A Year of Hardship, Trauma, and Leadership:
YCT Leading The Way In ’23-‘24

July 11, 2024

Dear Friends,

There is no escaping that this last year has been one of hardship and trauma for Am Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael. For all of us at YCT, it was no different, and our response has been one of leadership. When Am Yisrael needed leaders, our rabbis were there.

As an institution that not only trains new rabbis but also serves as the central hub and spiritual home for our 200+ rabbis and their communities worldwide, we devoted ourselves this year to providing our rabbis with support, guidance, fellowship, Torah, and inspiration so that they could best carry out their holy and essential work.

Our rabbis led their communities by:

Defending Jewish students on college campuses. From Penn to Cornell to Brandeis and more, our rabbis diffused tense situations, provided round-the-clock pastoral and spiritual support to students and faculty, and confronted college administration who fell short of their responsibilities to their Jewish students.

Political activism. YCT rabbi Adam Scheier called out Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who failed to adequately respond to hate crimes and antisemitism. Rabbis Avidan Freedman, Aryeh Leifert, and Eli Weinbach carried out a 136-hour hunger strike in Geneva, on the campus of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

WIP Photograph of Rabbi Saul Strosberg speaking at a pro-Israel rally. Rabbi Strosberg is standing behind small podium which is made of black metal and has a banner in front of it. The banner is white with a blue stripe at the top and in the center is a picture of an American flag to the left connected to an Israeli flag to the right like a single slightly furled up ribbon. The white segments of the Israeli flag and the American flag at the opposite ends blur into the white background. Below the image are large blue words with each line getting progressively larger and thicker. The first line says "TENNESSEE" and underneath that "RALLY FOR" and finally below that "ISRAEL". Rabbi Strosberg has pale sandy toned skin and is facing slightly to the right. He appears to be in his 30s or 40s with very short brown hair and appears otherwise clean shaven. He is wearing a white button-down shirt, dark grey pants, a black belt, a blue lanyard with unreadable white text and black sunglasses.

Leading Rallies. From Nashville to Austin to Japan, our alumni mobilized their communities and led local rallies in support of Israel, and over 100 YCT rabbis and their communities and students from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., in solidarity with Medinat Yisrael and to strengthen the American Jewish community.

Speaking out in the Press. In Israel, Rikmah Fellow Rabbi Yair Paran responded vigorously to the Haredi refusal to serve in Israel army. And in Newsweek magazine, social activist Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz bravely called the left to task.

YCT Now More Than Ever

Our donors have expressed to us that while direct support of Israel is one of their highest priorities, they believe that YCT is needed now more than ever. The leadership that YCT and YCT rabbis have demonstrated this last year has inspired them to continue and increase their support. Two highlights:

  • In December, we received an unsolicited 6-figure gift supporting our pastoral counseling efforts in Israel.
  • MICAH PHILANTHROPIES HAS AWARDED YCT A $1.5 MILLION GRANT – their largest grant ever by far, inspired by the work that we are doing and our vision for the future.

This has all been possible thanks to your ongoing and increased investment in us and in our rabbis in the field.

With gratitude and enormous pride,
Rabbi Dov Linzer & Ruthie Strosberg Simon

Chag HaSemikha 2024 Highlights