Hebrew University Honors Nine U.S. Jews at New York Convocation
Menu JTA Search

Hebrew University Honors Nine U.S. Jews at New York Convocation

Download PDF for this date

More than 2,200 guests today attended the first academic convocation held by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem away from Israel, at Hunter College here, Nine American Jewish leaders were awarded Honorary Fellow degrees by the university at the convocation, which was sponsored by the American Friends of the Hebrew University.

The degrees were conferred by Professor Michael Evenari, vice president of the Hebrew University, upon: Maxwell Abbell of Chicago; Harry A. Kangesser of Cleveland; Samuel N. Katzin of Chicago; Charles Krown of Los Angeles; Benjamin H. Swig of San Francisco; and the following New Yorkers: James Marshall, Joseph M. Mazer, Louis M. Rabinowitz and Daniel G. Ross “in recognition of devoted services to the Hebrew University in its work for learning and science, for Israel, the Jewish people and humanity.”

Abba Eban, addressing the audience, emphasized the interdependence of Israel and its only university, and said: “Israel’s preoccupation with security and economic consolidation continues to be acute. The major problem of Israel’s security in a rearming region has not in any degree been solved, despite assurances by the Western powers that they understand the acuteness of the problem, Nevertheless, we are not free to neglect the insistent challenge of spiritual achievement.” The growth and progress of the Hebrew University, he pointed out, affects “the very core and essence of Israel’s destiny.”

Dr. Abram L. Sachar, president of Brandeis University, hailed the Hebrew University as the symbol of the age-old Jewish veneration for learning and knowledge and as a force for bringing both spiritual light and benefits to mankind. He stressed that while there were many problems in Israel in which Jews outside of Israel could not become involved, “there is one area in which involvement creates no conflict for non-Israelis – the area of education.”


Dr. George S. Wise, chairman of the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors and president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, who presided, called the convocation “a significant step” in the relationship between the Hebrew University and the United States. “Despite the seven-year-old blockade of the University’s grounds in Jerusalem by the Arab Legion, which rendered the Hebrew University homeless, it has been faithfully fulfilling its mission to the State of Israel, the people of Israel and the Jews of the world,” he said.

“The recipients of today’s honors,” Dr. Wise declared, “are leaders of our communities who have made important contributions to Jewish welfare and Jewish learning in the United States, and whose interests and benefactions extend throughout all aspects of communal life. In conferring these degrees upon them, the Hebrew University is proud to give recognition to their accomplishments and to cement the spiritual and cultural bonds which exist between Israel, her highest educational institution-the Hebrew University-and the American Jewish community.”

Mr. Abbell, who responded on behalf of the recipients of the degrees, declared that “a strong and firmly established Hebrew University is America’s and the world’s guarantee that the concepts and practice of democracy will be nurtured and kept alive in the minds and hearts of Israel’s future citizens.”

Messages to the convocation were received from New York State Governor Averill Harriman, New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner and Gen. Yacov Dori, president of the Israel Institute of Technology, Gov. Harriman declared that during the 30 years of its existence, the “Hebrew University has been a profound influence for good in Israel and throughout the Middle East, not only as a center of learning and research, but as an institution which has fostered the understanding of democratic ideals among its students and through them among the people of the region.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund