More Than 600 Attend Touro College’s Lander College for Men/Beis Medrash L’Talmud’s 10th Anniversary Dinner at the White Shul

Date: April 27, 2010
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52 Musmachim Ordained In Beis Medrash L’Talmud’s Inaugural Chag Hasmicha (Rabbinic Ordination Ceremony).

New York, N.Y. – More than 600 people attended Touro College’s Lander College for Men/Beis Medrash L’Talmud’s (LCM) 10th anniversary dinner on April 25 at Congregation Kneseth Israel (The White Shul) in Far Rockaway, N.Y. Beis Medrash L’Talmud also held its first-ever Chag HaSmicha (rabbinic ordination ceremony), where 52 musmachim (those receiving ordination) were individually honored for completion of their ordination studies.

At the Beis Medrash L’Talmud at LCM, students pursue their deep commitment to intensive Talmudic study alongside their rigorous general studies curriculum.

“We have grown and accomplished much in the past decade. The students we are minting, through their accomplishments, reflect the superior education we have provided,” said Alan Kadish, M.D., who recently succeeded the late Dr. Bernard Lander as president and CEO of Touro College. “Dr. Lander took enormous pride in how his initial vision materialized into the wonderful institution we have become. The impact that our school has had on the Jewish community and on society as a whole in such a short time period is immeasurable.”

Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean of LCM, also expressed pride in reaching the 10th anniversary milestone, and reveled in the fact that in 10 years time, many positive changes have taken place on campus and among the student body. LCM graduates, he noted, have gained admission to the best graduate and professional schools in the nation, including Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, The University of Chicago, New York University, Columbia University, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. They have also received job offers from top firms and corporations around the country, he said.

Dean Sokol marvels over the transformation of LCM within the last decade, from its humble beginnings in Boro Park, Brooklyn. “When Lander College for Men first opened its doors ten years ago, they were not the doors to our beautiful, seven-acre campus in Kew Gardens Hills, but to a makeshift set of classrooms, which doubled as a beis medrash (hall of learning) in Boro Park,” he said.

“Our student body has shown dramatic growth, having increased a full seven-fold from that very first year, creating the need for additional rabbeim (rabbinical advisors), faculty and staff.”

Dean Sokol added that the College has outgrown its original student dormitories, which house some 135 students, and that it currently rents enough rooms and apartments in an adjacent apartment complex to house 60 students, with “barely a bed to spare.” LCM also has a burgeoning athletic program, and a 10,000 square foot health center in the apartment complex is in almost constant use by students and alumni alike.

Moshe Ornstein, chairman of LCM’s Alumni Council, echoed Dean Sokol’s remarks: “As one of the first alums of Lander College, the commemoration of the tenth anniversary and the first Chag HaSemicha is especially meaningful. Witnessing and participating in the growth of such a critical institution as it continues to develop a worldwide reputation as a premier center for Torah learning and college education has been an incredible privilege. In just one decade, Lander College has produced extraordinary rabbinical leaders as well as successful professionals in law, medicine, business, and psychology. What began as Dr. [Bernard] Lander’s dream has now become a reality.”

After earning a bachelor of science degree from LCM in 2005, Ornstein went on to earn a master’s degree in biotechnology from Columbia University in 2007, and is currently studying for his medical degree at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

The Beis Medrash L’Talmud has had a significant impact, not only in providing education and career paths to LCM students who wished to combine rigorous Talmudic study with quality secular studies, but also in strengthening the fabric of - and providing leadership for - the Jewish community.

“Our musmachim have achieved their own remarkable successes and they serve the Jewish community across the country and in Israel, in a wide array of institutions,” said Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz, menahel and rosh yeshiva (head of school of religious Jewish education) at LCM. “Whether they have gone on to positions in chinuch (Jewish education) or rabbanus (the rabbinate), or pursued other career paths, their lives have been shaped by their years with us and they, in turn, will help shape the lives of their own families and communities with the Torah they have learned at LCM.”

Rabbi Joshua Rohr, one of the 52 musmachim, currently teaches Judaic studies to fifth graders at Yeshiva of Central Queens in Kew Garden Hills, N.Y. “This event is significant in myriad ways but most importantly, it illustrates how LCM has taken a powerful role in preparing the next generation of Jewish leaders, whether they pursue careers as rabbis, educators, or in any number of professions,” he said.

Another graduate, Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern, currently spiritual leader of Congregation Young Israel of Scarsdale, N.Y., echoed Rabbi Rohr’s remarks. “Fifty-two musmachim in 10 years is pretty impressive,” he said. “I personally owe a great deal of gratitude to everyone for helping me realize my dream of becoming a pulpit rabbi and serving my community. The winning combination of a warm, welcoming environment coupled with superior educational standards has made this possible. I have the utmost appreciation for where it has brought me today.”

Graduate Rabbi Simcha Loiterman, a middle school rebbe at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in West Hempstead, N.Y, also had good things to say: “I give lots of credit to my rebbeim for giving me the tools to be successful in both my career and in life. I am also grateful to for the opportunity to have met many wonderful classmates at school, many of whom will be friends for life.”

This year’s dinner honorees include LCM’s founding chairman of its board of overseers, Stephen Brown, and his wife, Mychal Brown, plus two prominent LCM alumni and their wives, Rabbi Daniel and Ziva Glanz and Rabbi Ariel and Shani Kopitnikoff.

Brown was awarded the LCM Founders Award in recognition of his many years as founding chairman of the LCM board of overseers and his continued generosity towards LCM. Brown has had a successful career that includes his post as chief financial officer of IDT Corporation, a Fortune 700 NYSE listed company; creating a mini-film studio; and becoming an Emmy-nominated producer of animated feature and television films - as well as operating his own accounting practice. Both Brown and his wife, Mychal, are known worldwide for their philanthropy and are involved with numerous charitable organizations.

“It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to have been involved with Lander College from its infancy,” Brown said. “The performance and accomplishments of its student body and musmachim have greatly exceeded my ambitious expectations.”

The Glanzes were honored with the Beis Medrash L’Talmud Harbotzos Torah Award, in acknowledgement of their numerous accomplishments in spreading Torah, both in America and Israel, including at Beis Medrash L’Talmud, where they played a pivotal role in its initial development. Rabbi Glanz holds a bachelor’s degree from Touro College and was ordained at Beis Medrash L’Talmud, where he and his wife, Ziva, also served as the institution’s first dorm parents and directors of student life. Following their years at LCM, the Glanzes made aliyah, and Rabbi Glanz has become a popular and sought after educator at several American yeshivot in Israel.

The Kopitnikoffs were awarded the LCM Distinguished Service Award in recognition of their many years of continuous service to the LCM community. Born in Elizabeth, N.J., where he attended high school at Jewish Educational Center, Rabbi Kopitnikoff studied in Israel at Tiferet Yerushalayim before coming to Lander College for Men in 2003, where he majored in marketing management. A 2006 graduate, he later enrolled in and completed the Beis Medrash L’Talmid rabbinic ordination program. He plans to pursue a career in Jewish education or administration.