RABBI DAVID TSEVI HOFFMANN ON ORTHODOX INVOLVEMENT WITH THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY

Marc B. Shapiro writes in 1999:

When, in the early 1920’s, serious planning for a Jewish University in Jerusalem got underway, the Orthodox community was put into a quandary. The notion of a university in Jerusalem in which heretical ideas, in particular biblical criticism, were taught was not something most Orthodox Jews could easily stomach. As can be imagined, there were great protests by many leading East European scholars, which reached their peak around the time or the April I, 1925, formal inauguration of the institution. Adding to the consternation of the Orthodox leaders was that many of the university’s partisans viewed its inauguration in almost Utopian terms, even affixing the verse “For out of Zion shall come forth Torah” to the new university.1

Not surprisingly, the German Orthodox followers of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, whose commitment to secular studies was equaled by their strident opposition to Wissenschart des Judentums and organizational affiliation with the non-Orthodox, were very vocal in this battle, for them, while it was entirely proper, in accordance with the Torah im Derekh Erets ideal, to attend a non-Jewish university, it was absolutely forbidden to have any involvement with a Jewish university in which heresy was countenanced.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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