Professor Gabriel Cwilich to Step Down as Honors Program Director
Dr. Gabriel Cwilich announced on September 7 that he will be stepping down as the Director of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, disclosing this unexpected leadership change to a crowd of around forty students gathered for the first weekly honors luncheon of the year. Dr. Cwilich, who teaches physics in Yeshiva College and has been at the program’s helm since 2009, said that his tenure as director will end when he begins a sabbatical this coming January. He also named Dr. Shalom Holtz as his successor for the next three years. Dr. Holtz, an Assyriologist and Bible scholar from Teaneck, NJ, is an Associate Professor of Bible and already serves as the chair of the Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies. It remains unclear how long Dr. Cwilich’s sabbatical from YU will be and whether or not he plans to eventually reclaim his position as director.
Students were surprised to hear this news, but many also expressed their hope that this change in leadership will present an opportunity for the Honors Program to begin a new chapter. “I was quite taken aback by Dr. Cwilich’s announcement,” said Yair Lichtman, a second-year Honors student and frequent attendee of the Wednesday luncheons. “His distinctive presence has clearly left a lasting imprint on the Honors Program, which I'm definitely going to miss. At the same time, I'm looking forward to watching how Dr. Holtz is going to move the program forward in the next few years.”