Budding scholar Meyer May was a soon-to-be high school graduate when he was offered a coveted slot in Johns Hopkins seven-year BA/MD program.
This was an offer that didn’t come around every day, especially for a young man dreaming of becoming a doctor. But Meyer’s father wasn’t wealthy and couldn’t afford the steep tuition Johns Hopkins charged. So the resilient young man enrolled in Rutgers University instead; an Ivy League-level school he could attend free of charge as a local New Jersey resident. He figured that if he could get into such a high caliber medical school right after high school, he could certainly get into a prestigious one after college, too.
The phone call between him and Dr. Earle Clifford, PhD, the Rutgers University Dean of Student Affairs, was initially just to set up his freshman schedule and ensure he had Fridays free, in order to arrive home in time for Shabbos. What he received instead was a few words of advice that would change his life.
After discussing the ripe campus climate and the impact of the Vietnam War on student life versus a scholarship to study in Israel, Dean Clifford told Meyer in no uncertain terms: “If you want to be a doctor, enroll in Rutgers. If you want to be a mentch… go to Israel.”