By: The Boston Jewish Advocate  | 

Rabbis In Training (Vol. 1, Issue 10)

(Reprinted from the editorial column of the Boston Jewish Advocate, December 14, 1935.)

There has just come, to our hand a most unique and fascinating journal—a paper which we have read and re-read with ever-increasing amazement and surprise. We, refer to “The Commentator” the official student organ of the Yeshiva College in New York.

Keeping in mind the rigidly orthodox platform of the Yeshiva, we expected to find the paper devoted to solemn and somewhat involved treatises on Talmudic law, with occasional admonitions towards adherence to traditional Judaism

Nothing could be further from the truth. The paper is as alive, as full of pep, dash and gossip as any collegiate publication. One of the features of the issue is the sport page, narrating the exploits of the Yeshiva College basketball team. The rabbinical sports editor has apparently mastered sports language as his headlines read, “Frosh Smear Juniors in Surprising Upset,” or “Seniors Rally Nips Freshmen,” or “Basketball Varsity Shows Power in Mopping Up Engelberg’s Quintet.” 

A sizeable ad informs us that the Yeshiva College next plays Brooklyn Pharmacy. It seems rather startling to think of orthodox rabbis in shorts on a gymnasium floor playing basketball. “Rabbi Rosencranz dribbles down the floor and tries for a basket,” an announcer might say, “Rabbis Goldman and Cohen come to blows and Coach Rabbi Silverman rushes to separate them.” Startling indeed!

An editorial informs us that the students resent the appointment of a new professor to the philosophy department where he is not needed, while they gave petitioned for. more instructors in the popular Education and Embryology courses. A strike is threatening in the Greek department where a popular professor has been replaced by another man whom the students feel would be a greater asset to the Hebrew and Talmudic departments.

Another headline: “Hapoel Hamizrachi Greets Freshmen With Billows of Smoke, Cake, Speakers, Dances, and a Veteran.” More rabbinical, perhaps is the story headed “Students Jam Synagogue for Peace.” 

A most revealing paper indeed! Gone are the days when the orthodox rabbi was characterized by long beard, “payeth,” and …[illegible]... withdrawal from the common …[illegible]... life. Today our young rabbis-in-training attend smokers, play basketball, study embryology, and are just as collegiate as students of engineering, lawyer business administration. Nore do we regret the change. Our rabbis are now, in addition to being learned, mere human and more understanding of human problems. The requirements of …[illegible]... office are such to demand social …[illegible]... training and wide contacts, as …[illegible]... Talmudic erudition.