April 21, 2024
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Former Amb. Oren Gets Honorary Degree from Touro

New York—Touro College conferred Mi­chael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013, with an honorary doctorate at the 40th annual commencement exercises at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center on Memorial Day.

At the ceremonies, Touro awarded 699 baccalaureate and associate degrees to grad­uates from the Lander College for Men in Kew Gardens Hills (LCM); Lander College for Wom­en-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School in Manhattan (LCW); Lander College of Arts & Sci­ences-Flatbush (LAS, with separate men’s and women’s divisions); the School for Lifelong Ed­ucation in Brooklyn; and Machon L’Parnasa-In­stitute for Professional Studies, also in Brook­lyn.

In his remarks, Dr. Oren, now the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strate­gy in Israel, and a contributor to CNN, warned that despite the ever-growing list of enemies calling for the destruction of the Jewish peo­ple, the greatest threat we face is the one aimed at our own narrative.

“Today the danger is from those who deny that there ever was a story at all,” Dr. Oren said. “They deny that our Temples ever stood in Je­rusalem. They deny that the Holocaust ever oc­curred. And worse, they deny that there ever was or is a Jewish people.”

Dr. Oren said that as a boy he suffered from learning disabilities so severe that the future Is­raeli ambassador could only read a transliterat­ed version of his bar mitzvah portion. Over the course of his life, he said, he has enjoyed much success and lived through heartbreak as well, referencing his sister-in-law, who was mur­dered by a suicide bomber during a visit to Je­rusalem, and his son, who was wounded while serving in the Israeli army. But he said that his story, like that of the Jews, is about triumphing over tragedy.

“In each generation forces will arise that will attempt to end our story, to destroy our storytellers, and to deny our story altogeth­er,” said Dr. Oren. “But once again, they will fail. They will fail because of your successes, your faith, and your courage. Your success is our success and in saying mazel tov to each and every one of you, I say mazel tov to the Jewish people everywhere.”

At the conclusion of the 2014 commence­ment season, the Touro College and University System is expected to have awarded approx­imately 6,000 doctor of philosophy, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy, juris doctor, master’s, baccalaureate, and as­sociate degrees to students from 32 schools and colleges located in the U.S. and around the world.

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