The movement to complete the buildings of the Yeshiva College, the first college in the United States under Jewish auspices, and to insure a sufficiently large endowment fund for the maintenance of the institution, for higher learning gained impetus with the announcement made yesterday that Morris White, the well known realtor and industrialist of New York City, responded to the call of the Yeshiva College Executive Committee and accepted the chairmanship of the dedication dinner, which will be held at the Astor Hotel on Sunday, December 9th.
The announcement of Mr. White’s assumption of the chairmanship of the exercises, which will mark the culmination of a three-year effort, was greeted with wide applause at a meeting of the Yeshiva College Executive Committee held at the Jewish Center, 131 West 86th Street. The meeting was presided over by Samuel Levy.
Building activities at Washington Heights, where the institution is being erected, are rapidly nearing completion, and the leaders of the movement have now turned their attention to securing a’ sufficiently large endowment fund, which would provide the necessary upkeep and maintenance cost. For this purpose the opening exercises will be concluded with a mammoth dedication dinner, at which at least one thousand couples are expected to attend. The dinner, which it is promised, will be the outstanding social event in Jewish life in this city this season, was termed by the Committee the “One Million Dollar Yeshiva College Dedication Dinner,” it being expected that the one thousand couples who will attend the gathering will pay one thousand dollars per plate. At a similar gathering held several years ago by the Yeshiva College Building Fund the amount of $1,029,000 was raised, Harris L. Selig, executive director of the Yeshiva College Building Fund, stated.
Samuel Levy, Louis Gold, Charles H. Silver, Harry Fischel, Joseph Polstein, Jacob Levy, Meyer Vesell and Rabbi M. S. Margolies, pledged their co-operation and support to Mr. White in the task of raising the one million dollars which he has undertaken.
In responding to the invitation to head this effort, Mr. White, who has taken an active part in many philanthropic, communal and social activities, explained the reasons which prompted him to accept this responsibility. He expressed his confidence that not only he, but all of his numerous friends and associates in the various branches of industry and commerce with which he is connected, will rally to the support of the cause.
“In every land where the Jews came in greater numbers the first thing they did was to provide for the Jewish education of their children. This has preserved their strength and given them courage and endurance to withstand the onslaught of persecutions at the hands of their enemies,” Mr. White declared.
“With the establishment of the Yeshi va College, we are building a tower of strength for Jewish learning in America. An institution like the Yeshiva College will build a line of defense against the inroads of indifference and desertion, which is noticeable among our young in this country.
“America, as well as the world at large knows of the magnificent buildings built and erected by the Jews of our country. They tower in the skies, arousing both enthusiasm and confidence in the great spirit of enterprise in America.
“Never in our history, however, have we built such edifices for Jewish learning. Never has an attempt been made to combine a Yeshiva with a college, an experiment in which leading American educators are keenly interested. We are now writing history and future generations will look upon this work of ours with pride and point to all those who have made it possible as the pioneers of a new Jewish era in this country, an era that brought about the revival of the Jewish spirit and added credit to the Jewish name in the United States.
“The former Mayor of the State of New York, the late Seth Low, when he attended the first international peace conference at the Hague in answer to a question of how big the standing army of our nation is and how many arsenals America possesses, answered: ‘We have thousands of schools, high schools and colleges in America. These are our arsenals and the millions of pupils in them, receiving a thorough American education, are our soldiers who will give their lives to defend the existence of our nation.’
“The Yeshiva College will be the arsenal of the Jewish people in America, where the spiritual equipment for the defense of our existence will be stored and treasured. The combination of Jewish idealism with modern education will produce a type of American Jew of whom we will be able to be proud.
“The magnificent buildings of the institution will be ready for occupancy on Sunday, December 9th. The week of Chanukah, commemorating the historic date when our forefathers dedicated the Temple, will see the dedication of another Temple built to the glory of God in our country.
“A very great work has been accomplished by the committee that has undertaken this gigantic task. But in order that the Yeshiva College may succeed and produce the results desired, we must assure it a sound financial foundation. To obtain this end, it is necessary to raise $1,000,000 as an Endowmnet Fund, the income of which shall go for maintenance. This million dollars we hope to raise at the $1,000,000 Dinner. We will ask every Jew, regardless of his affiliation, who is interested in the preservation of Jewish education, to attend this dinner and subscribe the sum of $1,000, which is to be paid over a period of four years. Colleges must have Endowment Funds. Let us assure the existence of our first Jewish College by the creation of such a fund,” Mr. White concluded.