By: Commentator Staff  | 

From the Commie Archives: The Opening of Furst Hall

Editor’s Note: Yeshiva University has recently announced the renaming of Furst Hall to the Belz Building. Below is a pair of 1962 Commentator articles detailing the opening ceremony of Furst Hall, which was dedicated by Sol and Hilda Furst. 


Title: From the Commie Archives (November 1, 1962; Volume 56, Issue 2) — Furst Gives Million To Yeshiva U. Drive

Author: Commentator Staff

Yeshiva’s Blueprint for the Sixties development program got another substantial boost toward its thirty million dollar goal Oct. 19, upon receipt of a million dollar gift from Mr. Sol Furst. This is the fourth million-dollar gift donated to the development program since it was launched in the spring of last year.

Mr. First, in presenting the gift, said: “I am delighted to contribute to the advancement of a cause which is uppermost in my mind — religion education. Only through an intensive Jewish education can we hope to train a future generation loyal to the precepts of our noble heritage and at the same time richly endowed to serve this wonderful country as loyal citizens. For me, Yeshiva University has always exemplified the highest ideals of Judaism and democracy, the ideals I cherish most.”

Acknowledging the gift, Dr. Belkin stated that Mr. Furst was helping Yeshiva meet a national need by building now to meet the needs of the future. He added: “We are equally encouraged by the fact that Jewish laymen in particular are developing an increasing awareness of the needs of Jewish education. As a religious Jew, Mr. Furst understands this well and is acting with resourcefulness and generosity in a manner we hope will set an example for others to emulate.” 

Dr. Belkin announced that the University’s new three million dollar classroom and administration building will be named Sol and Hilda Furst Hall in recognition of their leadership and generosity. 

Mr. Furst, who is the founder and former president and board-chairman of the Circle Wire and Cable Corporation, came to the United States from Czechoslavakia in 1908, at the age of fifteen. He immediately started attending high school classes at night, and at the age of eighteen, with his two cousins, opened a small electrical supply store on Avenue A in New York City. From this small beginning, Mr. Furst was able to found in 1920 the Circle Wire and Cable Co., which became one of the largest manufacturers of electrical wire in the world. He served as president and chairman of the board from the firm’s founding until its sale in 1955 to Circo de Pasco Corporation. Mr. Furst is now engaged in private investments.       


Title: From the Commie Archives (November 1, 1962; Volume 56, Issue 2) — New Building Is Dedicated; Javitz Addresses Conclave

Author: Commentator Staff

Yeshiva University dedicated its new $3 million, five-story classroom and administration building Sunday afternoon as the Sol and Hilda Furst Hall. Mr. and Mrs. Furst gave $1 million toward the $30 million expansion program two weeks ago.  

Sunday’s ceremonies began with tours of the new building, followed by a luncheon in the Harry and Sara Silver Lecture Hall of the new building. After being greeted by various University representatives, fifty-three Master Builders, each of whom contributed $18,000 or more to the expansion program, received plaques for “exemplary service to higher education and to the Jewish community.” 

The public portion of the ceremony began on Danciger Campus at 2:30 P.M. with the singing of the national anthem and the Hatikvah by Cantor Moshe Koussevitsky. He was accompanied by Dr. Karl Adler, conducting the University Philharmonic Ensemble. Rabbi Arthur Schnieder of Congregation Zichron Ephraim delivered the invocation.

Chairman of the Development Committee Louis J. Glickman, extended greetings and Myron A. Minskoff, chairman of the Dedication Day and prominent New York builder, praised the development of the Jewish community, exemplified by Yeshiva’s expansion.

Joseph Rappoport ‘63, president of the Yeshiva College Student Council, represented the student body in thanking those who have contributed to the expansion of Yeshiva University from its earliest days as Yeshiva Eitz Chaim, founded in 1886. 

The next speaker was Mrs. Anita Rothman, president of the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization, who extended greetings from her organization. Then Rabbi Herschel Schacter, president of the Rabbinic Alumni of Yeshiva, cited the custom of reciting the “shehecheyanu” at the dedication of a new building and showed that the blessing has triple significance. First, it is recited in thanks for sustaining us physically to this day. Second, it is recited in thanks for sustaining us spiritually to this day. Third, it is recited in thanks for this dedication as a symbol for future success.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. Max Etra praised the generosity of Sol and Hilda Furst, emphasizing their continued devotion in supporting the school and its ideals. Mrs. Furst, aided by Mr. Furst and Dr. Belkin, cut the ribbon, officially opening the new building. Mr. Etra went on to say that today’s ceremonies have a multiple significance. The most profound significance, he said, “lies in the reaffirmation by the leaders of the Jewish community of their faith in Yeshiva University’s traditions and ideals.” Scrolls of the reaffirmation were then placed in the cornerstone of the new dormitory to be constructed at the main academic center. It was the desire of the Master Builders, he said, that dedication of a completed building mark the inception of the next. 

Senator Jacob Javitz, who gave the principal address of the day, praised Yeshiva’s development in which he was glad to play a major part. 

In the main body of his address he suggested that the next “hot spot” on the world scene would be the Middle East. With the Russian buildup of Egypt with arms, Israel must seek aid from our government. He cited the United States’ shipment of small rockets to Israel: “... we cannot pretend that the arms inbalance will be corrected by United States’ shipment of … Hawk missiles to Israel … However, this does indicate that at long last there is a recognition that Israel is at a disadvantage in the Middle East…” He suggested that this shipment would set a precedent in future U.S.-Israel relations. 

Comptroller Abraham Beame congratulated Yeshiva University on its step forward and Cantor Koussevitsky concluded the ceremonies singing some Jewish numbers.

Photo Caption: The Commentator Archives 

Photo Credit: The Commentator