Thanks and a CorrectionDear Editor:
I am writing for two purposes. The first is to thank you for reporting on the work done by Cardozo graduates in the wake of September 11th. It was interesting to read about the experiences of Joseph A. Inzerillo, Sarah F. Warren, Donald Scherer, and Andrew D. Leftt. When so many people wanted to help but could find no outlet for their efforts, all of the volunteers with whom I have spoken seem to be as grateful as I am to have had the opportunity to contribute.
The second reason for this letter is that a quote was incorrectly attributed to me in the article discussing my September 11th-related work. I never said, upon watching events unfold, "It just as easily could have been my building." This statement, erroneously attributed to me, gives the impression that my first thoughts were of myself and my building, and that simply was not the case. The truth is that what happened in lower Manhattan on September 11th happened, to varying degrees, to everyone, not only those who were in the World Trade Center buildings. It happened to every one of us who love this great city. Rather than focusing on my proximity to the disaster, my feelings about September 11th, and the effect that it had on me, have best been articulated in a letter sent to the Family Assistance Center in late September by D.J. Dixon of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She wrote to express her solidarity with New York, having lived through the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building half a continent away in 1995. The letter said, "Although the very souls of Oklahoma and the nation were rocked in 1995, we have come away with the understanding that life is precious, as is our freedom, and the knowledge that we, as a great nation, will overcome. Please know that whatever we have is yours, and our love, prayers, and support are with you now and forever. I will someday soon bring my grandbaby to see the most beautiful city in the world and walk the streets with her, unafraid and full of awe."
Jacqueline Haberfeld '91
More About Cardozo's First DeanDear Editor:
Gary Goldenberg's recent article describing Cardozo's very early formative years was remarkably successful in conveying the excitement, drama, difficulties, and successes of those first years. Golden--berg vividly paints the personality, style, and contributions of Cardozo's astonishing first dean, Monrad Paulsen. As admirable as Mr. Goldenberg's account is, though, it may be that one had to experience Monrad first hand to appreciate the full impact of the larger-than-life figure.
I met Monrad in the late winter of 1979, a few months before Cardozo graduated its first class. I was being considered for a faculty position, and he suggested that we have lunch at his apartment. Of course, I was completely knocked out at the thought of having lunch with this legendary figure at his Manhattan home. If I told you that I carefully picked out my suit that day, it would be a quiet understatement of my earnestness, but you might begin to feel the throbbing pulse I had that day. When I arrived at Monrad's apartment, I thought I was early or had the wrong day since I seemed to have caught him by surprise. Nonetheless, he offered me lunch--canned pork and beans--and a soda. It was surely not what I anticipated, but there was nothing about the encounter that was disappointing. From beginning to end, Monrad was all substance with a take-no-prisoners intellectual disposition.
What Monrad most wanted to know about me was whether I was a thinking person. He expressed concern that my views about important legal and public policy matters might be artificially cabined because I was at the time the acting executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Thus he probed: what did I think about this or that? And no matter what I answered there were follow-up questions, and then a new topic.
My responses must have been adequate because eventually Monrad's intellectual starch began to run out and he relaxed. As he did, he talked more about himself and his hopes for Cardozo. I can still recall our walk up Fifth Avenue as Monrad began to reveal his deep and emotional commitment to an inquiring and unhampered mind. Although he surely had his preferences and values, he did not care much what I thought as long as I thought at all. In me, as in all the faculty applicants I observed him assess, Monrad was looking for something quite intangible, perhaps a spark that ignited an energetic response, an openness of mind, a freshness of spirit, or an imagination that surprised. Whatever it was, I felt during my time with him that Monrad was hunting for something that could not be easily defined.
I am not sure what it was that Monrad thought he found in me. I am sure that in Monrad I found a most unusual person whose strengths, convictions, and commitments ran as deep as they were rare. Monrad was inspirational, ambitious, and courageous. He threw himself into his work and his people. He was determined to leave a powerful imprint on Cardozo and the people who filled its classrooms and hallways, and he did. Without Monrad, Cardozo would not have been or become the law school that it was or became. And with Monrad, we have memories and a tradition that are joyful and uplifting.