By: Commentator Staff  | 

Presidential Profiles: Yeshiva Student Union

Noam Safier

You know how everybody's mother always told them they could be president if they wanted to be? Well, I'm that guy who actually believed it. Born and bred in Teaneck, YU always seemed like an obvious choice. My mom went to Stern in the '70's so I guess you could say I'm sort of a legacy.  In high school, my summers were spent as a camp counselor and during the year I could be found volunteering on a congressional campaign or involved in various tzedakah or community projects. After four years in TABC and a subsequent year and a half in Torat Shraga, I continued along my journey until I became an uncertain, yet curious FTOC (First Time on Campus for all those unfamiliar with the lingo).

Today, I'm a psychology major (and possible business minor) and avid event goer here at YU. For the past few weeks, aside from campaigning for my own election, I could be found sitting in Rubin Hall, trying to collect votes for the Vote Torah party in the World Zionist Congress Elections. I'm into snowboarding, YouTube binging (but seriously, who isn't?), Israel advocacy, and am a big fan of anything Will Ferrell.

Believe it or not, I’m that kid who actually likes y-studs (hope I didn’t just kill my campaign there). It’s my third semester on campus and I can’t remember ever deleting a “stud” without at least reading the subject line first. The wide array of events taking place on campus is fantastic and it would be a shame to miss out on anything I may find interesting.

I’ve been involved in many activities on campus ranging from TAMID to the Straus Fellowship on Faith and Reason (see my “studious” picture in YU Today), but my greatest involvement has been in the Yeshiva University Political Awareness Club (YUPAC).

As president, I plan on working with YUPAC in order to raise Israel awareness on campus and offer help to pro-Israel groups in Columbia and NYU. Additionally, I would like to run a TED conference here at YU because we have a plethora of students and staff with a wide variety of rich ideas and lessons to teach the world. Tzedaka projects, administrative transparency, and more is on tap should I be elected.

So why should you vote for me? I’m driven, passionate, easy going and have had a variety of leadership and organizational experiences that would allow me to perform this job in the best and most responsible way possible. Vote Noam Safier for YSU president. Anyone else just won’t cut it.


Daniel Lazarev

I was born in Holon, Israel (in Wolfson Hospital, in case you were wondering) on March 30, 1994 to two loving immigrant parents from the Former Soviet Union; more specifically, Kokand, Uzbekistan. I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Holon, attending Eshkol Elementary School and spending most of my free time in the great outdoors. Needless to say I had a fulfilling and thoroughly enjoyable childhood, which greatly shaped my character and ultimately allowed me to grow into a mature, responsible adult fit for YSU presidency. My family moved to Toronto, Canada on July 1, 2003, where I attended Associated Hebrew Schools until 2008. I then started high school at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT) Kimel Campus, graduating in 2012. Due to various factors (lack of learning capability and level of frumkeit not part of them), I was not able to spend a year in Israel, instead opting to spend my freshman year in YU. Already in high school I decided to major in physics because I felt, especially after reading popular science books, such as Stephen Hawking's “A Brief History of Time” and (co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow) “The Grand Design,” that the field will help me answer the big questions of life. After my first year in Yeshiva, I decided to add Mathematics as a second major in order to impress future admissions committees and Shidduch prospects - and perhaps equally as important - because I found serenity, satisfaction and intellectual fulfillment in mathematics. As for pursuing medicine: that's because, for as long as I can remember, I was fascinated with the human body and have been passionate about helping and caring for those around me. Or maybe it's because I was operantly conditioned to become a doctor by my parents ever since I can remember. Either way, what matters most now is that I enjoy challenges, such as those involved in presiding over the Yeshiva Student Union, and care a lot about those around me, namely, the students of Yeshiva.

The chief responsibility of the YSU President is to approve, work with and fund YU's clubs. The latter is done using money collected as part of the Student Activity Fee. The YSU President has to make important decisions about which clubs and events to support, and which to decline. A good YSU President therefore has to be able to decide which events would be best for the student body.

As Sophomore and (currently) Junior Class Representative, as well as board member of the Israel Club, Sephardi Club, and even the fledgling Russian Club, I have a lot of experience running events in YU. Some events were successful, while others not so much. I have thus learnt which events are better for the student body. My New Roc City trip two years ago, as well as the Six Flags trip only a week and a half ago, were especially successful. They were events of גיבוש, ones whose main purpose is to consolidate the student body. One of the lessons I have learnt in the past three years in YU is that we don't have enough of these events and that they are truly appreciated by the student body.

I'm a minority in many ways, which is always a good thing when running for president. I was born in Israel, my parents are from the Former Soviet Union, and I'm also Sephardi and Canadian. My competition, albeit admirable and worthy, lacks in those departments. My multiple affiliations have always helped me find common grounds with people of diverse origin and background, which has thus allowed me to grow into a mature, approachable and agreeable young man - all important qualities for the President of the Yeshiva Student Union!

Although Yeshiva's financial crisis began in 2007 as YU's investments began to shrink by million of dollars yearly, I think we have only felt the reverberations of those events recently, as the university started making serious budget cuts with things that affect the student body - such as the number and quality of professors and the spendings on student life on campus. As such, I see my mission as YSU President to be the following: to revitalize a student body distraught by a financial crisis. Whether that sounds poetic or cheesy (or both), I believe it's a vital component of a YSU president serving in these times. YU students in 2015 deserve to have a full YU experience just as those in 1975!

I consider communication between the student body and the YU administration a vital component in the making of an excellent university, and it is the responsibility of the student government to facilitate this communication. In order for the student body to participate in the decision-making process that so greatly affects them, it is important that their leadership is able to listen to each of their ideas and suggestions. As someone who has worked in the student government for the past two years, I have garnered much experience in doing just that.