“My goal is to get the message out. To be at YU is a unique and exceptional experience; there is no place like this anywhere.”
Geri Mansdorf spoke to The Jewish Star on her recent appointment to the position of Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Yeshiva University. She noted that YU exemplifies the “fusion of Torah and mada (science), that neither one is compromised by the other but complimented. I don’t think anyone can get that anywhere else.”
YU president Richard Joel lauded her ten years of work in undergraduate admissions at YU noting that “she brings leadership, a sense of excellence, substantial knowledge and a wonderful way with people.... ”
She taught in Hebrew schools, worked briefly at Citibank after studying computer programming at Hofstra, ultimately teaching limudai kodesh (Jewish subjects) at HALB elementary school. She taught third, seventh and eighth grades. She said that she also taught a Cahal classroom, a Five Towns originated yeshiva-based program begun in 1992, according to its website, “of self-contained classes for children with learning disabilities, language impairments, and/or attention deficit disorders from kindergarten through high school.”
She said the job entails “building relationships with principals, parents, college guidance counselors and students and maintaining relationships with students from the time they are in high school till after a year or two in Israel.”
“I try to introduce what a YU education can offer them” she explained, “and how relevant a yeshiva education is to today’s student.” She also touts the YU graduate schools and the ability to get jobs after graduation. “It’s an amazing place to start and get into the real world.”
Mansdorf said a student there can get the “college experience” while not compromising on being involved since it has a small college feel with a total of 2,300 students between Stern College, the women’s division, and Yeshiva College, the men’s division. She noted that there are an additional 700 students in YU’s Israel program, for post high school and pre-college students in Israel for the year. She said that enrollment is up at the school, and students have “leadership opportunities here that they have nowhere else” and that the school offers guidance, career planning, and academic advice.
She will be taking Moish Kranzler’s position; he will now be working with YU’s institutional advancement team after 24 years as director of undergraduate admissions. “Moish had a great opportunity to move on and is taking advantage of that,” said Mansdorf. Said Kranzler, “I have had the privilege of leading the recruitment effort for the undergraduate schools and am proud of what we have accomplished.” He will now focus on development, planning and fund raising.
The Yeshiva university philosophy, said Mansdorf, is “relevant to all of us as a family, being able to blend our religious observance and life in the world around us,” that it is “part of the outside world and part of the Jewish community and allows us to be relevant in both worlds and active participants in Tikun Olam inside and outside the Jewish community.” She said that YU exemplifies “Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael (The Torah of the Jews, the Jewish nation, and the Land of Israel).
“It is part of who we are and how we have raised our family. It is the chut hameshulash (a reference to Ecclesiastes-Kohelet 4:12, the triple entwined cord that ties a person to Judaism.)”
Mansdorf grew up Brooklyn’s Flatlands neighborhood, attended Yeshiva Rambam elementary school on Kings Highway and Central Brooklyn high school, a division of Yeshiva University. She earned a BA in psychology from Queens College, studied at the Teachers Institute for Women (YU’s post high school women’s Jewish education program) and earned an MS in education from YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.
Mansdorf and husband Asher, a graduate of Brooklyn Talmudical Academy, YU’s boys high school, and Yeshiva College, have lived in Woodmere for about 30 years. They have four children, some also YU graduates.