Touro Community Remembers Dr. Bernard Lander on Sixth Yahrzeit
New York, N.Y. – The Touro College community gathered at Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim on Motzei Shabbos this past week to commemorate the sixth yahrtzeit of Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander, founder and first president of the Touro College and University System.
Rabbi Doniel Lander, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim, and Dr. Lander’s son, was emotional as he spoke of his father. Invariably, he said, whenever the rosh yeshiva attends a simcha someone he does not know tells him about a kindness Dr. Lander once did for him.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “My father had an open-door policy, both literally and figuratively.”
He recounted a story in which Dr. Lander, who dreamt of opening up a medical school for Touro, kept a prominent group of medical professionals waiting for hours while he met with an individual that had recently come upon hard times. The man was shocked to learn that the doctors were sitting outside the office, and asked why Dr. Lander had pushed off one of his greatest ambitions for the sake of helping him. He answered that once, when Dr. Lander was nine years old, the man’s father took him by the hand and walked him to Pirchei, a Shabbos youth group.
“The reason the Hakaras HaTov was so strong in my father was because he was able to connect the past to the future,” Rabbi Lander said. “He never forgot a favor.”
Rabbi Mordechai Jofen, Shlit”a, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Yosef and a longtime friend of the Lander family, served as the featured speaker. He described Dr. Lander as a “renaissance man.”
“Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, the Ponevezh Rav, said ‘I may be dreaming, but I am not sleeping,’” Rabbi Jofen said. “That was Dr. Lander—he dreamt, but he never slept.”
At the start of the evening Rabbi Lander’s son, Yosef, was mesayim Masechet Megillah as a tribute to his grandfather.
At the time of his passing in 2010, Dr. Lander had achieved more in one lifetime than most could in ten. While advocating for and working on behalf of Klal Yisrael, he was able to impact so many diverse communities, cultures and causes across New York and the country. He helped Touro evolve from a tiny school with 35 students in the first graduating class to a flourishing international institution serving over 18,000 students and in five countries.
“Dr. Lander was a remarkable scholar and community leader whose great strides and foresight in the arena of education allowed Touro to become the venerable and successful institution it is today,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of Touro College. “For the better part of seven decades, Dr. Lander met and advised mayors, governors and presidents. Of his countless accomplishments, he was most proud that not only did he provide opportunities for those who lacked, but that he was able to create mosdos that strengthened limud ha’Torah.”
About the Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/media/.