On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Lander College for Women-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW) recognized five individuals who have been instrumental to the continued success of the institution. The gala dinner, held at the new Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, also marked the inauguration of the Sarah Rivkah Lander Chesed Fund, which will provide financial assistance to students in need.
Current dean and Touro’s vice president of online education, Marian Stoltz-Loike, Ph.D., and former deans Devorah Ehrlich and Sara E. Freifeld, Ph.D., were honored for the dedication and leadership they provided over the past quarter century. Special tributes were also paid to Founding Dean David Luchins, Ph.D., and his wife Vivian Luchins, in appreciation for the crucial roles they played–and continue to play–at LCW. Each of the five honorees was presented with the Champion of Academic Excellence and Torah Values Award.
The proceeds from the dinner and the commemorative journal saluting the school and the honorees will go directly toward the Sarah Rivkah Lander Chesed Fund, established by the Lander family. Mrs. Sarah Rivkah Lander, z’l, was a vital partner in the historic achievements of her husband, Touro Founding President Dr. Bernard Lander, z’l.
“Forty years ago, who could know what effects the Lander College for Women would have on the Jewish people?” asked Rabbi Doniel Lander, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim as well as Beis Medrash L’Talmud/Lander College for Men, and the chancellor of Touro College. “But now, 40 years later, we’re able to make that evaluation. This Chesed Fund is a fitting memorial to my mother, a woman who devoted her life to helping others.”
Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of Touro College, said that the honorees’ dedication to an institution that seeks to prepare students for professional achievement is particularly praiseworthy.
“We are honoring five individuals who have all helped shape and nurture this vibrant institution where Orthodox young women receive a superb secular and Jewish education without compromising either,” he said.
The dean of LCW since 2005, Dr. Stoltz-Loike is an internationally known corporate consultant with expertise in generational diversity and issues related to the aging workforce. She has served on the boards of directors of the Orthodox Union, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and the American Jewish Committee, and is deeply committed to Torah learning and halachic values.
Introducing her, Dr. Kadish said that as dean, Dr. Stoltz-Loike set out to follow a path of innovation while strengthening the school’s focus on Torah and quality higher education.
“Under Dr. Stoltz-Loike’s leadership, LCW has become academically competitive with leading secular alternatives, while growing in its Torah-and-Israel-oriented programming,” said Dr. Kadish, who also announced the establishment of the Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike Honors Scholarship Award, to be given to a leading high school student entering LCW. “Since coming to Touro five years ago, I’ve met some extraordinary people. One of the most remarkable of all is Dean Stoltz-Loike.”
In her remarks, Dr. Stoltz-Loike thanked Dr. Kadish for his kind words and acknowledged the other honorees and their contributions to LCW.
“I am incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to achieve in my over-eight years as dean. I stand before you as part of a chain of exceptionally talented individuals who have served as associate deans and deans before me.”
Miriam Esther Weiner, principal of the Providence Hebrew Day School, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Luchins, and an alumna, introduced her parents. She expressed her gratitude “both to LCW and to my parents, two seminal forces in my becoming who I am today, two forces that sometimes blurred into one.”
The chair of the political science department at Touro College, Dr. Luchins has been a national officer of the Orthodox Union (OU) since 1976. For two decades, he served on the staff of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, eventually serving as the Senator’s senior advisor. Dr. Luchins shared a close relationship with Dr. Lander, whom he called his “hero.”
“Dr. Lander grew up in the Depression and saw a generation go astray and decided he wasn’t going to let that happen,” said Dr. Luchins. “He saw disadvantaged children of every race and religion and wanted to help them.”
Vivian Luchins serves on the national board of the OU and is the national vice chair of the NCSY Youth Commission’s Summer Programs Committee. Behind the scenes, she played a nurturing role in the growth of LCW.
“Why me? Why am I included this evening?” she asked. “I was never on the Touro payroll. The answer, I believe, is that Touro College is more than a place of employment; it’s a family.”
In their honor, Touro announced the creation of the Vivian and David Luchins Political Science Award to be given annually to a graduating student.
Alumna Rachelle Lapin Stern, a member of the LCW advisory board and an active communal leader, announced the creation of the Dean Devorah Ehrlich Accounting Award to be given to a graduating student each year. Lapin Stern said Dean Ehrlich, her former teacher, was “living proof that you can excel as a Jewish mother, a Jewish wife, and a professional in the real world.”
After practicing law for several years, Dean Ehrlich moved to LCW to teach business and law courses. She served as dean between 2001 and 2006 and placed a premium on teaching the skills necessary for Torah-observant women to succeed in the workforce. She is still a member of the faculty.
Reflecting on her career choices, Dean Ehrlich said, “I never suspected that the tentative foray into full-time college teaching would blossom into a nurturing and rewarding relationship with scores of students. I wonder how many attorneys at my old firm get to dance with their clients at weddings.”
Dr. Freifeld, a highly acclaimed expert in Spanish and Latin American literature, and a lecturer on various topics related to Judaism, served as dean between 1992 and 2001. She is the author of The Jew in the Novels of Galdos and Contemporary Spanish Poetry, and actively participates in outreach, bringing young Jewish men and women closer to their Torah roots. According to Stanley L. Boylan, Ph.D., Touro’s vice president of undergraduate education and dean of faculties, Dr. Freifeld played a vital role in LCW’s expansion, which included moving into its first dedicated classroom and administration building, and a new dormitory in the early 1990s.
“The women’s division now had a new home and Dean Freifeld was its matriarch,” said Dr. Boylan, who also announced the establishment of the Dean Sara E. Freifeld Humanities Award.
Dr. Freifeld thanked the Touro community, and said she was “overwhelmed” by the honor. v