By: Y.B.I.  | 

Agudath HoRabonim Attempting ‘Smear’ Campaign Against Yeshiva (Vol. 6, Issue 10)

The article which follows has been carefully checked as to reliability,and its authenticity is unimpeachable. Because of unscrupulous use of intimidation against those bearing damaging evidence regarding Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik’s record and character, the Commentator is compelled to hold its sources confidential and is permitted to release them only to the Board of Directors upon a formal request. 

Driving relentlessly to impose a man of its choice in the position of Rosh Yeshiva, the Agudath HoRabonim has been making every effort to force the appointment of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, it was ascertained. Claiming the position to be his on the principle of “Hazoka,” the Agudath HoRabonim has decreed that Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik has an hereditary ownership which supersedes any evaluation of his past record or of his basic character traits. 

To the claims that arrogance, intolerance, high-handedness, dictatorial procedure, and the general inability to cooperate for the good of the whole world disrupt the harmony of the institution and the morale of the student body, the Agudath HoRabonim has refused to display any interest. It has steadfastly opposed analysis of the manifestation of these basic deficiencies in Rabbi Soloveitchik’s character in Boston, which, if true, would automatically disqualify a person from the influential position of teacher in any institution.

Board Receives Ultimatum

Considering the Board of Directors as the determining body in appointments, the A.H. informed the Board of its choice of Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik as new president, immediately after the passing of Dr. Bernard Revel, of sainted memory. This notification was followed within a few days with an ultimatum to the Board that Rabbi Soloveitchik be chosen or the Yeshiva would suffer dire consequences. Resentment by the Directors resulted in rejection of the ultimatum, with a statement that the Board had not yet relinquished authority of appointment to any outside organization. 

With the death of Rabbi Moses Soloveitchik, the Agudath HoRabonim demanded the immediate appointment of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik to the position of his father, refusing to consider qualifications or other candidates. 

The establishment of a temporary board to administer the Yeshiva, pending a study of the best possible permanent appointment, was bitterly resented by the A.H. It immediately began to sabotage the administration of Yeshiva affairs. During the week of March 2, it reached into the organization of Yeshiva by threats and intimidation in an attempt to force the resignation of the temporary committee and to cause student agitation for its candidate. 

A.H Threatens ‘Smear Campaign’

Threatening the Yeshiva with a “smear” campaign which would forever destroy its position in American Orthodox life, in a final ultimatum to the Directors, the Agudath HoRabonim gave Monday, March 17, as the date for the choice of Rabbi Soloveitchik. The Board has not officially indicated its intentions to accede to this demand. 

A virtual blockade of Yeshiva has been initiated by the A.H., led by Rabbis Rozenberg, Seltzer and Coterie. All possible rabbis of world-renown, qualified to deliver visiting lectures at Yeshiva until a new appointment is made, have been contacted by the Agudath HoRabonim as well as by Rabbi Soloveitchik. They have been effectively cautioned against having any connection with Yeshiva until the appointment of Rabbi Soloveitchik is forced through.

Rabbi Soloveitchik had let it be known that, if appointed to his father’s position, he would not recognize any existing superior authority in the Yeshiva proper. It is intimated in certain quarters that for Rabbi Soloveitchik the position of Rosh Yeshiva would merely be a stepping-stone to the presidency of Yeshiva and Yeshiva College.

It is also suggested that until Yeshiva can provide him as Rosh Yeshiva or as president with the amount of his present earnings from “Kashruth” in Boston — which has been quoted from $7,500 to $10,000 per year —, Rabbi Soloveitchik, does not intend to relinquish his “Kashruth” connections, despite the inadvisability of such connections by a head of Yeshiva.