Page 129 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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123
N
e u m a n
— C
y r u s
A
dler
Dr. Adler was reluctant to accept the full charge laid upon
him, and compromised by assuming the title of Acting-President.
But he finally yielded to the pressure of the responsible leaders
of the Seminary and to the wishes of the alumni, the Rabbinical
Assembly of America. He accepted full charge as President
of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and remained the dual
head of the Dropsie College and the Jewish Theological Seminary
until his death in April, 1940.
Two significant contributions to American Jewish letters date
from this period:
Jacob H . Schiff, His Life and Letters,
published
in two volumes by Doubleday, Doran and Company in 1929;
and
A Memorandum on the Western Wall ,
prepared for the
Special Commission of the League of Nations on behalf of the
Jewish Agency for Palestine, printed as a manuscript in 1930
by the Haddon Craftsmen of Camden, New Jersey.
More characteristic of his thinking and influence during these
mature years of his life were numerous addresses and letters
on public issues which have been preserved in writing and in
print. Some were sharply polemical. In the main, however, his
addresses dealt with non-provocative themes on which his views
were sought.
In these addresses he deliberately shunned the art and artifice
of oratory. Nor were they intended as literary masterpieces.
They expressed the wise statesman of careful utterance who
was decisive in the manner he sought to translate thought into
action. His addresses ranged over a wide spectrum: American
culture, Jewish scholarship, philanthropy, religion, and many
transitory themes of the day. Some were presented at the annual
convocations of the institutions over which he presided—Dropsie
College, the Seminary, the American Jewish Committee, and
others. They were adapted to the nature of the respective institu-
tions, and often expounded their claims to the attention
and support of the general Jewish community. At the Dropsie
College, the theme was usually related to the role of Jewish
scholarship. At the Seminary, he expounded the viewpoint of
conservative or traditional Judaism. Scholarship and religion
were his deepest commitments in life. In scholarship as in reli-
gion, his convictions were staunchly conservative. He was not an
innovator in the realm of the spirit. He was a traditionalist,
rarely singed by the fires of mysticism, or chilled by the cool
winds of rationalism.
Cyrus Adler’s Credo
The credo which he proclaimed in early manhood remained
steadfastly his confession of faith until the end of his days.