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Making Educated Choices

Binyamin Rose

Dr. Alan Kadish, president of Touro College and University System, contends that success is contingent on what you know and who you know. Starting with yourself

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

kadish

"We have deeply ingrained in us the idea that we want to take care of our families and ourselves, while also helping other people through the profession we choose. Throughout life, that balance remains a challenge."

Not every college dropout can succeed like Bill Gates, the creative genius behind Microsoft, whose net worth tops the gross domestic product of 125 countries worldwide. Nor is every young man or woman ready for the risks and rewards of the business world. Many will choose to remain in the Torah world. 

Still, some people need the proverbial piece of paper — an academic degree or technical certification to write their meal ticket. 

“Some talented people will succeed no matter what,” says Dr. Alan Kadish, president of Touro since 2010. “But for many, formal education is critical as more and more jobs today require college degrees, and, specifically, a number of formal skills must be developed in order to succeed in the workplace.” 

Dr. Kadish, 59, has honed a variety of his formal skills during three decades in academia. That includes a 19-year tenure at Northwestern University, where he gained an international reputation as a professor of cardiology and acquired business acumen on the finance and investments committees of the faculty’s $450 million physician’s practice group. 

On Dr. Kadish’s recent visit to Israel, he stopped by Mishpacha’s Jerusalem headquarters for a wide-ranging discussion in which he offered guidance and shared thoughts on how young religious men and women can prepare for, and succeed in, an academic environment and choose a suitable career. 

With anti-Israel fervor and anti-Semitism surging on college campuses, Dr. Kadish also leveled both a frank and sophisticated critique of academia’s obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict and advised how Jewish students can steel themselves against the onslaught and respond appropriately. 

One common thread emerged as he addressed these diverse topics, and that is the need for balance. Whether it’s work-life balance, or the sensitive balancing act one must engage in as he squares the requirements of living as an Orthodox Jew and earning a living, Jewish professionals are always weighing different aspects of life and working to ensure that priorities in each area are being met. This need for balance was also the thrust of his message to Touro’s graduating class last month.

For four decades, Dr. Goldschmidt (center left) has been helping students navigate career paths

“It’s part of our role as human beings and as Jews,” Dr. Kadish said. “We have deeply ingrained in us the idea that we want to take care of our families and ourselves, while also helping other people through the profession we choose. Throughout life, that balance remains a challenge, and it’s something we have to continue to work on.” 

Achieving and maintaining such a balance is more art than science. And if Dr. Kadish’s life is any indication, it can also be acquired through observation.

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