article caused one student to demand the article’s rescission at a town hall meeting. In defending The Commentator, President Joel noted how much he enjoyed the newspaper’s heavy metal band reviews.

In other YU news, Psy’s Gangnam shiur reached 1 billion views on YU Torah, College Edge took pictures with underprivileged students, RIETS elected its 8th pontiff (Dean Innocent the VI), YCDS built a boat, and YU sold Brookdale residence hall to fund additional rebbeim for IBC. Downtown, a high-up CJF official banned employees from hearing about the Rav’s views on women’s Torah leadership, noting that his “dangerous views” might “inspire women to take a more active role in Orthodox life—chas veshalom.”

Speaking of active Orthodox Jews, in…


…YUPAC made its annual trip to Washington, which, surprisingly, actually resulted in Hamas undercover militant Chuck Hagel travelling to Israel three weeks later handing out cash to everyone he met. After giving his last $100 of his original $10 Billion, to a Chabbad Kollel, Hagel returned to the U.S. to shnorr at the White House for said Kollel.

Speaking of Israel, students at this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations were disappointed that this year’s ceremony did not feature a real-time translation of the evening’s Hebrew speech. A student said, “I felt so lost this year without the really helpful translations. Last year I totally understood the whole speech.”

Undeterred, students enjoyed the rest of the day’s festivities, which included windsurfing in Tenzer gardens, putt-putt on Segways, and a couple’s photo booth sponsored by YUConnects.

In an email sent at the end of the day, President Joel thanked the organizers for the “outstanding success of this year’s celebrations” and also apologized for “all those awkward moments where you were forced to say hello to people that dumped you.” The President promised “greater gender separation next year to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.”

Meanwhile, Kol Hamevaser published an outrageously popular article “Shut Down the YC Art Department.” Unbeknownst to the author, however, the department had been shut down years before due to budget problems.

Speaking of budget problems, YU facilities finally harvested the marijuana planted on the 185th plaza following orders from the President to “fill budget gaps any way possible.” The marijuana is later used to help fuel YU’s literary journal.

Sy Syms hosted its annual dinner, giving out awards to every student in attendance in an effort to boost its students’ resumes. In a similar effort to boost student employability, the Career Center ran a program on “how to shake hands.”

Speaking of resumes, the student election cycle began, with Student Life canvassing campus in search of students to run for many open spots. After being promised pizza at meetings, YC junior Michael Strassenberger is convinced to run for YSU President. Elections are held in…


…when a field of new candidates cropped up after elections are postponed. The YC Supreme Court is outraged, the Chief Justice telling The Commentator, “wait we had a Supreme Court?” In other newspaper news, a Commentator investigation ousted Herschel Keter (YU ‘48) for squatting in Muss Hall for twenty years.

After a successful first season, MTV launched the second season of “Da Heights.” The reality show profiles the lives of five Roshei Yeshiva as they navigate “the bass and the beis” of “the last real neighborhood of Manhattan.” MYP students continue to follow the show religiously and appreciate that it “airs at 10 pm, right after night seder.” “Da Heights” vied with Rabbi Carmy’s “Philosopher Cop” for Nielson ratings in the highly competitive “18-24 year old Yeshiva students” category.

As courses wound down, the senior class headed out to its annual black-tie dinner-on-a-boat, this year featuring glow-in-the-dark dodge-ball. “In retrospect, it was a bad combination,” said the senior class president, in reaction to the loss of 23 glow sticks, 11 dodge-balls, and 3 undergraduates to the Hudson River. President Joel promised an investigation.

Meanwhile, Stern College student government hopefuls produced grainy YouTube videos of themselves hugging security guards, dancing down Lexington, and promising to “totally improve everything.” For the first time, YC students beg IT to shut down the internet.

In other news, YC hired dictator Kim Jong-un to proctor final exams and former President Jimmy Carter was invited to graduation to receive the coveted “scandal of the year” award. Students vowed to protest.

As the year concluded, we return to our original inquiry. This year was full of promises and full of change. Did anything good result? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Let’s just hope that next year promises fewer embarrassments, scarcer scandals, richer donors, stronger filters, happier students, and, of course, more free pizza.

Just a reminder, this was a joke.