- Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy
Yeshiva University High School for Boys
The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy
Manhattan Talmudical Academy
Brooklyn Talmudical Academy
Location 2540 Amsterdam Avenue
Washington Heights, NY, 10033
Coordinates Coordinates: Information Type Private High School, Yeshiva Established 1916 Head of school Rabbi Mark Gottlieb Faculty 38.1 (on FTE basis) Grades 9–12 Enrollment 300+ Student to teacher ratio 6:1 Color(s) Blue and White Nickname Lions Accreditation(s) Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Affiliation Orthodox Judaism Information 212-960-5337 Website School website
The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, also known as Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB), MTA or TMSTA , is an Orthodox Jewish day school (or yeshiva), the boys' high school of Yeshiva University (YU) in the Washington Heights neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan.
The Talmudical Academy (TA), as it was originally called, was founded in 1916 by Rabbi Bernard Revel. He had become president of the institution that was to become Yeshiva University a year earlier, in 1915, when the "Rabbinical College of America" (a short-lived name) had been formed from the merger of two older schools, an elementary school founded in 1886 and a rabbinical seminary founded in 1896. As the elementary school soon ceased to exist, the high school is thus one of the oldest components of the University.
TA was the first Jewish high school in America, and the first ever to feature a dual curriculum, now standard in Jewish schools, of Judaic and secular studies. It was originally located on the Lower East Side, and moved to Washington Heights with the rest of Yeshiva in the late 1920s. The building originally planned for the High School alone was shared with the other schools of the University for many years before the campus expanded; today, that building is almost entirely occupied by the High School, and the other buildings of the University's main campus (including a dormitory for MTA students) surround it.
TA was later joined by a brother school, the Brooklyn Talmudical Academy ("BTA"), founded in the 1940s. While the Manhattan school remained, officially, "TA," it became popularly known as "MTA," the Manhattan Talmudical Academy, and, rarely, the Uptown Talmudical Academy, or "UTA." While the name "MTA" has never been official, it remains the most popular name for the school. Two girls' high schools were founded as well, Central Yeshiva High School in Brooklyn in the 1950s and a Manhattan school in the 1960s. Eventually, all four were eventually simply named by borough and gender, e.g., "Yeshiva University High School for Boys- Manhattan," but the popular names remained.
The Brooklyn schools, which had moved to a joint campus in 1967, were closed and merged in the 1970s into their Manhattan counterparts; still later, in the 1980s, the girls' school was merged into a Queens school. The latter is now called "Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls" (or simply "Wang"), but is still commonly referred to as "Central," while the boy's school, since the 1970s, has been known as "The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy- Yeshiva University High School for Boys" (or simply "TMSTA" or, more recently, "MSTA"), but is still commonly referred to as "MTA."
The school's golden age was during the 60s and 70s. However, by 1999, Rabbi Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University, wanted to close the high school down. When word of the imminent closure leaked out, Rabbi Michael Taubes, MTA's principal at that time, together with senior instructor, Rabbi Yitzchok Cohen, led a student protest and recitation of Psalms in front of the YU's main building at that time, Furst Hall. Although the protest led to Taubes' dismissal, and eventually to the dismissal of Cohen as well (both are currently instructors in other divisions of Yeshiva University), their prompt action is credited with swaying Rabbi Lamm to not close the school. Nevertheless, the school was still in trouble due to both financial problems and issues with students. Rabbi Taubes has been rehired by MTA to serve as the Rebbe (Teacher) of one of the two incoming freshmen honors Talmud classes for the coming (2008-9) school year.
Rabbi Michael Hecht, who had been teaching at the school for many years and also served as a Dean in Yeshiva College, became Dean of MTA and effectively saved the school. In September 2005, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb, formerly the Principal of Maimonides Day School in Boston, assumed the role of Head of School. Under his charge the school has continued to build on its storied legacy. In the past two years, about 20 new faculty members were hired lowering the school's faculty-student ration from 10:1 to 5:1. The average class size is now just 15.3. A new Grade Dean system was implemented in which each grade is assigned an educator who periodically meets with each student, and meets with the full grade faculty every two weeks. The system insures that each and every student is looked after. In November 2007, the school inaugurated its brand new state of the art biology and chemistry laboratory. Many other new changes have occurred as well as the school continues to build on its greatness.
In February 2011, Rabbi Mark Gottlieb announced that he will be stepping down as Head of School/Menahel at the culmination of the 2010-2011 academic year. His successor, Rabbi Michael Taubes, will take over as Head of School/Menahel at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.
MTA is currently led by Rabbi Michael Taubes, Menahel; Dr. Seth Taylor, Principal of General Studies; Adam Dobrick, Dean of Students; Rabbi Jon Green, Director of Student Activities, Rabbi Mayer Schiller, Mashgiach Ruchani; and Mr. Dovie Quint, Director of Admissions.
The main value of the school is based on that of Yeshiva University, namely Torah Umadda. This idea emphasizes teaching both Limudei Kodesh (Torah studies) and general (secular) studies. Limudei Kodesh classes are taught in Jewish studies including Gemara (Talmud), Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), and Halakha (Jewish law). These classes comprise the morning session of the day. In the afternoon session, the students participate in a general studies program. Many of these classes end with Regents or Advanced Placement tests.
The school offers morning classes in Gemara and Tanakh. In the afternoon the school offers secular classes, including an AP course in 12th grade. Students can take AP European History and AP American History in 10th and 12th grade respectively. The 11th grade may take courses in AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Biology, and AP Statistics. Additionally, seniors have the option to take courses in Yeshiva College and Sy Syms School of Business.
Beit Midrash Katan
In the '06-'07 school year, MTA started an advanced Talmud Shiur for the top 12th grade students called the Beis Medrash Katan. The Beis Medrash Katan, commonly referred to as "BMK," has more hours for Torah study and a modified breakfast and lunch period. The purpose of the program is to give the school's top Talmud students a feel for a real beit midrash, which many of the students will be enrolled in the following year and possibly many more. The Beis Medrash Katan also encourages its students to develop habits of "budding Talmidei Chachamim." The Rebbe who teaches and supervises the Beis Medrash Katan is Rabbi Tanchum Cohen. In 2008-2009 Rabbi Dr. Howard Apfel joined the BMK staff. Building on the amazing success of the 12th grade BMK, MTA decided for the 2010-2011 year to create BMK's for their top 10th and 11th grade shuirim.
The students in the school are able to participate in many extracurriculars. On the athletic side, the school fields Varsity and Junior Varsity basketball, hockey, and wrestling, as well as baseball, softball, bowling, and soccer teams. For the more intellectually inclined, there are College Bowl, Torah Bowl, Mock Trial, Model UN, Model Congress, chess, Debate, Extemp (Extemp is currently suspended as of now), @Club (the computer club), and Math teams, as well as the Business and Finance Club. The students also publish a number of publications including The Polis (political magazine),The Academy News (school newspaper), Shema Koleinu (weekly Dvar Torah newsletter), The Scope (school magazine), Yagdil Torah (Torah essay journal), HaTzioni (Zionist publication), Pearls of Wisdom (book of students' literary works), and the Elchanite (yearbook).
Recently, the school has been supervising international trips for select groups of students. In 2004, a group of students spent Shavuot in Belarus in coordination with YUSSR. In 2005, the HaTzioni club, in cooperation with the Palau Mission to the United Nations, arranged a trip for its members to travel to Palau to show the Jewish community's gratitude for Palau's support of Israel. Recent years have seen MTA delegations being sent to Turkey, Germany, Poland, and Israel.
Head of School: Rabbi Michael Taubes
Principal: Mr. Ya'acov Sklar
Bochen: Rabbi Sholom Richter
Assistant Principal for General Studies: Dr. Seth Taylor
Dean of Students: Mr. Adam Dobrick
Director of Student Activities: Rabbi Jon Green
Grade Mashgichim/Deans: Rabbi Avraham Shulman 12th grade • Rabbi Netanel Danto 11th grade • Rabbi Jonathan Kessel 10th grade • Rabbi Baruch Gopin & Mrs.Harriet Levitt 9th grade
Jewish Studies Teachers: Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer • Rabbi Gary Beitler • Rabbi Samuel Borenstein • Rabbi Alfred Cohen • Rabbi Tanchum Cohen • Rabbi Eli Cohn • Rabbi Michael Hecht • Rabbi Shimon Kerner • Rabbi Baruch Pesach Mendelson • Rabbi Rafi Pearl • Rabbi Shimon Schenker • Rabbi Michael Taubes
General Studies Teachers: Dr. Ed Berliner • Dr. Rachel Mohammed • Mr. David Robinson • Ms. Megan Harris-Linton • Mr. David Shatzer • Mr.Hillel Broder • Ms. Liora Haibi • Mrs. Hana Matiteyahu • Rabbi Dr. Sid Schimmel • Rabbi Mordechai Brownstein • Dr. Geoff Cahn Ms. Hadassa Rubinstein • Mr. Derek Kulnis • Mr. William Gononsky • Dr. Emily Schneider • Ms. Esmeralda Doublette • Mrs. Danielle Lewis • Mr. Elliot Himmelfarb • Mr. Michael Pershan
- Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, (class of 1927), leading 20th century Rabbi.
- Rabbi Nachman Bulman, (class of 1942), leading 20th century Rabbi.
- Rabbi Saul J. Kassin, (class of 1942), Chief Rabbi, of Congregation Shaare Zion and the Community of the Syrian Jews, Brooklyn, NY.
- Rabbi Dr. Yehuda (Leo) Levi, (class of 1942), author, of numerous scholarly works on Jewish Studies and Optics.
- Rabbi Chaim Dov Altusky, (class of 1943), author, series of works on the Talmud, Chiddushei Basra.
- Dr. Yosef H. Yerushalmi, (class of 1948), Jewish historian and Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society; director, Institute for Jewish and Israel Studies at Columbia University.
- Rabbi Meir Kahane, (BTA class of 1949), founder of the Jewish Defense League and former Israeli Knesset member. Controversial activist who was labeled "racist" by the Israeli government.
- Dr. Joel Rosenshein, (class of 1952), founder, Ptach, Orthodox Jewish Special Education service.
- Prof. Nat Lewin, (class of 1953), prominent American lawyer.
- Dr. Mandel Ganchrow, (BTA class of 1954), Orthodox Jewish lay leader.
- Rabbi Harvey Senter, (BTA class of 1954), founder, Kof-K Kosher supervision service.
- Rabbi Shimon Eider, (BTA class of 1956), prominent Halachic authority.
- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (BTA class of 1956), prominent Rabbinic leader in the US and in Israel.
- Rabbi Eli Jacobs, Rabbi in Yeshivas Sha'ar Yoshuv and renowned motivational speaker.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter, (class of 1958), leading American Orthodox Rosh Yeshiva and Rabbinic authority.
- Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, (class of 1962), dermatologist.
- Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer, (BTA, class of 1964), rabbi, author and lecturer.
- Rabbi Menachem Genack, (class of 1965), CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division.
- Dr. David Shatz, (class of 1965), Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Associate Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and editor of The Torah u-Madda Journal.
- Rabbi Nachum Sauer, (class of 1965), head of the Kollel of Los Angeles
- Dov S. Zakheim, (BTA class of 1966), former official of the United States government.
- Richard Joel, (class of 1968), president of Yeshiva University.
- Stan Kasten, (class of 1969), president of the Washington Nationals
- Yossi Klein Halevi, (BTA class of 1971), author and journalist.
- Rabbi Ephraim Kanarfogel, (class of 1973), scholar of medieval Jewish history and rabbinic literature, and expert in Jewish law.
- Alan Dershowitz, (BTA), lawyer, author, professor at Harvard Law School
- Elon Gold, (MTA), Actor
- Robert J. Avrech, (BTA), noted screenwriter.
- Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer and business executive (did not graduate from MTA but attended the school for two years).
- Rabbi Yaakov Jaffe, principal of Maimonides in Brookline, MA.
Burns Security, the same company found in Yankee Stadium, patrols the Yeshiva University campus.
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