Очень приятно, что наш сайт читают не только на русском языке. Возможно, в будущем мы сделаем зеркальное отражение всего сайта на английском. А пока Аня Раковер любезно предоставила нам свой рассказ о Борисе Давидовиче в английском варианте. Русскую версию этого рассказа вы можете посмотреть на страничке «Наши учителя»
Boris Davidovich Rakover
Boris Davidovich Rakover was born in Bessarabia on July 19, 1931. He was the youngest child in a large family. The years of World War II he spent in the foster home, these years made a huge impact on his life as a child and as an adult. He learned to appreciate kind people during these trying years of his life and learned to survive. He also understood that he had to build his future on his own through education: his immense hard work and persistence paved the way to the university.
I think the first real success in his professional life as a teacher of mathematics was establishment of specialized mathematical classes in the early sixties. These classes became extremely popular and children from all over the city of Kishinev tried their best to get in and be accepted. Nobody was denied a chance to try, but only the best, the most talented and dedicated kids stayed and were able to keep up with the work load of the program, which was designed by Boris Davidovich. The kids were given a chance to obtain not only advanced knowledge in mathematics, but also were given an opportunity to spend quality time with a person, who loved his profession, loved children and was very good and understanding with young people. During the tender teenage years, it is so important to have a role model that one can trust and not only look up to but also admire and love.
In 1968 Boris Davidovich completed and defended his dissertation in the Pedagogical Sciences. This is a very interesting point, even though his main subject expertise was in mathematics, he was really very good in teaching because he approached teaching as art, a science in itself. After completing this long and tedious work (having full time job as a teacher and being a full time husband and father of 2 young children), he moved further in his career and gradually left the School 34 and became full time professor of Mathematics at the Kishinev Polytechnic Institute. Position very well deserved! I have to admit he treasured his reputation; it was his asset and wealth. The reputation that he earned with hard and honest work during the Soviet time remained his asset in America as well. This is the truth about this country: determination, talent and desire to succeed are the qualities that on must possess in order to reach one’s goals. There was nothing more he wanted as to “stand by the blackboard with chalk”.
Our family moved to the United States of America in February 1980. My father lived in this country for 10 years, short time. But these were beautiful years in all aspects of his life: personal and professional. His four grandchildren were born in Rochester NY and his career took a tremendous turn upward. I will never forget how every minute of his free time he spent with English/Russian dictionaries, studying the new language. That was the first challenge he had to overcome – the language barrier. Relatively soon he landed a position of Professor Mathematics and Computer Sciences in St. John’s Fisher College in Rochester NY http://sjfc.edu/. He spent there 10 years, and again he got full recognition from his colleagues and from his numerous students. Boris Davidovich published numerous papers and actively participated in several international conferences as a presenter. One of them I remember especially well — the International Congress of Mathematicians in Budapest in 1988. He met his previous colleagues from Moscow – that was so unexpected and I would even say rewarding experience, because they had so much to talk about, there were so many questions, answers, stories, comparisons of Russian vs. American educational system and much more. Those who remember BDR know that he was very sociable and emotional person, always alive and full optimism! So, of course he enjoyed those times in Budapest to the fullest.
I also would like to reminisce about another event in his professional life when Boris Davidovich was nominated and selected as the Best Teacher of the year, this was 1986. This honor is so much more significant since he was nominated by his students – only student’s votes counted. This event was beautifully celebrated with banquets in his honor. He was very, very happy. Even though English language was so new to him, he communicated with his students without any problems, he exuded tremendous amount of energy and light which penetrated every soul and eyes looking at him. He did magic.
As many of you probably know, American professors have open hours, when they allocate certain times of the week (not even every day), when students can come in and ask questions.
BDR did not have office hours; it was more of the open door policy. If he was in the office, anyone could come in and ask questions, there were always tea, coffee and cookies. He really believed that one can’t study serious material being hungry, so that problem was always solved in his office.
My father passed away December 9th, 1990, he was very young and still full energy and plans for the future, which he could not realize. To this day, the college staff and his students remember him a “Russian professor”, who knew how to find a key to every student who wanted to learn and understand. I am very much familiar with American system of education, from my own experience and my children’s experience. Having said that, I am sure that BDR brought his own culture of teaching, which was met very enthusiastically by both his learning audience and colleagues.
He is also remembered as a brave and dedicated person; even during the most difficult and trying months and weeks of his life, he did everything and more in order to come to class and conduct one more lecture, just one more. In memory of Boris Davidovich Rakover, St. John’s Fisher College department of Mathematics and Computing Science established a scholarship fund for graduating seniors who show the most promise in the field. The excerpt below is depicts how this scholarship is described by the College Board:
“The graduating senior in the department (either in Mathematics or in Computer Science) who shows the most promise in the field, based on a number of criteria, is awarded the Boris David Rakover Award, named in memory of our distinguished colleague, Dr. Boris Rakover. Dr. Rakover had a long and distinguished career as a professor of mathematics in the former Soviet Union at the University of Khishinev in Moldova, emigrated to the United States and served on our faculty for a decade, earning the respect and admiration of his colleagues.”
A few weeks after the funeral, my Mother, David and I were invited to St’ John’s Fisher. People who personally new Boris Davidovich wanted to tell us their stories and reminisce about Boris. People were standing up one after another and telling us their experiences, there were also funny stories and I remember smiling through tears. It was celebration of his life, indeed!
My father could have much longer life, he could still work and make a lot of people happy. He could still enjoy his family and grandchildren who he adored so much; he could share with them his love of life, his love of mathematics and deliver his message to the next generation as he did to many of you, his students and to David and myself.
In one if his letters, Misha Nazarov said it very, very well:
As light of a far star already gone out, continues to shine many long years still, and memory of Boris Davidovich will remain in our hearts while we are live.
And from myself I just want to add that I am very grateful to all of you, to his pupils who so many years after knowing BDR, still remember him and love him. Thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.
Anna Rakover (Zheleznyak)
February 11, 2011
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