Richard Joel Admits Yeshiva University Faces 'Substantial Deficits'

Email Reveals Efforts to Shore up School Finances

Power Player: Richard Joel has been president of Yeshiva University for a decade. What is the vercict on his tenure?
Yeshiva University
Power Player: Richard Joel has been president of Yeshiva University for a decade. What is the vercict on his tenure?

By JTA

Published November 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Yeshiva University President Richard Joel acknowledged the school was facing “substantial deficits.”

In an email to faculty and staff obtained by JTA, Joel disclosed that the measures taken to shore up finances at the New York City university following the financial crisis in 2008 have been insufficient.

“We intended to achieve a balanced budget by this year so that we could then begin to reverse the trend of cutbacks,” Joel wrote in the email sent Tuesday night. “Despite our best efforts, we have not yet succeeded. Simply put, the spending required to support what we have built outpaces the income we generate and the substantial deficits that we have incurred cannot be sustained.”

The university’s director of communications declined to comment further.

Now entering his second decade at the helm of Yeshiva University, the so-called flagship institution of Modern Orthodoxy, Joel enjoyed a fundraising windfall in his early years. The school recorded a record-breaking fundraising year in 2007. In 2006, businessman Ronald Stanton gave the university $100 million, the largest gift in its history.

But the recent years have been difficult. The university lost substantially from its heavy investments with Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. More recently, Moody’s downgraded the school’s credit rating. And the school is facing a $380 million sex abuse lawsuit. Joel did not specify the size of the deficits facing the university, nor did he outline the precise steps being contemplated to address them. He wrote that the school would “reframe the way we educate” and formulate a “new strategic vision” to increase revenue and efficiency, including new graduate programs.

“Our immediate next steps, though, are clear,” the email said. “We must spend in accordance with our financial resources. We are looking at all aspects of our operations to increase revenue, improve operational efficiencies, and manage costs. We will require more support and more philanthropy. We must distribute financial aid more deliberately.”

In 2011, Joel was the highest-paid Jewish communal professional in the United States, earning a salary of $879,821, according to the Forward.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.