First Fruits

Touro College Los Angeles Celebrates Their Seventh Commencement Ceremony

July 02, 2013

Dr. Kadish likened the students to the Bikurim—the First Fruits brought in the Temple—during which detailed recitation took place of the debt owed to those who came before and who defended the Land of Israel, cultivated its farms and whose effort allowed the first fruits to be harvested and brought. “Just as it is proper for you to thank all those who love you and who supported you in your efforts to reach this day, so will you be thanked in the future for laying the foundation and showing others the way.”

Valedictorian Leora Dahan spoke about how accepted she felt by the Touro community. “Although we each had our own personalities and a diversity of backgrounds,” she said, “we approached our work and our school with a unified spirit—like the Israelites at Mount Sinai, who, though from many different walks of life and backgrounds, accepted the Torah, as the Midrash puts it, ‘with one heart, and as one person’.” It was this unity along with a great “Ru-ach”—school spirit—and activities that made life at Touro a joyous celebration of Jewish tradition, particularly during the Jewish Holidays.

Dean Esther Lowy presented academic awards to Menucha Cohen and Sharona Harroonian, and the “Spirit of Touro” Award to Student Council President Brana Ratner–Stauber in recognition of her tireless efforts on behalf of enriching student life at Touro.

Dr. Lowy’s concluded that though Touro was saying goodbye to these graduates, the Hebrew for goodbye is also the word for hello—Shalom—and has as one of its roots, the word for wholeness —Shaleim. One could say that the most heartfelt expression of farewell is one that conveys the idea that the parties who are parting will not consider themselves whole until they meet again and are reunited. “You are now Touro Alumni, joining the body of Touro alumni here in Los Angeles and around the world who are dedicated to furthering the goals and mission of the school and its founder, Dr. Bernard Lander, zt”l (of blessed memory). And just as all the parts of the body contribute to a whole to make a healthy organism, so must each and every one of you contribute your unique talents, insights and ideas to the health of this body and the furtherance of its ideals. Knowing these young people as I do, I look to that future with great hope, great expectations and joyful anticipation.”