“Let ‘Em Eat Cake” (Vol. 1, Issue 4)
Rumors that Yeshiva College intended to establish a Department of Business Administration next term were finally confirmed last week. This decision clearly shows the ambition of the authorities in their efforts to expand the College. Nevertheless, we feel that this step is of such magnitude as to warrant searching student criticism and analysis.
Let us state at the outset that we recognize in the Business Department a very fine extension of the ideal of Yeshiva College. To train intelligent Jewish laymen rather than made-to-order rabbis should be the ultimate goal of the institution. The time, however, is not ripe for expansion.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established for the purpose of harmonizing secular and religious knowledge. We have pointed out on innumerable occasions that the College is absolutely failing to realize this synthesis. The duty of the administration to Orthodoxy in general and to Yeshiva in particular lies in the intensification of their efforts to strengthen the College as presently constituted rather than in experimentation and extension. It is indeed a strange sight to witness the authorities venturing into new fields before they have in any measure succeeded in achieving their original avowed purpose.
The establishment of this new department can but result in a dissipation of energy — energy that must be concentrated on a Solution of more important problems. At a time when every force in the institution must be brought to bear on the development of a more Jewish spirit in the College, it is a betrayal of the ideal of Yeshiva College to expand through the addition of business courses.
The admission to the new department of students who have had but little elementary training in Hebrew and Jewish Studies will result, we fear, in a lowering of the standards of the institution, and will bring about an even greater secularization of the College. Until the time when the College through the formulation of a more integrated program will exercise a more healthy influence on its students, it is inadvisable, we feel, to open the doors to the general public. It is true that these new students will be required to take several courses of a Jewish nature. Yeshiva College, however, should stand for something higher in Jewish education than the equivalent of a Talmud Torah training. In reply to our demands for more Jewish courses, we have been told that the College is in no position to expand. Yet the Administration candidly announces this new department for next term.
We realize that the program involves the addition of only a few courses during the first year or two. The College, however, obligates itself by its action to the establishment in the future of a complete department qualified to grant the degree in Business Administration.
The Commentator pointed out in its last issue the fact that Yeshiva College has broken from its moorings and is drifting rapidly from its lofty ideals. We asserted that the de-emphasis of the Jewish aspect of the institution is tending to make the College more myth than reality. We stressed the vital need for an integrated curriculum embodying many more subjects of a Jewish nature than are being offered at present. We, as students, had the right to expect that any attempts at expansion would take place in the directions we had indicated.
Nevertheless, the authorities choose to disregard the crisis that exists in Yeshiva College today. They propose instead to add to the College a department, which, as we have seen, is of dubious value from any angle. At any event, many vastly more important measures must be taken before the College is ready for expansion.
The student body demands the addition to the curriculum of vital courses in Jewish studies. The answer of the Administration is that the program will be augmented by banking, accounting, and business. We clamor for bread, and the authorities reply, “Let ‘em eat cake!”