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Computer science professor who left MIT joins faculty at Yeshiva University

“I’m very impressed that YU leads by living its values,” said professor Mauricio Karchmer.

From left: Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, with professor Mauricio Karchmer. Credit: Courtesy.
From left: Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, with professor Mauricio Karchmer. Credit: Courtesy.

Mauricio Karchmer, a computer science professor who resigned from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in December over pervasive antisemitism on campus, has found a new home at Yeshiva University.

Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, welcomed Karchmer by placing this appointment in the context of recent events: “There are moments in time when history invites us to participate in its very unfolding,” Berman said. “This is such a moment, and Dr. Karchmer has shown by his voice, actions and moral clarity how to be a leader who is a world-class professor in his field and a role model to us all.”

Karchmer, an expert in theoretical computer science and quantitative finance, had taught electrical engineering, computer science and algorithms to more than 700 MIT students annually. He began his tenure at YU, this week, teaching portfolio management at the Sy Syms School of Business and Math for Computer Science. Later that evening, Karchmer joined Berman for a fireside chat, introduced by Dr. Noam Wasserman, the dean of the Sy Syms School of Business, where they discussed the moral and educational crisis in higher education today as reflected by the sharp rise in antisemitism on university campuses following the attacks of Oct. 7. 

Following his much-publicized resignation, Karchmer was approached by dozens of universities across the United States and Israel eager to hire him. But after speaking with YU, Karchmer’s decision became clear: Yeshiva University is an institution that leads with its values-based-education, preparing students for what they really need in life—to become high-achievers with a strong moral compass, values that are essential in today’s fraught cultural landscape. 

“YU is unique because it consists of extremely bright, accomplished faculty and students who could be in any university in the U.S., but they choose Yeshiva University because of what Yeshiva University is, what it stands for,” said Karchmer, who was a lecturer at MIT since 2019 and whose introduction to algorithms course was taken by over 60% of undergrads. “These are the kind of students I want to teach, and who will make a positive difference in the world.”  

Even before he got to the school, YU students reached out to show support. “I was very moved,” he said.

Karchmer, a Mexican Jew who earned his Ph.D. from Hebrew University and his Master of Science from Harvard, said that it wasn’t until the reaction to the Hamas massacre that he was forced to reconsider his dream job. Following that barbaric, unprovoked terrorist attack that killed more than 1,200 Israelis and others, he asked the head of his department to issue a statement of support for Israelis and Jews. Such statements had been issued in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and after a wave of anti-Asian violence, so he expected similar sympathy for Jews. 

None came. “I was shocked that my institution—led by people who are meant to see the world rationally—could not simply condemn a brutal terrorist act.” In fact, he said, faculty members are the ones stoking campus antisemitism.

But Karchmer was most disturbed by the suffering he saw among his Jewish and Israeli students. 

“Many campuses claim to have safe spaces, but emotionally, Jewish students feel very unsafe. Nowadays at MIT and many other campuses, Israeli and Jewish students are not learning much because they are so emotionally vulnerable.” 

Indeed, YU, as the world’s flagship Jewish university, has been keenly aware of the severe stress faced by Jewish students and faculty following Oct. 7. As a counterweight to the rise in antisemitism on many U.S. campuses today, YU offers a values-based, elite education where Jewish students, and professors like Karchmer, feel secure and supported. 

“YU attracts students who represent the values of the institution, who are role models of their Torah values,” Karchmer said. “I’m very impressed that YU leads by living its values.”

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As the flagship Jewish university, Yeshiva University is animated by its five core Torah values: Seek Truth (Torat Emet), Live Your Values (Torat Chaim), Discover Your Potential (Torat Adam), Act With Compassion (Torat Chesed) and Bring Redemption (Torat Zion). Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life and the heritage of Western civilization. More than 7,400 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools—Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business—offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Katz School of Science and Health and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
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