Page 147 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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FABER / ROBERT GORDIS
141
Rabbinical Assembly,
1969, p. 138). The main locus of his academic
endeavor has been the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he
taught Bible and philosophy of religion since 1931, first as lec­
turer in the College of Jewish Studies, then since 1937 in the
Rabbinical School, followed by a professorship during 1940 -
1969. In addition to his association with the Seminary, he served
on the faculties of other leading institutions of learning: adjunct
professor of religion at Columbia University, 1948 -1957 ; profes­
sor of Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary, 1953 -
1954; professor of religion at Temple University, 1967 -1974 ;
visiting professor in Bible at the Hebrew University, 1970 -1971 ;
B.G. Rudolph Lectureship at Syracuse University, 1965; Zwerd-
ling Lectureship in the Department of Near Eastern Languages
and Literature at the University of Michigan, 1970.
Not fully content with the educational effectiveness of after­
noon supplementary Hebrew Schools, Gordis organized the
Beth-El Day School in 1950. This was the first Day School in a
Conservative congregation. He invested much energy in this ven­
ture over the years out of a conviction that synagogues and
communities should have a reservoir of potential leadership bet­
ter trained in the disciplines of Judaica. Following his retirement,
this school was renamed the “Robert Gordis Day School.”
His sabbatical from his congregation in 1960 -1961 , Gordis
views as an important milestone. He spent that year as Consultant
to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa
Barbara, Calif. The Center brought together a fellowship of
outstanding philosophers, theologians and men of letters who
pooled their talents to think through some vital issues. Gordis was
the only spokesman in behalf of Judaism. He recalls that experi­
ence with pride, for he feels that he succeeded in conveying an
awareness that Judaism has much to offer in the search for moral
stability and the resolution of complex problems.
COMMUNAL ACT IV ITY
With all his commitments in the pulpit and to scholarship,
Gordis found time to be active in various organizational posts and
to devote himself to numerous causes. Any biographical sketch
that would omit reference to these activities would be lacking in
essential information. He served as president of the Rabbinical
Assembly in 1944 -1946 , and as president of the Synagogue