Touro College Community Commemorates The First Yahrzeit of Founding President Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander zt”l

Date: January 14, 2011
Media Contact:

Barbara Franklin
Director of Communications
212-463-0400 x5530

Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau To Join In Commemoration Activities.

New York, N.Y.– The Touro College community will commemorate the first yahrzeit of its Founding President, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander zt”l, with an extended Shabbos weekend of events and activities in his memory. Dr. Lander passed away on February 8, 2010 at the age of 94, 25th of Shevat, 5770.

The special commemoration weekend will begin with a lecture, open to the entire community, featuring Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, who will be joining the Touro community on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lander College for Women - The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School, in Manhattan. The lecture is entitled “Jewish Education and Identity in a New Global Reality.”

A pioneer in Jewish and general higher education, Dr. Lander was a preeminent scholar and leader in the Jewish community in New York City. His record of achievement in creating and building new educational institutions was unparalleled. He was a historic, iconic individual who provided educational opportunities for people from all walks of life. Dr. Lander opened Touro College in 1971 as a small college in midtown Manhattan, with 35 students. Under his leadership, Touro grew into a multi-campus, international institution that today educates more than 18,000 students at 31 locations across the country and around the world.

To coincide with the commemoration, Touro College Press is releasing an inspirational volume featuring many of the tributes offered in remembrance of Dr. Lander after his passing. Edited by Rabbi Dr. Michael A. Shmidman, dean of the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies and a preeminent scholar of Jewish history and literature, the volume entitled “Nasi Be-Amcha/A Prince Amongst Your People,” offers lessons from the life of a great Jewish leader that will motivate and nurture future generations.

In addition to Thursday evening’s lecture, Chief Rabbi Lau will be joining the Touro College community in several other events scheduled to commemorate this first yahrzeit. Chief Rabbi Lau was close to Dr. Lander, and remains close to the Lander family as well as to Touro College.

As a child, Chief Rabbi Lau, 73, survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel where he attended the well-respected yeshivos Kol Torah, Ponevezh and Knesses Chizkiyahu. An internationally-renowned orator and a highly-respected dignitary, Chief Rabbi Lau is often characterized as a spokesman for the Jewish people and a consensus-builder in the community. In addition to serving as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, he is also chairman of Yad Vashem, and the former chief rabbi of Israel.

“As we gather to commemorate the extraordinary accomplishments of Dr. Lander, whose fantastic vision and tenacity built Touro College, we continue to honor his vision and remarkable legacy, and strive to achieve his dream of passing tradition and knowledge on to future generations,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, who succeeded Dr. Lander as president and CEO of Touro. “We are honored to have Chief Rabbi Lau join with us on our journey of reflection.”

“This will be a weekend of inspiration, as we celebrate the legacy and life of a great Jewish leader,” said Dr. Mark Hasten, chairman of the board of trustees of Touro College and a colleague of Dr. Lander’s over many years in building the institution worldwide. “A man like Dr. Bernard Lander comes along once in a generation, or perhaps once in many generations,” said Dr. Hasten.

“My father devoted his life to Harbatzas Torah and the strengthening of Yiddishkeit throughout the world,” said Touro College Chancellor Rabbi Doniel Lander, son of Dr. Lander, who also serves as Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim, in Queens. “His historic legacy endures through the great institutions that he built.”

On Shabbos, Rabbi Doniel Lander will host Chief Rabbi Lau in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, where he will speak at a community-wide Shalosh Seudos program at the Lander College for Men, preceded by Mincha at 4 p.m. On Motzei Shabbos, there will be a Siyum Hashas in Dr. Lander’s memory, with a Seudas Mitzvah at 8:30 p.m. at Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim.

On Sunday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m., there will be a brunch reception and commemoration to benefit the Lander Colleges’ honors/scholarship programs, in Dr. Lander’s memory. This event, hosted by Touro Board member and Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner, will take place at the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club in Lawrence, New York.

“As I have learned over the years, Dr. Lander’s dreams were of a different sort. They came true,” said Dr. Kadish. “I look forward to honoring Dr. Lander as we gather to reflect upon Dr. Lander’s achievements and envision Touro’s future. This weekend-long commemoration will allow us to utilize Dr. Lander’s life and mission as a textbook for achieving further greatness.”

If you are interested in attending any of these events honoring the memory of Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander zt”l, please call the College at 212-463-0400, ext. 5203 or email