Touro College Community Observes the Shloshim of Revered Founder and President Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander
Director of Communications
Kew Garden Hills, New York — Shloshim memorial services of revered founder and President of Touro College, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander, who passed away on February 8, 2010 at the age of 94, were observed at Lander College for Men and several other Touro campuses beginning the evening of March 8th continuing through March 15th, 2010.
On the evening of Tuesday, March 9th hundreds of relatives, friends, colleagues, former employees and those who had simply heard of Dr. Lander's legacy as Jewish leader, world-renowned educator and social scientist filled the Bais Medrash at Lander College for Men/Bais Medrash L'Talmud in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean and professor at LCM, hosted the ceremony and was one of eight individuals who spoke eloquently about Dr. Lander and his many accomplishments.
Dr. Sokol directed his comments at his talmidim, LCM students, but his remarks clearly resonated with everyone in the audience. He singled out three qualities Dr. Lander possessed that he wished the next generation to emulate: "relentless tenacity" in pursuit of goals; "menschlichkeit"- humanity, goodness, and infectious warmth; and "neshama" – soul, intellectual spirit and love of knowledge.
"Dr. Lander simply never gave up on what he set out to achieve," said Dean Sokol. "He cared about everyone. He could speak knowledgeably, sometimes even brilliantly, about almost anything."
HaRav Doniel Lander, Rosh ha-Yeshiva, Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim and son of Dr. Lander, emphasized his father's dedication to the Jewish people and said his father was the "personification of Jewish leadership," detailing his father's concern for Jews around the globe.
He also stressed Dr. Lander's boldness with regard to his beliefs and his refusal to abandon longtime dreams. For example, regarding the establishment of LCM, he recounted how Dr. Lander overcame many obstacles to establish an undergraduate institution that would successfully marry secular and Jewish studies.
Additionally, Rabbi Lander spoke of his father's creativity in finding solutions to problems and his willingness to take risks. "My father achieved the unachievable," he said. "He lived a life that defied nature and defied all the rules that you learn about [in school]. He didn't follow opinion polls."
Zvi Ryzman, a member of Touro's Board of Trustees and Board of Overseers said, "He was a private man who took responsibility for our generation – and not just our generation, but future generations. When he said something we listened. He was my Rebbe in business, he was my leader, he was like my father, he was my role model."
Martin Oliner, Esq., also a member of Touro's Board of Trustees and Board of Overseers and a close friend of Dr. Lander, said Touro's founder was "gentle and a gentleman…loyal and thankful. He never forgot the assistance he received from [others]."
Dr. Simcha Fishbane, executive assistant to Dr. Lander, spoke of Dr. Lander's dedication to his family and how spending quality time with them was a top priority. He singled out Dr. Lander's love of Torah learning, Israel, and his commitment to the Jewish people.
"He sent me to Russia. He said, ‘We have to build Jewish leaders,' " Dr. Fishbane recalled.
Dr. Alan Kadish, senior provost and COO of Touro College, highlighted Dr. Lander's strength as a leader and his remarkable ability to accomplish some of the most difficult tasks: "As I learned over the years, Dr. Lander's dreams were of a different sort. They always came true. In 39 years, he built Touro College into an incredible institution that educates individuals from all walks of life throughout the world."
Throughout his remarks, Dr. Kadish stressed Dr. Lander's understanding of the need to prepare future generations to continue to achieve his humanitarian dreams and to pass tradition, knowledge and capability on to successive generations.
"He spent his life immersed in the sustenance of Klal Yisrael and more than anyone in his generation succeeded in ensuring that the tradition of the Avos [forefathers] will be passed on through Am Yisrael [the people of Israel] until Ymos Hamashiach [the days of the Messiah]. His name, which appears on institutions of Torah learning throughout the world, is the ultimate Bracha and memorial."
Other speakers at the LCM event included HaRav Yehuda Parnes, rosh yeshiva, Lander College for Men/Beis Medrash L'Talmud, and a longtime family friend of Dr. Lander; and Dr. Nathan Lander, brother of Dr. Bernard Lander.
In addition to the program at LCM, shloshim services were observed the past week at Lander College for Arts and Sciences in Flatbush; Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School in Manhattan; Touro College Main Campus in Manhattan; Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center on Long Island; Touro University California; and in Jerusalem by Touro College Israel with affiliate Machon Lander.