Back in the 1950s, Danny Thomas was a major TV star who had a successful comedy series on national television (CBS) called ‘Make Room for Daddy’ (Later changed to ‘The Danny Thomas Show’). The son of Maronite immigrants from Lebanon, read that a young medical student, the son of Chassidic immigrants from Ukraine, was struggling to pay his tuition, and donated the shortfall. As a result, countless lives were saved and made better by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski.
Rabbi Twerski described the story in an interview with the Pittsburgh Quarterly on November 19, 2007:
“By that time, I had several children, so my dad and some members of the congregation helped me to pay for school. I applied for a scholarship through a foundation, but it didn’t come through, so in my third year, I fell two trimesters behind on tuition.
One day, I called my wife at lunch as always, and she asked, “What would you do if you had $4,000?” I said, “I’m too busy to talk about fantasies.” She said, “But you really do have $4,000!” I said, “From where?” She said, “From Danny Thomas.” “Who’s Danny Thomas?” She said, “The TV star.”
Then she read me an article from The Chicago Sun. Local officials had told Mr. Thomas about a young rabbi who was struggling to get through medical school. Thomas asked, “How much does your rabbi need?” They said, “Four thousand dollars.” He said, “Tell your rabbi he’s got it.”
Rabbi Twerski was a prolific writer. He authored dozens of books on a wide array of subjects: from addiction and mental health to religious law for medical professionals and commentaries on Jewish texts. Twerski also collaborated with late “Peanuts” comic strip creator Charles Schulz on a series of popular self-help books featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy.