Touro’s Machon Lander School of Judaic Studies Confers 75 Master’s Degrees

Date: November 03, 2010
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Barbara Franklin
Director of Communications
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Seventy-five men and women recently celebrated their completion of the esteemed master‟s program in Judaic Studies at the Machon Lander/Lander Institute, an affiliate of the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies in New York that was founded by Touro College in 1986.

The graduates, most of whom are educators, have accrued advanced knowledge in Judaic Studies in the course of their studies – knowledge that they will now pass on to their own students. All of the graduates learned Judaic Studies in a framework that respects the mesorah of Jewish learning and practice.

The graduation ceremony opened with an address by the chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, MK Zevulun Orlev (HaBayit HaYehudi). MK Orlev stressed that “people should continue to learn in every stage of life. The expanded access to higher education that made the Lander Institute‟s activities possible has proven itself - most significantly in the increased numbers of graduates of the School of Judaic Studies.”

The keynote address, delivered by Israel Prize Laureate Professor Nahum Rakover, was entitled “The Ethics of Jewish Law and the Ethics of the Supreme Court.” Professor Rakover began his remarks with moving words about his long-time acquaintance with Touro‟s founding president Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander z”l, a man, he said, who was “able to turn dreams into reality.”

Professor Rakover went on to criticize the stance of Israel‟s Supreme Court towards Jewish Law. “The Court‟s interpretation of ethical issues is, in the main, antithetical to the interpretation Jewish Law offers. For example, the question of the Land of Israel: as a value, the notion of „The Land of Israel‟ does not exist for Israel‟s Supreme Court.”

In separate remarks, Gen. (Res.) Yaakov Amidror, vice president of Machon Lander, emphasized the unique character of Machon Lander‟s School of Judaic Studies. “In contrast with other Judaic studies programs, at Machon Lander we learn Judaic Studies from a Jewish perspective.”

Rabbi Noach Greenfeld, director of the Division of Teacher Training in the Ministry of Education, addressed the graduates after Gen. Amidror and MK Zevulun Orlev. Greenfeld, who took particular interest in the high percentage of teachers among the graduates, noted, “Machon Lander has enabled teachers to pursue academic degrees, and thus, to grow and develop professionally. This is not only a degree in Judaic Studies; the degree incorporates the study of education as well.”

Also present at the ceremony were Professor Moshe Lieberman, president of Machon Lander; Shuki Golan, director general; Rabbi Yochanan Kirschenboim, assistant director; Professor Yosef Tabory, dean of the School of Judaic Studies; and two representatives from Touro College in New York: Dr. Mark Hasten, chairman of the Touro College board of trustees and board of overseers, and Rabbi Moshe D. Krupka, senior vice president of college affairs at Touro College.

Among the degree recipients, 76 percent were women; however, the men held the record for age diversity, with the youngest graduate being a 25-year-old male, and the oldest 65 years of age. An overwhelming percentage of graduates are residents of the Greater Jerusalem area, while 38 percent come from all over Israel – as far as Tzfat in the north and Netivot and Yeroham in the south; 30 percent of the graduates live in Judea and Samaria.