Acute Shortage of Qualified Scholars to Teach Hebrew Studies, Dropsie President Says

While professionals with Ph.D. degrees in engineering, physics, mathematics, history and other academic levels are wanting for job opportunities, there is an acute shortage in the United States of Ph.D.’s qualified in the field of Hebraica and Jewish Studies with many university posts left unfilled. According to Dr. Abraham I. Katsh, president of The Dropsie University here, the growing demand for teachers of Hebrew in American institutions of higher learning has created a marked shortage of qualified professors and lecturers. Dr. Katsh said there are now approximately 100 full-time professors engaged in teaching Hebrew and Judaic courses, including Bible studies and Hebrew literature, in addition to a large number of part-time instructors. A major problem facing the movement for modern Hebrew study in American institutions of higher learning, said Dr. Katsh, pointing to the many existing vacancies, is the limited supply of competent teachers in the field both from a scholarly as well as a pedagogic background. Dr. Katsh pointed out that in the past five years there has been a significant increase of over 35 percent in the number of schools teaching Hebrew studies. A number of American colleges and universities, including New York University, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Manitoba, and others, maintain separate departments of Jewish Studies. In the main, however, Hebraic language and literature courses are attached to other departments in their curriculum. Hebrew today is offered in 245 institutions, including 61 colleges, 72 universities and 112 seminaries. Dr. Katsh, referring to Dropsie University, said that every Ph.D. graduate of that institution is presently employed, and that the eight doctoral candidates in the present graduating class have already accepted jobs at universities and seminaries.

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