Skip to Main Content

Yeshiva University Libraries Blog

The Yom Kippur War and Yeshiva University - Reflections on 50 Years Ago

by Hao Zeng on 2023-11-07T16:33:00-05:00 in Archives & Special Collections | 0 Comments

As Jews worldwide have just marked the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, in which more than 2,600 Israeli soldiers lost their lives, Yeshiva University Archives provides these accounts of how the University responded to the events of that sad and frightening time.

Coming as it did during the fall semester break (long before remote learning), formal activities only began once campus life resumed. When it did, however, a flurry of events and initiatives took place, largely organized by students. These included fundraising, clothing drives, attending local demonstrations, campus rallies, and arranging Torah study and prayer groups on behalf of their Israeli brethren and the Jewish State. A special issue of Yeshiva College’s student newspaper The Commentator, published in October 1973 and preserved in the YU Archives, documents many of these activities and the overall climate at YU.


Click on image to view the digitized version in YAIR, the Libraries’ institutional repository

Click on image to read article

Support from within the University community extended beyond the significant contributions of time, matériel and even prayer to serving on the battlefield. Israeli reservists enrolled at YU returned to their units, and many alumni, staff and faculty, especially medical personnel from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, were among Jews across the globe clamoring for flights to assist in the State’s defense. There was also the substantial University alumni community in Israel who served, many of whom had family members on staff. An article from the University publication Inside YU describes much of this participation.

The experiences of one U.S.-based alumnus mentioned in the article, Dr. Irwin Krasna, '50 YC, was published in Jewish Action, the magazine of the Orthodox Union, in 1999 and can be viewed here.

While a ceasefire later in October officially ended the major fighting, conditions in Israel remained disrupted for a long time in the war’s aftermath, and Jewry and the University continued their support. An initiative of particular note took place in Spring, 1974, when 32 undergraduates volunteered to spend several months on religious kibbutzim filling the labor shortage caused by the war. Part of a program coordinated by the B’nai Akiva movement, the YU student participants comprised roughly twenty percent of its total from across the United States.


Click on image to read article


The University can point with pride to our contributions during that very real threat to Israel’s survival, demonstrating that an essential element of what is characterized as our current core value of Torat Tzion has always been central to our mission. And while this past Yom Kippur was, thankfully, uneventful by comparison, we hope and pray for a full peace, within Israel’s borders and within the Jewish people.


Deena Schwimmer, Archivist

 Add a Comment


  Return to Blog
This post is closed for further discussion.