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To the Editor, Jewish Daily Bulletin:
Some months ago I remember reading an item in your pages in which a Jewish leaderâ€”I don’t remember just whoâ€”advised our people to establish a Jewish university in this country. I have been watching rather closely for indications that his suggestion was being taken up, but apparently the words have fallen on deaf ears.
The idea of a Jewish university has numerous merits. In the first place, whether we like to admit it or not, the truth of the matter is that almost every institution of higher learning from Maine to California has what is tantamount to a numerus clausus in effect.
What Mr. Max D. Steuer said several weeks ago, when he urged the Jews to accept quotas in the colleges and universities of the United States evoked protests in several quarters. Without holding any brief for Mr. Steuerâ€”whose political attachments I happen personally to despiseâ€”I am convinced the eminent lawyer had a good thought, although it didn’t go far enough.
Naturally, it is defeatism pure and simple to tell ambitious young Jews who are butting up against educational barriers to sit home silently and twiddle their thumbs or drown their troubles in high-powered cocktails. What’s more, I doubt very much that our young men and women, who have plenty of spirit in them, will accept such a state of affairs quietly.
The only way “out,” as Times Square boys would say, is to set up a Jewish university. This development would not be anything radical, either, as I think many of our more timorous co-religionists erroneously believe. For their information, I should like to point out that we have in this country colleges and universities run by almost every one of the Christian faiths. Wesleyan University at Middletown, Conn., and Catholic University at Washington, D. C., immediately come to mind.
If our wealthy and warm-hearted Jews who are contributing so liberally toward the upbuilding of Palestine as a Jewish homeland would stop to consider the merits of the proposal for the establishment of a Jewish university in the United States, I am sure they would be quick to respond.
Certainly Palestine is important, certainly relief for the victims of the cruelties of the Hitler regime in Germany is important, but, when all is said and done, the fact remains that there are more than 4,000,000 Jews in this country who are fully determined to stay right here and who are entitled to a decent break in every fieldâ€”not excepting education.
So let’s get busy.
Arthur G. Hollingsberg.
New York City,
Feb. 1, 1935.