Last month, Dr. Jack Goodkin of Newbury Park, CA celebrated his birthday. When you reach Dr. Goodkin’s age, every birthday is unique. Born on April 19, 1918, in Chicago, Dr. Goodkin is the oldest known living HTC alumnus today. Born five years before the Yeshiva opened in 1922, Dr. Goodkin grew up on the old West Side of Chicago in the Jewish Lawndale neighborhood. In 1931, after his bar mitzvah at the Makaraver Rebbe's Shteibel of the late Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Twersky zt"l, he attended Hebrew Theological College, then on Douglas Boulevard, where he learned Torah after a full day of public school at the Theodore Herzl Junior College. He recalls that he studied Bava Kama and Bava Metziah with the famous Rabbi Mordechai Schultz zt"l, and enjoyed his time at the Yeshiva very much. In a video recorded this past year, Dr. Goodkin still remembered the student chant from 92 years ago, "One, two, three, who are we? We are the boys from HTC! We are rough, we are tough, we learn gemara and we know our stuff!" He recalled in a recent conversation with Rabbi Josh Zisook, Director of Alumni Affairs, that he davened in the Lubavitcher shul on 16th street and attended the Agudas Tiferes Bachurim minyan with the famous welterweight boxing champion, Barney Ross. During his college years, he married Lilian Sheffner, the daughter of Dr. Nathan Sheffner, who served as the president of the Labor Zionist Movement in Chicago. Dr. Goodkin recalls a time when a schoolteacher from Milwaukee named Golda Myerson came to visit his father-in-law; she would become the famous Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel and first female head of government in the Middle East.
Dr. Goodkin studied pre-med at the Illinois Institute of Technology and went on to the Chicago College of Osteopathy and transferred to the College of Osteopathy in Los Angeles, CA. He earned two medical degrees, a degree of Doctor of Osteopathy and a Doctor of Medicine degree. Dr. Goodkin practiced family medicine and specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology, delivering more than 3000 babies. Today, Dr. Goodkin is retired and loves to daven and learn with Rabbi Schneur Schneerson, Rabbi of Chabad of Newbury Park, a town an hour from Los Angeles. He says his secret to his old age is that he is a vegetarian and when asked about how he gets his protein, he proudly proclaims, "I eat my herring!" He is a sharp and witty individual who loves to tell jokes and share cute puns. He has a beautiful outlook on life and is an inspiration to all who meet him. We wish Dr. Goodkin many more years of health and happiness! May he continue proudly singing, "One two Three, who are we? We are the boys from HTC!" for many years to come.