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Reflections on Leadership

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Last week I received the sad news that a cousin in Jerusalem had died of Coronavirus. Our parents were first cousins and unsurprisingly we had a similar upbringing; Modern Orthodox homes, educated in venerable selective British schools, he in Sunderland, I in London, both gaining places at Cambridge University but taking a gap year off first to study in yeshiva (rabbinical college) in Israel.

But there the similarities ended. I came out of yeshiva after a year with more questions than answers Eric, however took to yeshiva like a duck to water. My last meeting with him was about fifty years ago. He had just decided to turn down his place at Cambridge. I did not get the impression that this was a difficult decision. Secular education had no value and the secular world no attraction for him. He carried on studying in the yeshivah attaining great distinction and finally marrying the boss’s daughter and succeeding to the post of rosh yeshiva – head of the academy. From Eric Cohen, he morphed into Harav (and eventually Hagaon) Yecheskel Koren Kornstadt. Always a funny and modest person, he joked that he won out over the other candidates because he had Latin and Greek A levels.

Life was not all smooth, however, and in his early 30s, he developed testicular cancer. He was recommended treatment in Israel which would have made him sterile — at the time he had two children. There was however an alternative treatment on offer in England which would not have had that........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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