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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rabbi Twerski Stepping Down As Dean Of Hofstra Law School

This is sad:
The dean of Hofstra University's law school has announced he plans to resign July 31 for health reasons, an unexpected development that means the university must conduct another search for a dean after having just ended one two years ago.

"It is with intense sadness that I inform you of my intention to resign as dean on July 31, 2007," Aaron D. Twerski wrote in a Feb. 1 e-mail to colleagues.

Twerski, 67, cited his quadruple-bypass surgery two weeks ago and his cardiologist's insistence that the dean's commute from his Brooklyn home to the Hempstead campus and his work responsibilities "are not in my best interest."

"I cannot tell you how painful this decision is for me," Twerski wrote.

"The past two years have been an exciting challenge," he added, praising the support from his colleagues as well as that from university President Stuart Rabinowitz and Provost Herman Berliner, "who have provided resources and moral support at every step along the way."

Twerski, who was a professor in Hofstra's law school from 1972 to 1986 and later taught at Brooklyn Law School, returned to Hofstra in 2005 as dean after the university held a two-year search, Berliner said.

Twerski's selection drew attention because he was said to be the first Hasidic Jew to lead an American law school. That designation aside, he was considered a legal scholar and authority on product liability law who authored more than 70 articles and two case law books.

"His stepping down as dean is a tremendous loss to us," Berliner said. "The best way to describe him is he's an exemplary dean and an inspirational figure."

I wish Rabbi Twerski a Refuah Sheleima.

25 Comments:

Blogger keithninety said...

I attended Hofstra Law from 1987 to 1990, so I just missed having Professor Twerski as a teacher. I did use his Products Liability textbook in one of my classes, however. Its a shame that his tenure as Dean was so short. Hofstra has a bit of a reputation of not being sensitive to the needs of observant Jews, so maybe he got fed up with the system there. I for one received a very good legal education there but I will not participate in any alumni events and will never give a dime to the school.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refuah Shelama to Prof. Twerski.
He will be missed, we need more observant Jews as deans and professors to offset the Leftists who have taken over the college campuses.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I currently attend Hofstra Law School and as all other students am sad that Dean Twerski will resign. The comment posted by Keithninety is inaccurate as to the lack of sensitivity of Hofstra Law to observant jews. There are at least three other Shomer Shabbos professors who regularly teach (not adjunct) at the law school. Maybe back in the late 80's to 90's when you were there it was that way, not now though. Also, there is currently a Chabad Rabbi who is very involved with the school and its students.

12:24 AM  
Blogger keithninety said...

Anonymous,

Just make sure that your graduation isn't scheduled for Shavuous like mine was. It was a scandal back in '90 and Rabinowitz, who was dean then, didn't do anything about it. The school knew about it well in advance but decided not to change it, thus screwing me and the other Shomer Shabbos students (and at least two Profs) from attending.

I never even received an apology from Rabinowitz.

I will never give Hofstra Law a freaking penny.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Alexander Novak said...

Rabbi Aaron Twerski (yes the dean) lived in Far Rockaway many years ago, it is too bad he would not consider moving back: a boon for our community and Hofstra. I have heard him speak at law lectures and he is great.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keithninety,

Why didn't you sue the school for religious discrimination. Assuming that you were sitting on shpilkes waiting to file your first lawsuit, this one could have made a big one.

9:39 AM  
Blogger keithninety said...

anonymous,

You have to show intent to discriminate or a pattern of behavior that the school knew would lead to discrimination. The school could easily have said that Shavuous is not a major holiday like Pesach and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, so they just didn't realize what they were doing.

Besides, lawsuits cost money and at the time, I had none. Hofstra, on the other hand, had tons, still does, and would have hired a team of lawyers to harrass the hell out of me.

I should note that it was a bit of a media story at the time. Channel 12 (local LI TV station) did a piece on it and there was an informal graduation boycott organized by several of my classmates who were either not Jewish or not religious. The 1990 yearbook has a whole section spoofing the school for the religious ignorance.

The school offered to hold a "special" graduation in the fall of 1990, but wouldn't commit as to which faculty would attend or even if it would be held on campus. I found this half-assed attempt at conciliation even more insulting than losing the ability to attend graduation.

I subsequently sent letters to Rabinowitz and the alumni director of the day advising them in no uncertain terms that I will never forgive the school for screwing me, had no intention of ever giving a fucking dime to the school and demanding that I be removed from the mailing list. For a while I didn't get anything, but after a few years, I started getting mailings again.

Another letter is probably in order.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that the fact that youre an orthodox jew who cares so much about graduation on shavuous, you would at least refrain from using foul language which is clearly prohibited according to jewish law.

11:18 AM  
Blogger keithninety said...

Heh. If swearing disqualified one from being frum, there would be VERY few frum Jews left. You wouldn't believe the stuff I hear coming out of the mouths of Chasidim in full l'vush in Landlord-Tenant Court.

Besides, the state of Orthodoxy today is so dire, with all kinds of sexual molestation allegations, kashruth cheats and outright theft of gov't funds, one swear word isn't going to make any difference.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have not justified your use of such foul language by citing others who use the same or worse, sorry!

1:58 PM  
Blogger keithninety said...

Anon,

Why don't you think about what I said instead of how I said it? Don't you think that is a little more important?

If your tender ears were hurt, I apologize. I just think you're losing the forest for the trees here.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My tender ears were not hurt, i hear such language every day. I heard what you said and agreed to it. However, i did not like the way you said it. So, just apologize and get over your lawyer pride, will ya!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the law school at Hofstra currently and Rabbi Twerski's been a great Dean. Everyone I speak to, Jew and non-Jew, who's had him or worked with him saying that he's the best law professor they ever had. Hofstra has been very accomodating to the Orthodox people since I've been there. So I certainly can't complain!

-futurelawyer1@gmail.com

2:57 PM  
Blogger keithninety said...

That's good to hear. Of course, I would expect treatment of Orthodox students to have improved under Prof. Twerski's leadership.

What year are you in and who are your professors? Is Monroe Freedman still there? How about Jim Hickey?

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monroe Freedman sounds farmiliar. I don't know about Jim Hickey. I'm only a 1L at this point. But I know of at least 3 frum professors besides Rabbi Twerski: Bush, Dolgin, and Simon. The only professor that I've had who has been there long enough for you to have know is Prof. Robert (Baruch) Bush. Everyone else is relatively new.

-futurelawyer1@gmail.com

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Monroe Freedman is still there and teaches Legal Ethics and Contracts. In addition to those frum professors mentioned above, there is also Prof. Susan Joffe and Prof. Ben Wasserman who teachers both Lawyer and Medical Malpractice. Prof. Hickey is still there and he teaches both International Law and Property. Maybe also Law of the Sea. He is also the Director of International Studies.

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