By: Rina Shamilov  | 

YU to Host 99th Annual Hanukkah Dinner Sunday; Will Focus on Israel

Yeshiva University's 99th Annual Hanukkah Dinner, YU’s largest fundraising event of the year, will take place Sunday in The Ziegfeld Ballroom in Midtown, and will focus on garnering support for Israel in its war against Hamas. The dinner’s program, mostly unreleased, will include performances by Ishay Ribo and The Maccabeats. 

The dinner was originally intended to highlight the achievements of Stern alumni, along with Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences Karen Bacon, who is set to leave her position to the Provost's office after a search for a replacement. However, following Hamas’ massacre on Oct. 7, the dinner adjusted its focus towards events in Israel.  

“After October 7th, the mood across the Jewish community changed drastically, and we knew quickly that our original plan for the Hanukkah Dinner would not be moving forward,” Chief Strategy Officer Ellen Finkelstein shared with The Commentator. “We contemplated canceling altogether, but we heard from many individuals that they felt strengthened by being among other supporters, and that the existence of Yeshiva University was more crucial than ever. We decided to lean into that and create an evening of solidarity, focused on the unique position of YU in the world of higher ed.” 

As part of the effort, the dinner’s mission is to garner support for the State of Israel and its fight against Hamas, as well as urge other higher institutions to join Yeshiva University’s stance. It is also notedly not a celebration. 

“None of us are in a celebratory mood,” said Finkelstein. “The event will be meaningful for sure, but it won’t be a party atmosphere.” 

The event will nevertheless feature an array of speakers, including YU President Ari Berman and President of the Board of Trustees Ira Mintz, to create an atmosphere of solidarity and communal gathering. 

The dinner is set to have 400 guests in attendance, with tickets open to the public and going for sale at $1,000 each, with young alumni under the age of 30 invited to attend the dinner at a reduced rate of $180.

At last year’s dinner, Berman announced that YU had crossed the half-way mark of its 613 Campaign, which aims to collect $613 million dollars in donations by 2026.

In past years, the dinner has raised millions of dollars.


Photo Caption: President Berman speaks at YU’s 98th annual dinner

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University