Page 22 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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12
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Canadian social structure was ripe for the rapid growth of
Jewish scholarship on every level, and I urged the student body
to think increasingly of academic careers in the broad and grow­
ing field of Jewish studies. As I pu t it then (1957) :
The growing maturity of American Jew ry may be found
also in the field of Jewish education. . . . This means that
the need for educators and teachers is becoming increasingly
urgent. . . . Never before have Jewish scholars been needed
in this country as now, and this need w ill continue to grow
greater. . . . W e here can no longer depend on European
Yeshivot and Gymnasiums and universities to produce our
Jewish scholars; neither can Israel fill the gap. W e must
educate our Jewish scholars ourselves. There is indeed a
great future for Judaism, and for Jewish educators and
scholars in America.
And in 1965, at the Fourth W o rld Congress of Jewish Studies
in Jerusalem, I stated publicly my conviction that the Jewish
scholarship explosion in the United States and Canada was al­
ready at hand. I said (The Jerusalem Post, August 4, 1965, p. 4):
Back in the U.S. one cannot fail to remark on the new
younger generation of Jewish scholars. . . . Fresh fields of
Jewish research are being opened up, and vita l knowledge
is being added by these young scholars—many still in their
thirties. Their presence and their contribution is the out­
come of a “Scholarship Explosion” that has taken place in
North American Jewry, 80 per cent of whose high school
graduates go on to college nowadays. This phenomenon may
well produce the most promising period of Jewish learning
in all our history. Rooted in the unprecedented social,
economic, and political status of this major Jewry, the
“Scholarship Explosion” came on the heels of the Holo­
caust and coincided with the rebirth of Jewish nationhood;
both these happenings helped supply raison d ’etre to the
tremendous spurt of activity that has electrified the Ameri­
can communities. . . .
As we look about today, we find ourselves desperately in need
of younger men and women to fill the positions opening up in
the departments of Jewish Studies on the undergraduate level