Yeshiva U. Sheds Burden of Albert Einstein Medical School — But at What Cost?

'Crown Jewel' of Modern Orthodox Flagship Is Gone

Model Med School: Albert Einstein checks out scale model of Yeshiva University’s medical school in the Bronx. He is flanked by Yeshiva University president, Samuel Belkin (left) and New York’s attorney general, Nathaniel Goldstein.
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Model Med School: Albert Einstein checks out scale model of Yeshiva University’s medical school in the Bronx. He is flanked by Yeshiva University president, Samuel Belkin (left) and New York’s attorney general, Nathaniel Goldstein.

By Paul Berger

Published May 27, 2014.

After almost 60 years as a prestigious secular jewel in its crown, cash-strapped Yeshiva University will cede control of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to Montefiore Medical Center.

In a May 27 statement, Montefiore and Y.U. announced that they would create a new joint entity in which Montefiore would assume greater responsibility for operations and financial management of Einstein, while Y.U. would continue as Einstein’s degree-granting parent.

Y.U.’s president Richard Joel alluded to the university’s financial problems in his statement announcing the creation of a new entity to run Einstein, which he called a “historic” decision.

“We are delighted to emphasize our shared commitment to assuring the continuity and growth of the educational and research functions of Einstein while remaining a leader in medical education,” Joel said in the statement. “At the same time, we are taking a powerful and important step towards building a financially sustainable Yeshiva University.”

Many details remain unclear about the merger, including just how much control Montefiore will now exercise over Einstein’s academic and research activities in exchange for the bill it is footing. But just one year ago, outwardly at least, the joining of Montefiore and Einstein seemed unthinkable.

At a gala dinner held at the Plaza Hotel in April of last year, 400 supporters of Einstein listened to an announcement by Einstein’s dean, Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, of the school’s largest-ever fundraising effort, a $500 million capital campaign.

Spiegel followed the announcement by revealing that Einstein had raised $400 million for the campaign already, thanks in part to the largest gift in Einstein’s history: a commercial real estate bequest, from the estate of Muriel Block, valued at more than $160 million.

Ruth L. Gottesman, chair of Einstein’s Board of Overseers, told the dinner guests: “I have never been more enthusiastic about our future.”

But a Forward review of financial documents, as well as interviews with Y.U. faculty and with financial analysts, suggests that Einstein’s future even then was far from rosy.



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