AT BEN ZAKKAI HONOR SOCIETY RECEPTION IN NY, JANUARY 30
NCSY | Jewish Youth Leadership, the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union, will honor Vivian and Dr. David Luchins, of New York, with the Sarah Rivkah and Dr. Bernard Lander Memorial Award at its Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) Annual Scholarship Reception, Sunday, January 30 in New York.
The event will take place at 5:00 p.m. at the Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street.
BZHS is an alumni “Hall of Fame” whose new members are nominated by, and voted on, by its current members based on the nominees' service to NCSY and the Jewish community. The Society’s main function is to raise funds for scholarships for high school NCSYers for summer programs in North America and Israel and for teens to continue their Jewish education after high school. The Society has helped pay tribute for more than forty years to esteemed NCSY alumni and community leaders who have demonstrated their dedication to Torah and their service to the Jewish people – now including the Luchins.
At the reception, the OU will also pay tribute to the remarkable legacy of Dr. Bernard Lander z”l, the founder and for 40 years, president of Touro College. Dr. Lander died on February 8, 2010 at the age of 94.
Dr. Luchins had a very close relationship with Dr. Lander for decades. Dr. Luchins serves as Chair of the Political Science Department of Touro College and was Founding Dean of Touro’s Lander College for Women, the Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School.
According to Dr. Luchins, “As soon as Touro College opened in 1970, Dr. Lander insisted on providing “NCSY Leadership Scholarships” to enable NCSY officers to attend the new college. Over 200 NCSY graduates have received these scholarships during the past forty years. And he ensured that Touro cosponsored and helped fund numerous NCSY programs, including Machon Ma’ayan Seminary in Israel, the annual weeklong Yarchei Kallah learning program in December, Yom NCSY in Jerusalem for summer program participants, and specific projects in almost every NCSY region from coast to coast.”
Dr. Luchins first met Dr. Lander at the Orthodox Union’s 1964 Biennial Convention in Washington, DC. As many knew, Dr. Luchins considered Dr. Lander a legend within OU circles, having served as a director or officer since 1938 (at his death he had served on the OU’s Board for 72 of the organization’s 112 years).
“Of all of Dr. Lander’s many achievements at the OU, the one he was proudest of was his role in creating and nurturing NCSY. He often spoke of the 1954 OU Convention where he helped Harold Boxer convince a skeptical plenary session to endorse the concept of a nationwide Orthodox synagogue youth movement,” declared Dr. Luchins. “He served for over twenty years on the Joint Youth Commission, fighting to ensure that NCSY received the support it needed to survive, including the historic decision to hire Rabbi Pinchas Stolper in 1959 and backing his insistence on uniform halachic standards at all NCSY programs.”
NCSY Founding Events were held May of 1961 in the Catskills and Miami. Four teenagers who attended have met, married, and stayed involved with NCSY for fifty consecutive years: David and Vivian Luchins, along with Rabbi Zev and Rivkah Leff (also to be honored this year as the recipients of the Ezra Ben-Zion Lightman Memorial Award).
Vivian, daughter of Ida and Benjamin Osdoby of Woodridge, New York, served a record four years on the NCSY National Board in high school, as President and later as Volunteer Regional Director for the Sullivan/Ulster Region in the Catskills. Vivian was one of the first public school NCSYers to graduate from Stern College (of Yeshiva University) and serves with distinction on the National Board of the Orthodox Union and as Chair of the OU Youth Commission’s Summer Programs Committee. The Luchins’ are the only married couple to both serve on the OU Board.
David is the son of Drs. Abraham and Edith Luchins. His mother was one of the first women to serve on the National Board of the OU, and he has been a National Officer of the Orthodox Union since 1976. He also served on the staff of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, for twenty years, culminating his service as the Senator’s Senior Advisor.
The Luchins’ have, between them, attended every NCSY National Convention and National Leadership Seminar since 1961, every Israel and most domestic summer programs since 1984 and every Orthodox Union Convention since 1964.
"Dr. Bernard Lander's historic role in helping to create and nurture NCSY ensured him a special place in contemporary American History even before he set out to revolutionize higher education by founding Touro College,” Dr. Luchins declared. “Vivian and I are honored to receive an award that bears his and his extraordinary wife's names."
For information on attending the BZHS Annual Scholarship Reception or to contribute to its Souvenir Journal, contact www.ou.org/bzdinner or Elaine Grossman at 212-613-8350 or Grossmane@ou.org.
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