Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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.