Dr. Alan Kadish is about to start his fifth year as President and CEO of The Touro College and University System, the largest institution of higher education under Jewish auspices. Arutz Sheva sat down with Kadish to discuss how the the university it carrying on the legacy of Touro’s visionary founder, Dr. Bernard Lander, as well as forging new paths under his direction.
“Dr. Lander’s vision was about the intersection of two distinct goals,” explained Kadish. “Building the Jewish future on one hand and providing an education to all people in need on the other. We at Touro work every day to realize that vision. The needs of the Jewish community are foremost in our minds and serving the U.S. and international community is always in our hearts.”
Dr. Kadish has helped expand unique offerings for Jewish and under-served communities while ensuring Touro's financial stability. Touro, he said, is a flexible place where student and societal needs and job opportunities are assessed when decisions are being made. It's also an institution that is able to innovate rapidly, and able to find and implement the best educational techniques and solutions to meet the needs of society.
Since joining Touro, Dr. Kadish, a cardiologist, has turned the institution into one of the largest healthcare educational systems in the U.S. Some of the best job opportunities available now are in the healthcare field, Kadish said, adding that the program ensures that Touro students are primed for success.
During his tenure, Touro acquired New York Medical College, opened a college of osteopathic medicine in Middletown, New York, and established new programs in nursing and pharmacy. “We are redefining health science education and preparing students for the new healthcare workplace,” said Kadish. “Healthcare workers of the future will work collaboratively and so we are initiating inter-professional education programs to ensure that students get used to the concept of delivering health care as part of team, while still in school.”
In addition, the various medical specialty programs Touro sponsors are working together to conduct top-level research on major medical issues. Kadish is especially proud of innovative medical education techniques at Touro that include lecture-less teaching and the use of 3D holographic technology for anatomy classes at Touro’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.
On the Jewish front, Touro is growing its Graduate School of Jewish Studies with more intensive Torah study and expanding its two affiliated smicha rabbinic ordination programs. Kadish is proud that Touro is at the forefront of training young people to be communal leaders - but whether or not students pursue a career in Jewish communal life, all students receive important education and training on the importance of service to humanity, which, through courses in Jewish ethics and Halacha, is integrated into the curriculum for all students at Touro’s Lander Colleges.
And this mission to integrate Jewish values into the curriculum extends to the Touro schools that serve students from all segments of society. For example, in Touro Berlin, students take courses in modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies; at New York Medical College, medical ethics classes are required; and at Touro’s Law School, there is an institute on Torah Law and American Law that examines the intersection between the two.
Beyond the intellectual study, Kadish is continuing Touro’s tradition of responsibility for the greater good by merging community engagement with academics in many of the institutions. Students are educating local community members about vaccines, assisting the homeless and poverty-stricken, and providing services to those affected by natural disasters.
When asked what unique benefits students can expect at Touro, Kadish pointed to the extremely affordable high quality education offered at the undergraduate level. Another highlight is the Jewish environment in all of the undergraduate, graduate and professional schools in the Touro system; kosher food, holiday observance and core Jewish values make it easy for Jewish students to pursue the highest level education and career training without compromising their beliefs or observance.
When asked about his plans for the next five years and beyond, Kadish said he will continue the current mission of promoting Jewish heritage and meeting society’s needs. He is also looking to achieve better integration among the various schools in the Touro system and hoping to develop innovative programs to train the next generation of Jewish leaders so that Touro will be doing its part to assure Jewish continuity. That vision, first articulated by Dr. Lander and now carried on through the next generation of Touro leadership, is truly enduring.