By: Benjamin Hirsch  | 

The President Speaks: Our Guide to Action (Vol. 25, Issue 4)

A successful organization must have a philosophy of purpose. Unfortunately, many organizations flounder about with no set direction, no goal, no purpose and no such philosophy. My aim in Council this year is to establish a sound raison d’etre. Our purpose must be to show by virtue of our actions the true meaning of traditional Judaism. 

Our University is the citadel of orthodoxy in America. We all believe in the idea — that’s why we are here and not at Columbia, Harvard, or Yale. We must show ethically and spiritually the superiority of our mode of life. This is our purpose, our raison d’etre. This is not a religious revival, rather it is the reawakening of our responsibility to the Jewish community. This is the reason for Council’s stand on the pool hall, cheating and religious responsibility, and this was the reason why a Student Council committee was sent to Rabbi Soloveitchik for his advice on the S.Z.O. controversy. No longer will S.C. shirk its responsibilities. We can no longer be silent and yet truly represent you. Our work is too important. The letters, phone calls and congratulations that I have received from various Jewish leaders leave no doubt that this work must be continued. The Orthodox Jewish Community want us to join them in asserting the superiority of traditional Judaism. This we must do. 

Program of Religious Zionism 

It follows that if we accept the above philosophy we must accept Rabbi Soloveitchik’s advice. We must bring to Yeshiva College a dynamic, living program of religious Zionism. We must still the cynics cries of “it can’t be done; why waste time?” We must do it with hard work and dedication to our ideals. 

Religious Zionism is a single concept, it is the only Zionism. Our claim to Israel stems from the Torah, and if we accept this principle of Torah we must accept all the responsibility that goes with it. No cynic can tell me that Zionism is dead at Yeshiva, here, where three times a day we voice our belief that God shall return us to Zion. 

Religious Zionism must become a living Principle that takes hold in our minds and our hearts. We need no social organization, no pompous speaker, no elaborate budget to tell us of Artzaynu Ha’Kadosha. All student leaders have pledged to me that they will actively campaign for a Religious Zionist Club and we will, please God, make it a reality. 

There has also been much talk of “breaking down the walls of the ghetto — becoming more like the other people.” I’m always reminded of the story of four Jewish boys who were walking in the street, and some rowdies yelled “Jew” in a derogatory fashion. One boy said, “They’re insulting us,” the second said, “Let’s fight,” the third said, “They want to hit us; let’s run,” but the fourth said, “No, they’re complimenting us; they realize we’re Jews.” This attitude must be ours; we must always be proud of our heritage. Throughout life we must have this dual honor and responsibility.