(Mortimer Zuckerman is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News & World Report and is the Chairman and co-publisher of the New York Daily News. He served until recently as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and continues to serve as a trustee for New York University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. He is a member of the Harvard Medical School Board of Visitors, the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.)
Mr. Zukerman, you had the opportunity recently to visit the Lakewood Yeshiva in Lakewood, New Jersey. Can you tell us what that was like?
MZ: It was at the behest of a rabbi I study with that I went and visited the Lakewood Yeshiva. I had never been to a yeshiva before in my life and I sort of did this out of some degree of curiosity but more out of a sense of moral support for what had been such a central part of this rabbi’s life but I have to tell you when I got there I was absolutely knocked out by it. I will tell you that it was the single most intellectually active, energetic, fascinating environment I had ever witnessed. There was a sort of buzz and just sheer concentration and joy in the learning process and it was literally visible to somebody like myself. I mean, I said it afterwards, it made Harvard Law School, which I happen to have attended, look like a kindergarten. It was absolutely extraordinary to see so many people – from various walks of life – in there for the sheer joy of learning about their religious tradition. And the sheer intensity and intellectual demands of this place made it such a unique place to visit. So for me, it was absolutely a stunning experience and I wish everybody could have the chance not only to visit it but to have a guide like I did.