By: The Commentator Editorial Board  | 

Must We Keep a Back Seat? (Vol. 1, Issue 4)

Few developments of the past year have impressed us as favorably as the growing interest being manifested by the student body in Zionism and Zionist problems. It marks the first expression of a widespread preoccupation on the part of Yeshiva students with the problems confronting us Jews today. Like most significant trends in Yeshiva College this year, this new development has received its impetus from the students rather than from “the powers that be.” 

The failure of Yeshiva College to push itself with any measure of forcefulness into the forefront of Orthodox Jewish life is directly attributable to the negligible interest it has evidenced on paramount: Jewish issues of the day. Problems of major importance have disrupted American Jewry and have become ancient history before Yeshiva seemed aware of their existence. American Orthodoxy looking to Yeshiva. for the expression of authoritative opinion in many instances, has been consistently disappointed. While other Jewish institutions, never hesitate to assert their viewpoint in various situations, Yeshiva College, morally bound to assume the leadership of Orthodoxy in such cases, has been conspicuously silent. Loss of prestige in the eyes of American Jewry and a corresponding weakening of its position are the toll Yeshiva is paying for its Sphinx-like silence. 

The sterility of Yeshiva College on modern Jewish problems is due, among other things, to the absence of appropriate media for the discussion of these problems. The authorities must realize that we must study Jewish life not only as it was lived in the past but as it is being and should be lived in the present. Until them, they can expect Yeshiva College to exercise little more than a meagre and negligible influence on Jewish life in general and on American Orthodoxy in particular.