Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lifelong appreciation - Dr. Lander, ע"ה


Dr. Bernard Lander and Dr. Alan Kadish

It's tough to eulogize and even thank a man whom you met only once - rather saw only once. Yet, despite never have met him I owe so much to him. As do so many other yungeleit that found parnosehs and are feeding their families - barely, due to his vision, for lack of a better term. Yet despite his accomplishments I doubt there was a man who had to deal with so much, you'll excuse me, crap, over his life. I'm speaking of course about Dr. Bernard Lander, who left this world two days ago. We would be hard-pressed to find a man who provided such a service to the community, yet had to deal with such attacks from often some of they very same people. What I mean is this: I think we can all agree that not all of us are cut out for full-time learning, myself included. Come to think of it, this notion that a person should sit and learn and either live off schnorr, the Government, his wife working, or all of the above, is a new and unheard of one. So I'm not quite sure why we need to make excuses for going to work to feed your family... So what should we all do if we cannot sit and learn? find a parnosoh, obviously.

So how does one find a parnosoh if he cannot just go to a wealthy family parent, sibling or family member? he goes to work. How does one find work if he has no skills other than being able to shlep boxes? Not that it's a bad thing to shlep boxes, but not all of us find ways to raise a family on that kind of salary. Some can. I definitely cannot. Well, Dr. Lander found a way. By eliminating all the excuses he left no choice for many of us, we had to go and learn a trade or profession, and here was the means to do it. Not only were there no women in school during your class, there were no women in school THE WHOLE DAY. They had separate days for men and women, not just hours! You didn't have to study any subject that might even be accused of being counter to Torah values and views, and you could do it all on Sundays, evenings and summers. But still, the zealots, since they need to keep busy, would go after him and accuse of him of all kinds of things. I guess it has a lot to do with his background, him being a musmach of YU, and not being subjugated to Daas Teyreh, but still, even that should have its limits. When you see the obvious advantages should you not just bite your tongue and keep quiet? Maybe that's what has happened. Maybe they gave up the fight when they saw they had no better alternative.

In any case, as far as I'm concerned I'm glad that I heeded the advice of those who dispensed it and enrolled there. Dr. Lander gave me the chance to learn a profession in a very comfortable setting, without compromise. The only thing I could've done was maybe choose a better profession, but that was my choice, otherwise I'm happy as far as that choice goes. The only time I met the good Dr. Lander was at graduation, and even then we didn't actually meet. He was there, as was I. that's about it. Maybe that should've been the time to thank him. I guess he did it because he liked helping other Jews, not for the thanks he wouldn't get... He really had very little to do with the day to day operations of the school when I was there, as far as I know. Never mind, there are still ways for Touro to improve and be less selective when it comes to our brothers and sisters in need, but hey, nobody's perfect. We can look for excuses as to why NOT to thank him, and we can focus on the faults of his fine institutions, but that would be nothing short of the height of ungratefulness. Let me take this opportunity to thank him and all those who assisted him in making it possible. And remember, it never hurts to thank someone who helped you, even if you do disagree with him on certain issues.

22 comments:

schneur said...

The conversation now is can Touro continue as a successful institution ?
I have little doubt that Lander College will, but I am uncertain if the whole range of schools run by Touro can make it.Dr. Kaddish will not be able to run Touro alone and make decisions alone.
Lander certainly did much and accomplished much, but he failed to produce even one "Ivy league " type school . YU can point to Einstein or RIETS as top schools , even WSSW and BRGS are good schools, but Touro failed to create such . Their yeshiva is led by great men but has failed to catch fire or to activate as erious semicha program or center of Tore study which i am sure it is but not a GREAT one .. Lander College is a good school , but not a great school, the same is true of other divisions. I think rabbi Lander wanted at least 1 Ivy" type school and thats why he created lander College,(attracting at least 2 name brand gedolim as roshim) but it too has failed to be a great school, all the while certainly producing fine young men.
Lander was a tremendous diplomat, and recalibrated Touro several times. Once after his chairman of the board Eugene Hollander was disgraced. Another time in the late 70's after the Lithuanian Roshe yeshiva went after him and Touro.. Lo and behold he was not afraid to change and work his way out of jams.

Anonymous said...

Who cares whether Touro has "ivy league" schools. If you want Yale, go to yale. If you want to get a parnuseh in a heimishe environment, go to touro.

Tzig, i usually dont agree with much of what you say, but I must say that on this issue, you are spot on. I certainly couldnt have expressed it any better, shkoiach! Without Touro, I would probably still be an oisvorf living in a basement somewhere.

Kusher Kollege grad

Not Brisk said...

We need Touro and we need people screaming against it; to keep it within certain boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Tuoro is good for yungerleit who need parnosse, but is very bad for young girls!
Credit for what they for parnosse, discredit for bad influence on some girls.

Shimon said...

If u graduated Touro, how come your grammar needs improvement? Ah! Blame it on the fact that they are not a Ivy League. Stupid comment. Its not the Ivy League, it's the tenacity & determination of the individual student. Give his the credit for succeeding personally as well as for helping many graduate college with "Honor's" - Keeping their fate & marriage.

CR said...

"We need Touro and we need people screaming against it; to keep it within certain boundaries."

The people "screaming" should be ignored because they are going negative for the sake of going negative? Pray-tell, what do folks propose as the proper "boundaries"? I have never seen anything specified other than certain Rabbonim and Maranan stating that secular education of any form is Tamei and then retroactively invalidating educational credentials. The injunction of teaching your children a trade is completely ignored in some quarters.

"not the Ivy League, it's the tenacity & determination of the individual student."

I can tell you from my own experience that the "Ivy League" is not such great shakes. In my workplace we have had co-op students from the local Ivy League university as well as the local community colleges. The Ivy Leaguers usually wash out quickly as they are unable to adapt to the requirements of the workplace. The "downmarket" student perform brilliantly, by contrast. More than a few have advanced to senior management within a decade post graduation.

Judge the institution's quality on what happens to their students 10-20 years after graduation.

Anonymous said...

Not Brisk
your statement is typical Charidie Tipshes

Anonymous said...

What is success? is it to maximize gashmiyus while retaining some modicum of ruchniyus or to be surrounded by ruchniyus with dayenu gashmiyus? Who gets the aliyahs in Shul?

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

In the mid-1970s when RABBI Dr. Lander (I believe he had semicha) and his only son is a rosh yeshiva of Touro's own yeshiva, there was lot of tummel in the yeshivisha velt against Touro.

The chief trouble maker was Rabbi Epstein who ran around trying to bashmutz Touro as being "worse than YU"! Why? Because, he explained, "at least everyone knew that YU was a 'treif' college, but to claim that there was a 'kosher college' was even WORSE than YU" and so there were kol kores and pashkvilin in Brooklyn signed by various rabbonim trying to kill Touro College in its infancy.

The story goes that Rav Epstein came to Rav Yitschok Hutner (RYH) zt"l in the late 1970s to join in the outcry and sign against Touro College. And this is what RYH basically told them:

This is not the way to go about "protesting" against Touro College. The ONLY way to get yeshiva bochurim not to go to college was to make your own yeshiva a more COMPETITIVE and desirable place than college so that the yeshiva bochurim would not want to go to college because your yeshiva was a better place. Make limmud haTorah more compelling and attractive than going to college since making demonstrations against colleges does not work. And so RYH adamantly refused to sign any kol kores against Touro College until his death in 1980.

Anonymous said...

Chaim Berlin T..
maybe he didn"t want to seem like a Hypocryte,
that he was in Universities himself, but other RY didn't have that Kipa shel shrotzim

schneur said...

CR with all due respect Community colleges, do not even begin to compare with Ivy league schools in terms of quality of education , teachers,Englsih skills library resources etc. . As the great poet Walt Whitman once quiped vocational education is the end of education. , " etc. If you still have doubts just see where the law clerks in the Supreme Court received their BA,s then go to lets say 3-4 med schools in NEW York and see where many of the people there went to school and how many went to comunity colleges. Just to make sure you are not wrong check out where the American Nobel prize winners went to school as well as recent presidents, of the US (Columbia, Yale, harvard and several pretty good small private colleges) Comparing community colleges to Ivy league type schools is like comparing Lakewood to Chovevei Tore . Yes YCT trains people to be good professional rabbsi without much Talmud and codes, but if you value true education Shaas uposkim you go to lakewood not YCT even if YCT main train you how to give a hesped and preform a fine wedding.
If you read my article clearly I was not talking about IVY League peshuto kemashmao, rather schools that excell like places like RIETS, Albert Einstein NYU, Rutgers, etc ect.
I did not attend an Ivy League school, but I recognize the truth and reality.

Anonymous said...

Chaim Berliner

Which Rabbi Epstien?

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

"Anonymous said...Chaim Berlin T..maybe he didn"t want to seem like a Hypocryte, that he was in Universities himself, but other RY didn't have that Kipa shel shrotzim"

Now, now anonymous, no need to be nasty. And your facts are wrong. You seem to think that RYH was "scared" of something, like being called a "hypocrite" because he was "in universities" himself. But that is also way off the mark. Number one, RYH was not "in universities" as far as anyone knows he spent a couple of months attending classes in philosophy at the University of Berlin. He never got a degree there or anywhere. What did he need it for. While he loved all knowledge he had no time for the formalities of colleges, universities or degrees, unlike Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik (RYBS) of YU who did get a doctorate in Berlin and the last Lubavitcher Rebbe (LR) in Paris who did get a diploma or some kind of degree in Paris. Both RYBS and the LR finished the courses they were studying for, while RYH did not. He was interested in the knowledge, primarily understanding the dominant Kantian philosophy of the age since he held that Kant was the "zu le'umas zu" among the gentiles of the GRA. That's what they say, at least those who have bothered to explore the issues.

So now, when RYH sets himself up in the USA in the early 1930s and gets the lay of the land, and dreams of setting up a yeshiva gedola of his own one day, he has to take into account the reality of America in the the 1930s and 1940s (the Chaim Berlin post high-school bais medrash was founded in 1940) that the cultural milieu is one where even the most frum and Orthodox families and boys are expected to attend college for a profession.

RYH can live with this, and because he had an exposure the worldly academic culture in Berlin himself, is able to swim with the tide of the day that dominated then. In those days, the two greatest yeshivas, Yeshivas Yitzchok Elchanan (YU) and Torah Voda'as (TV) obviously both had arrangements for secular college education in their own way. YU had it in-house, and TV's talmidim went to Brooklyn College (BC).

But with the events of the Churban (Holocaust) and the arrival of Rav Aron Kotler (RAK) and the Chasidishe oilem things would start changing in the yeshvisha velt.

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

"Anonymous said...Which Rabbi Epstien?"

Rav Chaim Epstein Rosh Yeshiva of Zichron Melech, Brooklyn, NY.

Anonymous said...

CBT
I didn't mean to be nasty,
but your lame excuse that he just delved in Kantian lectures but had no patience for the rigid college system, doesn't change the fact that he learned Chochmas Chitzonies Philosophy for the sake of philosophy, that is much worse then a Bochur trying to make a living by being a CPA or even a doctor, the issur by the Rashba was original on philosohy only. and it is no insult to say that he didn"t want to be a Hypocrite, Keshoit Atzmoch...

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

"Anonymous said...CBT I didn't mean to be nasty, but your lame excuse that he just delved in Kantian lectures but had no patience for the rigid college system, doesn't change the fact that he learned Chochmas Chitzonies Philosophy for the sake of philosophy, that is much worse then a Bochur trying to make a living by being a CPA or even a doctor, the issur by the Rashba was original on philosohy only. and it is no insult to say that he didn"t want to be a Hypocrite, Keshoit Atzmoch..."

Your reasoning is faulty as is the metzias you are assuming. You are comparing RYH to a stam modern day yeshiva bochur? How so and how absurd? You are assuming that there is some sort of "universal issur" from this or that Rashba or whomever. Those kinds of things can be argued until the cows come home and it's a waste of time. You just don't grasp who RYH was and you are projecting your own kleinkeppeldikeit onto him. Forget your cheshbonos, they are irrelevant in the discussion.

What is going on here is a discussion of why certain giants, like RYH, like RYBS, like the LR not only left Eastern Europe with its closed minded shtetel ghetto setup, and went to Western Europe to explore for themselves, at the root what was going on. Rav Yisroel Salanter (RYS) before them did the same thing, while it's not known that he studied at universities but he tried to understand what they were all about.

In past times there was no studying for "accountancy" or this or that profession at universities. One went their to "read" for degrees and the "queen" of ALL studies was Philosophy. Not to study philosophy in those days at a university, which was only for the elite, meant not to be there at all. It was a different world then and the approach to knowledge was different then.

By studying Kant RYH went to the source of what the secular world, and assimilated Jews were thinking and influenced by. In order to reverse the trend he needed to know what the trend was in the first place. This discussion goes back centuries and millenia. It was part of the machlokes between the Chachmei Sefarad (who were enlightened and studied Greek philosophy) and the Chachmei Tzorfas/Ashekenaz (who opposed the Rambam and restricted study of secular wisdom -- of "yesh chochma bagoyim".) The struggle then shiftedwhen Haskola started up, and that is why it made rabbonim nervous. But in Germany many great rabbonim went to university, like the Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE) Hirsheans (what do you think they studied, "accountancy"?) of Western Europe (in Germany, France, and England, the new "locus" of enlightened "Sefarad") versus the chachomim of Eastern Europe (mostly Poland, Russia and Hungary the equivalent of the old "Tzarfas/Ashkenaz).

So sure, if you want to have a pea-brained perspective then slam RYH, RYBS and the LR for going against this or that Rashba or whatnot, but if you are thinking in greater dimensions, facing the reality of being being mechanech and mashpiah on modern-day Americanized and Westernized youth, you must have the knowledge of what is going on inside their hearts and minds to win them over and to develop those who can deal with the situation.

In the meantime, RYH's dream of providing for the secular education of his talmidim was shared 100% by Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz (RSFM) of TV, and they obtained a charter to build a full college of secular studies for their talmidim in the early 1940s, so that bochurim would not have to go to BC, but when RAK arrived and heard about it, he killed the idea. RSFM passed away in 1948 and RYH was not going to fight RAK, but he continued to allow most talmidim to attend BC until his passing away in 1980.

Arthur said...

I forgot to mention two very important points.
The Maskilim amongst us delve into a geshmake piece of Thomas Aquinas every Shabbos during Seuda Shlishas.The second is that Moshiach will definitely not come riding on a donkey.He's partial to Italian sports cars.We think it will be a flaming red Lamborghini or Porsche and there's even a svora that it might be an Alfa Romeo.

CR said...

Schneur,

"see where the law clerks in the Supreme Court received their BA,s then go to lets say 3-4 med schools in NEW York and see where many of the people there went to school ...check out where the American Nobel prize winners went to school as well..."

You are speaking of perhaps the top 5% of graduates that make up these professions. Indeed, you are talking about a mere 10,000 or so top level graduates per year. What of the grads in the middle who do not stand a chance at making the "easy ride" through medicine or law or who do not have the drive to publish-or-perish in academic hard sciences? Unfortunately, these students in the Ivy League are ill-prepared for the world of "working for the man" as they are prepped nearly exclusively for careers in academia. It shows in the students I see in my workplace who have trouble keeping on the specific engineering tasks necessary for our business.

"recent presidents, of the US (Columbia, Yale, harvard and several pretty good small private colleges)"

Considering the fiscal, social, executive and political mess our government is in right now that is not a credit to those institutions.

Anonymous said...

CB Tragedy

Do you really think that RYH went to University in order to be mashpiah on the Western minded buchorim? You are comparing to Reb Yisroel Salanter (even in a light way)? Don't think for a moment that you don't drink the Kool Aid!

He went because he was curious, he liked chuchmoh and he had a desire to feel like an intellectual; consequently, amongst his talmidim, there is a certain desire to be respected by the intellectual elite; a form of mu-yufesnikism.

RYH's writing style -flowary and long winded - shows signs of influence by the outside. No one from unzereh writes like that except for Rabbi Weinberg.

Plus, he was a gaon at clothing the sources. (Most of Pachad Yitzchok on Shabbos is from SFE on Breishet)He also had a penchant for bombastic rhetoric (not only in order not to quote word for word from the sources) which is the classic sign of an inferiority complex; which is consistant with his dominant personality.

There was a lot of Gadlus there - but there was nothing close to shleimus - there is katnus there that we don't find in others. I don't just mean Pepsi (or was it Coke) and the penchant for the ocean.

Anonymous said...

SFE?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Sfas Emes, I presume.

Anonymous said...

For a firsthand account of the life of the Chabad Lubavitcher Rebbe while in university in Berlin and Paris, see this link:

http://inforebbe.blogspot.com/search/label/early%20years