The approach of the Israeli Supreme Court regarding Jewish law is unacceptable, according to an eminent law professor and former attorney general of Israel.
“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,” said Prof Nahum Rakover.
An Israel Prize laureate, Dr. Rakover made his remarks in Jerusalem as part of his keynote address to graduates of the master’s program in Judaic Studies at the Machon Lander Institute, an affiliate of the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies in New York.
Dr. Rakover’s address was entitled “The Ethics of Jewish Law and the Ethics of the Supreme Court.”
It was a fitting subject for the 75 men and women who were graduating from the Lander program. Most of them are Israeli educators who sought to study at Lander because it places Judaic Studies in a framework that respects the mesorah of Jewish learning and practice.
Most of the school’s students are from the Greater Jerusalem area, but a full 38 percent come from throughout the country, from as far as Tzfat in the north and Netivot and Yeroham in the south. Thirty percent of the students reside in Judea and Samaria.
Established in 1986, the school currently enrolls 1200 students who combine their studies with family and professional obligations.
He pointed out that the expanded access to higher education that has made the Lander Institute possible “has proven itself, most significantly, in the increased number of graduates of the School of Judaic Studies.”
In separate remarks, IDF Gen (Res) Yaakov Amidror, vice-president of Machon Lander and former head of assessment for Israeli military intelligence, emphasized the unique character of the institute’s School of Judaic Studies. “In contrast with other Judaic studies programs, at Machon Lander, we learn Judaic Studies from a Jewish perspective,” he said.
Like Messrs Amidror and Orlev, Dr. Rakover credited the accomplishments of Machon Lander to its namesake, Touro’s founding president, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander, z”l, who died last February at the age of 95.
“Rabbi Dr. Lander was able to turn dreams into reality,” said Dr. Rakover of his long-term friend.
Rabbi Noah Greenfield, director of the Division of Teacher Training in the Israeli Ministry of Education took particular note of the high percentage of teachers among the graduates.
“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,” he said.
Network of Schools
Among the degree recipients, 76 percent were women, but men represented the record for age diversity. The youngest graduate, 25, and oldest, 65, were men.
In addition to its affiliation with the Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies in New York, Machon Lander in Jerusalem is an independent Israeli academic institution, accredited by Israel’s Council of Higher Education. It is one of several Touro College branch campuses, locations, and instructional sites throughout the world.
Established in 1971 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage and serve the larger American community, Touro is a system of Jewish-sponsored institutions of higher and professional education. More than 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions.
Ethics and Integrity
Last month, at one of those divisions, Touro’s Lander College for Women (LCW) in Manhattan, Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice-president of the Orthodox Union, presented a lecture to the school’s student body and faculty entitled “Torah Ethics and Communal Integrity.”
Introducing Rabbi Weil, Dr. Alan Kadish, Touro’s president and CEO, explained that the college has maintained a long-standing close relationship with the Orthodox Union and the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY).
Rabbi Weil was the inaugural speaker of this year’s Distinguished Speakers Series, hosted by the honors program at LCW.
“Students need to hear about integrating a Torah perspective into everything they do,” said Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike, LCW’s dean.
School of Social Work
This is true also at Touro’s Graduate School of Social Work, where the founding dean, Dr. Steven Huberman, has invited potential students to attend upcoming open houses.
“Social work is one of the fastest-growing professions with enormous job potential,” said Dr. Huberman, adding that there are still a few openings in the new semester beginning in Jan 2011. Classes are held in the school’s new Manhattan Graduate Center and state-of-the-art Brooklyn Graduate School.
Touro’s recent Masters of Social Work graduates have secured outstanding positions, he said.
Touro has an extensive financial-aid program for graduates pursuing their MSW degrees. The school’s program leads to licensure, the LMSW and LCSW.
The program includes work-study options, 1200 supervised field-work hours, and specialized internships in agencies in the tri-state area. Supervised internships are available in more than 55 agencies in NY and NJ in all major human-services fields.
The school’s open houses will be held on Thurs., Nov 11, and Thurs., Dec 2, at 6pm, at 43 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.
For more information, Dr. Huberman can be reached at 212-463-0400 ext 5278 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The website can be accessed at www.touro.edu/msw
“Social work is virtually recession-proof,” said Dr. Huberman.