Pataki Becomes Yeshiva
an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on New York Gov. George Pataki,
Yeshiva University president Dr. Norman Lamm
praised him for his public service, compassion and political achievements.
“You stand tall,” Lamm said to the governor who towered over everyone
on the dais.
brought chuckles from the audience of 1,000 at YU’s 75th
annual dinner and convocation at Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria. It was the
most successful dinner ever; bringing $1.4 million, according to board
chairman David Gottesman.
Herbert Dobrinsky, vice president for academic affairs, stood on
tiptoes to place the hood on the governor’s shoulders. “I better
duck,” said Pataki.
Lamm read the honorary citation, praising the governor as a lawyer, farmer
and politician, Pataki raised his diploma and exclaimed, “Now I am a
Marilyn Resnick Katz, Rae Kushner, Dr. Edward
Steinberg and Jay
and Jeanie Schottenstein
also received diplomas.
made me feel at home,” Pataki said. “Growing up in Peekskill, I’ve
always had a close relationship with educational institutions and Jewish
His political philosophy, he
said, concerns good government, and that is not about left or right, but
aside all notions of left and right,” he said, “we were able to
approve a $1,75 billion environmental bond act to make New York a better
place for our children. That’s not moving New York left or right, but
highlight of the dinner was the presentation of the first annual Academic
Program of the Year Award. It went to the Innocence Project at the
Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. The program, founded in 1992 by attorney Barry
Scheck and adjunct professor Peter
Neufeld, assists 300 individuals
each year, in prison and on death row, who believe their innocence can be
proved through DNA testing.
Fritz, of Kansas City,
Missouri, who served 12 years in prison on a murder charge that was
finally overturned after a DNA test, came to the dinner to thank Scheck
find it beyond words to express how I feel to be a free man again,” he
don’t have a perfect judicial system. Even though I got shafted, I still
believe we have the best system in the world.”
said Scheck used DNA “to disprove the maxim that where there’s smoke
there’s fire. Too often the smoke is just fog.
Innocence Project has its roots in Jewish tradition. The Rambam
maintained that it is better to free 1,000 sinners than imprison one