Page 120 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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American Jewish scene is best expressed in an article on “Jewish
All-Day Schools are Catching On.” There Dr. Churgin reveals
his capacity for educational action by outlining the plans for
general Jewish studies, uniformity of curriculae, establishment
of Hebrew high schools for adolescent education, opening of
kindergartens, increasing hours of instruction and proper text-
books for Orthodox learning. His optimistic nature is especially
noted in the last paragraph of that perspective:
“This may appear a very ambitious plan of activities, but we also
know that it is wholly essential. Improvement will not be accom-
plished by slow remedial action. Drastic and far reaching perform-
ance is imperative. We feel certain that this comprehensive plan will
insure a properly functioning system of Jewish religious education
and one to provide a secure existence for Orthodox Judaism in this
While pursuing his teaching, writing, administration and
guidance in education, he felt deeply the changes in the world
scene. The outpouring of his agony is expressed in an article
on “The Destruction of Polish Jewry.” Similarly, in
he wrote on “The Decline of the Polish Center.”
Here he stressed that in Galut there is little hope for the future,
a conviction he often uttered orally. Even in his scholarly works
his sentiment was enunciated, as in “Israel’s Exile in Babylon”
and “The Second Temple Era: An Era of Galut.” His joy on
the resurrection of the State of Israel is evidenced in an article
Hadoar ,
“Rising for Eternity.” Here one can perceive the
steps taken by the cloistered scholar to emerge eventually as
President of the Mizrachi Organization of the United States.
In 1945 Dr. Churgin’s
Targum Ke thub im
appeared, and in
Mekharim b’Tekufa t Bait Sheni,
(Studies on the Times
of the Second Temple). Here he aimed to bring new light on
problems of that crucial period. He especially demonstrated
that being subject to a foreign people had always cast a gloom
upon the Jewish people in the homeland and in the Diaspora.
Hence they were reluctant to rebuild the Temple. The gloom
of the Galut, a concept in scholarship which affected Dr. Chur-
gin’s active life and impressed him to the core, spurring on his
work for Bar-Ilan, is particularly evidenced in the chapter on
the historiography of the Second Temple Era. Therein he tells
us that the sparsity of works on Jewish history of that period
is due to lack of enthusiasm prevalent in the Galut. Only the
Hasmonean period brought forth writings, but these were of an
apologetic nature; much later the historical books of Philo and
Josephus appeared.
In time Dr. Churgin brought renewed vigor to the Mizrachi
Organization and conceived and crystallized the notion of a new
higher school of learning in Israel—Bar Ilan University. His
perspective is evident in some of his utterances: