Taking Stock (Vol. 2, Issue 6)
The Yeshiva’s commemoration of its fiftieth anniversary should be an occasion for all of us to take stock, to consider what the Yeshiva has accomplished. during the half century of its development and to discover in, what respects it has as yet failed to achieve its full purpose.
We believe that the Yeshiva has fully demonstrated that Torah can gain a firm foothold in America. By training hundreds of young American men in our spiritual and legal traditions, thus forming the nucleus for an intelligent Torah-true Jewish community, and by producing leaders to guide American Jewry, through the maze of its religious perplexities it has helped give Torah a definite status in the Jewish life of America.
Moreover, the Yeshiva has attempted as far as possible to perpetuate the great tradition of scholarship of the European yeshivoth. It may with pride claim to have served faithfully as the depository of our cultural heritage.
With the formation of Yeshiva College, a great stride forward was made. Torah was to be not an isolated factor but a central point with which were to be coordinated the streams of world culture. In spite of the fact that as yet we are far from full attainment of this goal, Yeshiva is moving steadily in that direction
Unfortunately, we have succeeded only in preserving Torah, not in revivifying it. Even to many Yeshiva students Jewish tradition merely subsists as an inert element in their lives. As a culture, it may be to an extent integrated with contemporary cultural forces; as a motivating force it has been impotent. We have not emphasized its contact point with
Torah will not become a vital factor in contemporary life if merely transmitted to students in schools. It is necessary to begin a project of creative scholarship which will not merely be devoted to the study of body of Jewish learning and law but ‘will organize and propound it with an eye to its application in contemporary life.
Yeshiva must go on not merely to give courses to students, bit to evolve an academic tradition expressing a definite approach and a distinct philosophy. It must develop from a school into a center of Jewish intellectual activity where professors and scholars will interpret values in terms of this tradition and seek means for there concretion.
This, we understand to be the ultimate aim of Yeshiva. We can start at once in this direction if thorough sympathy and understanding is established between students, faculty and administration.