Page 119 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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PINKHOS CHURGIN
1894-1957
By
S i d n e y
B.
H o e n i g
R
ARE IS THE MAN of thought who is also a man of action
and seldom does the idealist realize the fulfillment of his
own dream. To Dr. Pinkhos Churgin these blessings were
vouchsafed. From earliest youth the different facets of learning,
research, love of the student and yearning for Zion were imbued
in his soul. In speech and in writing, in thought and in action
were these facets always emblazoned.
Born in Pohost, Russia, November 25, 1894, son of Rabbi
Reuven Yonah, Pinkhos Churgin migrated to Eretz Yisrael
in 1905 with his parents, who were ardent Zionists. After his
Bar Mitzvah, he went alone to study at Voloshin, Russia, return-
ing to Jerusalem when he was eighteen. From these two centers
of learning—Voloshin and Jerusalem—the seed of loyalty to
Torah education sprouted. He came to the United States in
1915 and studied at Clark College and at Yale, demonstrating
there his deep devotion to his teacher, Professor Charles C.
Torrey. In 1922 he obtained his Ph.D. for his work,
Targum
Jonathan to the Prophets
(Yale Oriental Series: Researches XIV).
In 1921 Dr. Churgin associated himself with the Rabbi Isaac
Elchanan Theological Seminary, beginning nearly four decades
of guidance to students. Appointed by Dr. Bernard Revel to
the position of Dean of its Beth Medrash l’Morim, he enriched
Jewish education by his administration as a dedicated teacher
and educator. All his life he was a “teacher of teachers.” He
served as Senior Professor of Jewish History and Literature in
the expanding Yeshiva University and, particularly, in its
Graduate School, training young scholars in their research and
studies. He was an original member of the New York Board
of License for Jewish teaching personnel and the founder of
the Va’ad Ha-Hinuch Ha-Hareidi, which later became the
educational arm of the Mizrachi Organization of America. With
the formation of the Jewish Book Council of America, he was
active as vice president and member of the Executive Board and
editor of the Hebrew Section of the
Jewish Book Annual .
Simultaneously he was very active in the foundation of the
Hebrew Teachers Training School for Girls (now affiliated with
Yeshiva University as the Teachers Institute for Women).
Dr. Churgin’s realization of the need for guidance and im-
plementation in the furtherance of Jewish education in the
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