What year did you graduate YHT?
1998. I was technically in the first class to go from K-8th grade, but actually transferred in to YHT in the middle of Kindergarten.
Do you have any favorite YHT memories or teachers?
I have many. Interestingly, a lot of my favorite memories revolve around being in detention with Rabbi Menchel -- I was a little mischievous back then.
Back then, when you got sent to Rabbi Menchel's office, the teacher would give you a disciplinary note explaining why you were sent to him. One time I was sent to his office after trying to convince a substitute teacher that my name was James, and some of my classmates also went by different names. I was a little embarrassed by the prank, so I ripped up the disciplinary note and threw it out of the bathroom window before I went to see him. When I told Rabbi Menchel what I did, he sent me outside to collect the pieces and tape the note back together. It probably doesn't sound like fun, but I value that time I spent with him. My parents credit Rabbi Menchel with making me into a mensch, and maybe that's why my family dedicated Rabbi Menchel's office when the new building was built.
What have you been up to since YHT?
I went to HAFTR for high school. I then learned in Yeshivat Hakotel and Netiv Aryeh for a year and a half. After that, I graduated from YU with a major in biology in 2007. Before starting medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, I learned for a few months in Yeshiva Ohr Hachaim. I graduated Einstein in 2011, then completed my 3 years of residency and one year as chief resident in pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center (formerly Schneider's at LIJ).
Since 2015, I have been a pediatric critical care fellow at MassGeneral Hospital for Children/Harvard Medical School, where I have the opportunity to take care of children with critical illness. It's incredibly challenging yet rewarding because you're helping a family through the most difficult thing they've ever been through, when their child's life hangs in the balance. When we're able to help, it is incredibly fulfilling, knowing that you're making an enormous difference in their lives. I'm finishing my fellowship in June 2018 and will begin working as a pediatric intensivist at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. My wife Dena, and daughters Yakira and Leora, wish we could move to New York just to be able to send to Har Torah, but the Cross Bronx and GWB traffic are too daunting, and so we are planning to move to the Teaneck/Bergenfield area.
Do you have any other interests?
Aside from the New York Rangers, reading, skiing, and cooking (my favorite after-school activity at YHT was baking hot pretzels!), I'm also interested in the intersection of halacha, hashkafa, and ethics with contemporary medical problems. When I was in Einstein, I wrote about medical malpractice
for the Journal of Torah and Medicine. More recently, I wrote about risk-taking and halacha as it relates to living donor organ transplantation and taking care of patients with Ebola for the Young Israel of Brookline journal, Me'orei Ha'eish.