(Courtesy of Touro College) More than 300 students and faculty participated in a memorial event commemorating the eighth yahrtzeit of Dr. Bernard Lander, HaRav Dov Berish Ben Dovid, the founding president of the Touro College and University System and a longtime resident of Forest Hills, Queens. The program was held last week at Touro’s Lander College in Flatbush and the yahrtzeit fell on Shabbos Kodesh, 25 Shevat.
As the first speaker of the evening, Dr. Robert (Moshe Yaakov) Goldschmidt, vice president and executive dean of Touro’s Lander College in Flatbush, described Dr. Lander as a man who was adorned with the keser shem tov—one who possessed a lev tov, displayed boundless ahavas Yisrael and a passionate belief in the achdus of klal Yisrael. “Imagine how great is the hallel hagadol that we can recite on Dr. Lander,” said Dr. Goldschmidt. “He created a major institution of higher education, a vast network of ‘nosen lechem l’chol basar’ schools to serve the parnassah needs of all segments of the Jewish community. Today, thousands of families are beneficiaries of Dr. Lander’s life work and are able to support Torah families with dignity,” noted Dean Goldschmidt.
Following in the footsteps of the Noam Elimelech of Lizhensk, Dr. Lander only saw the good, the “ma’alos” in his fellow Jews and, noted Dr. Goldschmidt, “he dedicated his entire life to nurturing positive qualities in thousands of people, encouraging them to believe in themselves and their capabilities to succeed in life. And, he gave them the tools to do so.”
Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Boylan, who serves as vice president for undergraduate education and dean of faculties at Touro, also spoke on this occasion. “Dr. Lander gave new meaning to the term ‘naaseh v’nishma’; he was a believer in both the vital aspect of naaseh, the doing and creating, as well as nishma, the ability to hear, to perceive a need and to act upon it,” said Dr. Boylan. He further emphasized Dr. Lander’s personal qualities—his energy and optimism, his love and dedication to family and individuals and his abiding bitachon. “Dr. Lander accomplished what he set out to do, he achieved so much due to great siyata diShmaya,” concluded Dean Boylan.
A student’s perspective was provided by Leah Gerszhon, a member of the Bnos Batya Program at the Lander College in Flatbush. Through this program, Touro enables students to receive visas and provides free tuition for undergraduate education to those whose families still reside in the former Soviet Union and Ukraine. The program was launched in 2006 by Dr. Lander with the support of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita,
Gerszhon spoke poignantly of her life in Russia, the remarkable transformation she experienced and her spiritual growth as a bas Yisrael during the years she was a student at Touro and concurrently at BYA seminary. Leah expressed her heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Lander for giving her the opportunity to become an observant member of klal Yisrael.
The commemorative program opened with a recitation of Tehillim by Dr. Hillel Abramson, academic dean of LAS Flatbush, and it closed with a recital of the Kel Maleh Rachamim by Rabbi Dr. Dov Bressler, dean of the undergraduate business department.
Today, the Touro College and University System comprises six undergraduate colleges and 12 graduate and professional schools in the New York area, as well as branch campuses in California and Nevada, and in Jerusalem, Moscow and Berlin. For more information visit www.touro.edu.