Dominican finds friends and celebration at Yeshiva

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Key for Taveras’ success comes in support from his family

By Clifford A. Merin

For security guard Louis Taveras, a day’s work would not be complete without the support of his family. Taveras, a 32-year-old resident of West Harlem, is married with two children and gives his family much credit and appreciation for receiving this award.

“Sometimes it’s not enough that you be committed to do things. You have to put your whole family into it,” he said. “You try to sit down with your family and your wife to try to push them to support you in whatever you’re doing—and I think that’s the key for it.”

Security guard Louis Taveras has become such an important part of Yeshiva University that a rabbi, during a graduation ceremony, thanked Taveras for his work. He also enjoys celebrating the Jewish holidays, with Rosh Hashana being his favorite. Photo by Karl Crutchfield

Taveras has been working at the security desk of Yeshiva University for the past nine years. With enthusiasm in his voice, Taveras readily states that he enjoys his work. “Yeah, I love my job,” he said. “The best thing is the direct contact to people.”

Taveras recalled a particular experience at a graduation ceremony, where a rabbi, whom he had not seen in about 6 years, thanked Taveras during his commencement speech for the great work that he does at the security desk.

It was partly luck, however, that landed Taveras his job. Following his graduation from high school, Taveras worked part-time for Meals on Wheels and then part-time at a restaurant. As he continued to look for full-time work, a friend told him about a security guard job that he knew was available at Yeshiva University.

Although Taveras applied for, was accepted and received training for this position, he could not take the over-night shifts that were offered to him because, at the time, he was living with his grandmother and could not leave her alone throughout the night. As fate would have it, a few days after he reluctantly turned down the offer, Taveras received another offer, this one to work during the day. He immediately accepted and has been with Yeshiva University ever since.

Taveras enjoys being able to converse with the diverse population of employees who work at the school. “Sometimes they stop with you and talk with you about all different problems,” he said. “So it’s not only security.”

And, because of the Jewish atmosphere, Taveras has learned a thing or two about the religion and culture. “You have to know certain stuff in order to be working in a Jewish institution,” he said. Taveras enjoys being a part of all the different holiday parties and celebrations. “Rosh Hashana,” he said with a laugh, referring to the Jewish New Year. That’s his favorite holiday.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Taveras immigrated to the United States at age 15. Upon arriving in America, he and his family settled in New York City. At that time, Taveras barely spoke a word of English; however, he attended Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics High School where he learned the language.

In his free time, Taveras loves to swim. “I try to go at least two, three days a week,” he said. “It relaxes all the stress of the day.” He also loves to dine. “I love food. Every good food I like—I don’t care.” And, because he works at Yeshiva University, Taveras has been exposed extensively to a variety of Jewish and Middle Eastern foods. “Shawarma,” he said, referring to the spicy lamb dish, which is popular in Israel. “That’s one of the things I really like.”

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