On Wednesday, June 9, MTA celebrated the Commencement Ceremony of its 103rd graduating class at Congregation Keter Torah. The program opened with inspiring words from Head of School Rabbi Joshua Kahn, who also acknowledged the 27 families who were experiencing their last MTA graduation as their youngest or only son graduated. These families have been part of the MTA community ranging between four and 14 years and will be greatly missed.
Rabbi Kahn also paid tribute to Dr. Seth Taylor, who is retiring from his position of Principal for General Studies, after 32 years of service to the yeshivah. Dr. Taylor will remain on staff as a History instructor.
Senior Shimon Wildes of Manhattan’s Upper West Side delivered the Invocation, followed by words of encouragement from Yeshiva University President Dr. Ari Berman (’87). Salutatorian Shua Feigin of Teaneck, New Jersey, spoke about the shared experiences of the entire grade and the dedication and hard work they put in over the past four years with the help of their rebbeim and teachers. “Looking back, MTA has given us so much knowledge and growth, but most importantly, the ability to apply ourselves. It is up to us to use this ability that we have fostered as we move forward into the future and the next stages of our lives,” said Fagin.
Valedictorian Binyamin Fox of Teaneck reflected on the Torah learned, the education received, the relationships built, the memories made, and the unique opportunities experienced, and he encouraged his peers to strive to embody all of the lessons they learned at MTA. “In his essay, aptly titled ‘The Community,’ Rav Soloveitchik noted by way of the example of Adam HaRishon and Chavah that a community, a tzibur, is neither more important nor inferior to the individual. Rather, in an ideal world, the two will coexist and interweave to create a whole far greater than the sum of its parts,” said Fox. “Throughout history, human beings have joined together in communities for pragmatic purposes. But communities are always most successful when the individuals are given freedom – and are even encouraged – to develop and retain their unique personalities and talents. As Shakespeare describes in Hamlet, ‘This above all: to thine own self be true.’ Simply stated, functioning as both individuals and as members of society will enable us to shine the greatest in all of our endeavors. Each of the principles that have been imparted to us during our formative years at MTA exist and function on both the individual and communal levels. It is our duty to continue to foster these fundamental values, wherever we may be, both as unique, individual MTA graduates, and collectively as representatives of the Class of 2021, as we will fondly be remembered. By doing so, the impact we make, wherever we are in life, will be augmented and magnified, and will serve as a continuing legacy for our grade, united by an eternal bond and commitment to furthering these shared values.”
After a video presentation highlighting each Senior, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Michael Taubes (’76) gave divrei chizuk and introduced Senior Shimi Kaufman of Monsey, New York, who made a siyum on Maseches P’sachim on behalf of all of his peers who completed it.
General Studies Principal Dr. Seth Taylor closed the ceremony and called each talmid to the stage to receive his diploma. Fathers and grandfathers who are MTA alumni were also called to the stage, where they had the privilege of presenting their sons/grandsons with their diplomas, enhancing the 103rd Commencement Ceremony with the rich history and tradition that is unique to MTA.