Page 127 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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e u m a n
— C
y r u s
institution, religiously motivated, but non-theological and non-
sectarian in its academic program. The advancement of Hebrew
scholarship and research in Bible and rabbinics was to be the
primary aim of the college, but Semitic studies were also con-
sidered essential to the understanding of Jewish thought and
its historic development. The program was broad enough to
utilize Adler’s diversified talents and held out the promise of a
renaissance of Jewish learning and culture in America. Here
was the realization of his early dreams, when he pleaded in the
columns of the
American Hebrew
for an American Jewish
From then on the Dropsie College and Philadelphia became
the center of his life. In Philadelphia his roots were deeply
planted, emotionally and intellectually. To the College he gave
form and substance. In turn, the Dropsie College presidency
formalized the nature of his future leadership in the American
Jewish community. As he became the symbol of the Dropsie
College, so in turn its high scholarly prestige, the only graduate
institution of higher Jewish learning in America, defined his
position: a lay Jewish scholar who spoke with knowledge and
authority, a devout religionist without rabbinical pretensions,
a striking and impressive personality with statesmanlike vision
and far-reaching influence in many important circles, Jewish
and non-Jewish.
Shortly after the establishment of the Dropsie College, Dr.
Adler seized an opportunity for a masterly stroke on behalf of
Jewish scholarship in America. The
Jewish Quarterly Rev iew,
published in England under the editorship of Israel Abrahams
and Claude G. Montefiore, was about to cease publication after
a notable career of twenty years. Dr. Adler promptly offered to
save the
by taking over the magazine as an organ of
the Dropsie College. In time, the
became the sole
survivor among the non-Hebrew magazines devoted to Jewish
scholarship in all its ramifications; all the others succumbed
under the ravages of war, Fascism, and Nazism.
The inauguration of the Dropsie College in 1908 synchronized
with the launching of a new translation of the Bible for Amer-
ican and English-speaking Jewry throughout the world by the
Jewish Publication Society in conjunction with the Central
Conference of American Rabbis. The Board of Editors was chosen
with a view to giving equal representation to conservative and
reform Judaism, with Dr. Solomon Schechter and Dr. Kaufmann
Kohler, respectively, as the chief spokesmen for the two ideologies.
Cyrus Adler, head of the Dropsie College and therefore ideolo-
gically non-partisan, was chosen chairman of the Editorial Board.
Professor Max L. Margolis, Dropsie College Professor of Biblical
Literature, served as editor-in-chief and secretary to the