When My Father was Rejected from Every Med School

When My Father was Rejected from Every Med School

I don’t like telling my Dad disappointing news, so it took me until today to tell him that his granddaughter didn’t get accepted to a single university.

And then I had a niggling of a memory that my Dad had had a hard time himself getting into medical school. So I asked him to remind me of the story, and this was what he told me:
“I was a chemistry major instead of a pre-med major in college, and that made it very hard to get into med school. I applied to several schools, but was rejected by all of them. My father, as you know, was a dentist, and he had a patient who had a friend who was on the board of Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn. This patient told his friend on the board, ‘This young man was one of only 30 students from New York City to win a prestigious scholarship for academic excellence, how can Downstate possibly not make room for him?'”
Now, 60 years later, this story seems unbelievable. How’s it possible that my father, a pioneer in digital cancer detection who developed technology that’s saved (at least!) thousands of lives, almost didn’t become a doctor?
But on a personal level, it’s even more unbelievable to me, because if it wasn’t for my grandfather’s patient who had a friend, my Dad would not have met my Mom, a fellow med student, in the Downstate cafeteria one fateful afternoon.
Today, it’s hard to imagine the devastation my father must have felt 60 years ago when not a single med school deemed him worthy to enable him to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor.
And now 60 years later, it’s as clear as day that if not for that devastation, my father would not have met his beloved wife of 54 years, or been the father of 3 children named John, Miriam, and Jenny Anne.
All of which plants hope in my heart that, within the current disappointment, lay hidden future blessings, please God.


  1. Beautiful. We honestly don’t know what Hashem has in store for us. May your daughter and you find strength in that poignant family story.

  2. I read both of your posts about your daughter not getting accepted to university. Thank you for honestly sharing your struggle and your emuna. May your trust in G-d be a zchut for you and your family, and may you see only good things sprout forth.
    May we hear besorot tovot in the future!

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