Yeshiva University has secured a $1 million federal grant to renovate Weissberg Commons, a central gathering place on Yeshiva’s Wilf Campus in the Washington Heights section of New York City.
The grant is part of the $1.5 trillion U.S. government spending bill signed into law in March. As part of that bill, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) secured $314.1 million for key community development projects in New York, working closely with U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who secured a $11.5 million Community Funding Project for the (NY-13) district, of which the Weissberg Commons was a part.
The Community Funding Project is a historic omnibus appropriations agreement which responds directly to some of the most pressing needs in Washington Heights, Inwood, Harlem, East Harlem and the Bronx.
“We will use this funding to make Weissberg Commons a cutting-edge facility that will benefit both our students and the community alike,” said Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University. “The Weissberg Commons upgrades will greatly enhance our ability to host educational offerings for our students and serve as a central hub for community events. We are grateful to Senator Schumer and Congressman Espaillat for their work in securing these funds for Yeshiva University and helping to make this vision a reality.”
The funds will be used for structural improvements in the multipurpose event space located in Belfer Hall, including upgrading acoustics and lighting and modernizing audiovisual equipment.
“I am proud to have secured this funding for Yeshiva University, one of the world’s finest educational institutions – with students and faculty who are committed to making the world a better place,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “Yeshiva’s Weissberg Commons is used to benefit the entire Washington Heights community with educational programming for public school students, as a site for COVID vaccinations, and so much more. I will continue fighting for the federal resources to support Yeshiva University, its faculty and staff, students, and the broader community.”“Yeshiva University is an epicenter of education in the Jewish community, both in the United States and around the world,” Congressman Espaillat added. “I am delighted to deliver this federal funding to assist in the renovation of the Weissberg Commons and help further the university’s mission as an educational institution and strong community partner.”
Throughout its history, Weissberg Commons has been used for a vast range of educational, political, public health and religious programming for both Yeshiva University and the greater Washington Heights community.
For example, Weissberg Commons has hosted Manhattan Community Board 12 meetings, served as the site of science education programming for public school students through YU’s START Science and most recently, served as a vaccination hub in the fight against COVID-19. It also hosts many YU student events, such as the Seforim Sale, which is the largest Jewish book sale of the year on campus.