By: Commentator Staff  | 

Presidential Profiles: Student Organization of Yeshiva

Tuvya Aharon Miller

My name is Tuvy Miller and I am a third year student in YC majoring in English and Jewish Studies. Hailing from Baltimore, I attended Yeshivat Rambam for high school and then spent two years learning in Yeshivat Har Etzion. I currently attend R. Michael Rosensweig's shiur in MYP and am also enrolled in the Revel BA/MA program. While in YU, I have served as the Madrich for Gush FTOC’s and currently serve as the MYP VP of SOY.  In the little spare time that I have, I enjoy going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, reading the Atlantic and hanging out with my friends. I am passionate about Torah and the Jewish people and hope to direct that towards a career of Jewish communal work as a teacher or shul rabbi.

For the past year, I have served as the MYP Vice-President of SOY and I have worked very closely with the council leadership to run many successful programs. This experience has taught me about the hard work, ingenuity and commitment that are crucial to a successful SOY.

I am running for President because I feel a responsibility toward my YU community. A beautiful and varied entity, it requires leadership that understands the different parts and what they need. To the greatest degree possible, every student who walks onto this campus should feel that they have a place and that their religious needs, whatever they may be, are served. Combining my experience and vision, I hope to work together with the members of my council and the other councils to lead my YU community during the coming year. Throughout my time in YU, I have developed close relationships with students from across the spectrum whose ideas and needs will inform the decisions that I make as President. In my capacity on SOY this past year, I formed relationships with administrators in the Yeshiva and the College with whom I would work toward achieving the goal of a more inclusive, welcoming community.

Religious life on campus is a highly individualized experience. The true responsibility of SOY is to ensure that this is preserved while at the same time working to break down barriers that exist among different groups. That means always working to improve the course offerings in IBC in conjunction with a continuation of the shiur kelali (public Torah lectures) offered in the Glueck Beit Midrash. That means meeting with leadership of the YU Sephardic community to help meet their needs while at the same time planning the next farbrengen with R. Moshe Weinberger. Understanding that balance, respect and creativity will ultimately win the day, I want to work in the service of my fellow students to carry out this responsibility.


Avi Hirt

My name is Avi Hirt. I am an upper junior majoring in Accounting and minoring in Finance.  I have declared to run for SOY President because I have an interest in forming a bridge between the student body and RIETS office in giving students an enjoyable and inspirational experience during their short time at Yeshiva.

We are currently in the time period of Sefirat Haomer during which we count the 49 days from Pesach to Shavout. One does not fulfill his obligation by counting just days; rather, one must count weeks as well. Counting the days acknowledges the importance of every detail, while counting the weeks recognizes the importance of counting the sum of its parts - the complete picture.

The same relationship between the details and the picture applies to my goals as SOY president. I will be focused both on every individual at Yeshiva, as well as the university’s entire population. Within Yeshiva University, students express a variety of diverse expectations from their Yeshiva. I think everyone can agree that some of the most inspirational moments of this year were when the entire Yeshiva came together, whether it was to say Tehilim for Max Profeta, Tehillim for the state of Israel, or mourning the passing of Rav Aaron Lichtenstein. During each of these moments, a palpable feeling of inspiration was felt. It is unfortunate that these moments had to come at a time of crisis, and as president, I will try to make these unifying moments happen on a more consistent basis.

Some of my more specific goals include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Having the “In-Shabbatot” be based on a theme to enable students to have something to walk away with after Shabbos. (e.g. R. Goldvicht, R. Moshe Tzvi Weinberg, and R. Yosef Bronstein talking about the importance of living in Israel).
  2. Motzei Shabbos learning program with Melava Malka (and perhaps a cash incentive)
  3. Special Vaad for pre-med students (and anyone else) to discuss many of the medical and Halakhic issues involved

These are a just a few of the many goals that I plan to make a reality, if elected. These are goals that focus on every individual and the Yeshiva as a whole!


Nissan Holzer

I grew up in Kew Garden Hills, NY, davening in Rabbi Schonfeld’s shul. For elementary school, I attended YCQ in Queens, for high school Rambam Mesivta in the Five Towns, and for yeshiva, Rav Chaim Ilson’s yeshiva.

I’m currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biology. My career plans have me heading to medical school in two years.

In terms of presidential experience, I founded the YU Cancer Society on campus which brings awareness, advocacy, research and prayer into one place. I have built a society with different sections so everyone can help fight cancer in their own way, whether it be the learn-for-choleh or daven-for-choleh initiatives, or awareness lectures (such as BRCA gene panel).

Some of the many initiatives I have in mind include

  • Lunch n’ Learn series: Every other week, a shiur will be given during lunch (sometimes brown-bag, sometimes sponsored)
  • Rosh Chodesh In-Shacharis: every Rosh Chodesh, unite the morning programs for a special davening (and breakfast)
  • Thursday Mishmar: Learn an extra hour after maariv and enjoy hot kugel and cholent to get into Shabbos mode
  • Mussar Months: Each month will highlight a different middah, (character trait) to work on. The mussar schmooze will be on that inyan and mekoros for personal study will be distributed
  • Bayit Cham: Students will be paired with kollel members for homemade dessert and a shtickel torah
  • Shiur Klali: Comprehensive shiur, given by the various Roshei Yeshiva, will take place in lieu of shiur for that day
  • Kumsitz: For some, there’s nothing more inspiring than music. Throughout the year there will be opportunities for guys to join together in unison and sing soulfully

In addition, I have ideas for each month

  • For Elul (Month of Teshuva): special mussar schmooze as well as Pre-Selichos In-Shabbos. Selichos Kumsitz. Elul Torah-thon
  • For Tishrei (Month of Dveikus): Nothing more inspiring than to start the year in Yeshiva for Rosh Hashana, Aseres Yemei Teshuva, and Yom Kippur (you’ll go home for Sukkos). Special 3 sedarim for Aseres Yemei Teshuva (no classes)
  • For Cheshvan (Month of Zerizus/Time Management): Another In-Shabbos. First Shiur Klali.
  • For Chanukah: Public candlelighting with donuts. Chagiga with music, dancing, and food. Concert
  • For reading week and finals: Power Hour (learn a little Torah amidst your studying)
  • In-Shabatot – Every shabbat is in, but some shabbatot we encourage the student body even more
  • For Adar (Month of Simcha): Purim chagiga with food and shpiel. Comedian
  • For Nissan (Month of Emunah): Special Pesach Shiurim
  • For Iyar (Month of Torah): Annual Yom HaAtzmaut programming (with special afternoon seder learning Toras Eretz Yisrael), Special Lunch n’ Learn regarding 49 Ways to Acquire Torah (helps in all matters of life)


Additionally, I bring to the table fundraising capabilities to get sponsors to help subsidize the cost of shabbos meals and other events that we will hold under my leadership. I've already reached out to some of my contacts and they've committed to some funds if I become president. (This is probably one of the major issues of the election: with the budget cuts, how will they compensate?) I choose better programming with fundraising.

Finally, I propose SOY President office hours in which student voices can be heard. Complaints are welcomed, ways to improve campus and religious life encouraged. Not only will there be a formal opportunity, but I will make it my business to solicit feedback from students.


Darren May

I am an upper Junior in MYP from Calabasas, California, and when I’m not trying to make YU a better place or studying Torah you can find me playing my trumpet, working out, or rock climbing. I also used to be a competitive swimmer and tennis player. Most of all, I’m a committed YU student, and someone who hopes that he positively portrays the idea of being a Jew in the modern world.

I’m committed to making Jewish life on campus warmer and more cohesive. This will be done by breaking down the divides between the different morning programs and bringing people from different shiurim closer to one another.

I have quite a unique background in comparison to some of the other candidates. I went to public school through 12th grade, while attending an after-school yeshiva in the evenings. I then attended a right-wing yeshiva in Israel, and now find myself at YU. Because of my experiences spent in all the different factions of the Jewish world, I have the ability to put myself in the shoes of other students and communicate with a much larger amount of the YU student body than some other candidates. One of my great strengths is that I am a great communicator and I possess copious amounts of tenacity. These types of strengths that I possess would allow me to be an excellent SOY president.

There are a couple important things I want to do, if elected. First, I want to make sure that MYP students can get some type of degree (for example a BTL) for the hard work that they put in day in and day out. Second, I want to have more events with the entire YU student body, but specifically events that will enhance their Judaism and break down the barriers between people of different backgrounds and morning programs. Third, I want to have inter-shiur events where students from different parts of MYP and BMP can meet other students in MYP and BMP that they may not know. This is important, because in order to make YU a warmer and more conducive place for spiritual growth, there has to be more cohesiveness amongst the MYP and BMP shiurim. Lastly, I want to create events that tackle tough hashkafic issues such as evolution and Judaism, Torah and science, and other difficult topics. These events would feature people amongst the YU rabbis who have differing views. Hopefully, this will create a forum for YU students to interact, while informing them on different acceptable hashkafic opinions in Jewish philosophy. This will be a forum to bring YU students together, making YU a more cohesive and warm place to go to school.

THIS MAY, VOTE MAY. Together we're going to make YU an even more incredible place to be.