Dr. Max Weinreich, Vilna Social Scientist, Honored Here for Seminar Work at Yale
Menu JTA Search

Dr. Max Weinreich, Vilna Social Scientist, Honored Here for Seminar Work at Yale

Download PDF for this date

Dr. Max Weinreich, chief secretary of the Yiddish Scientific Institute of Vilna, who returned home on the Majestic Friday after spending ten months at Yale University at the invitation of the International Seminar there, was the guest Thursday of the American Section of the Institute at an intimate party arranged in his honor at the Little Roumanian Restaurant, 76 Second Avenue.

While at Yale Dr. Weinreich represented East European Jews at the “International Seminar on the Impact of Culture on Personality.” Twelve other culture groups of the world were represented, including South Germany, North Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Norway, Turkey, China, Japan and India.

The Seminar was arranged by the Social Science Research Council with the financial aid of the Rockefeller Foundation, and was under the directorship of Dr. Edward Sapir, Professor of Anthropology at Yale.


As a result of Dr. Weinreich’s work at Yale he has formulated a plan for “Culture and Personality Studies among the Eastern Jews and Their Relation to the General Problems of Social Science”. This plan, Dr. Weinreich explained to a representative of the Jewish Daily Bulletin, will become a part of the Yiddish Scientific Institute’s work on the development of Jewish youth. Most of the material for this study is being collected in the form of autobiographies.

Prominent Jewish writers, scholars and representatives of various cultural institutions were in the group that gathered to bid Dr. Weinreich bon voyage. Among the speakers were Alexander Harkavy, Dr. Percy Matenko, S. Niger, Abraham Reisin, Dr. J. A. Mary-son, I. L. Kahn, Jacob Berg and N. Feinerman. Dr. Jacob Shatzky was toastmaster.

All the speakers emphasized Dr. Weinreich’s personal achievements as well as his contributions to the work of the Yiddish Scientific Institute and said that the prestige of the Institute in the non-Jewish world had won a great deal by his work at Yale. The honorary board of the Institute includes Simon Dubnow, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Moses Gaster, Edward Sapir, Bernard Wachstein and Chaim Zhitlovsky.


Dr. Weinreich thanked the gathering and declared that it was wrong to give him so much credit for what the Institute had accomplished, saying that those who in his absence had carried on the work of the institution in Vilna, in particular Z. Rejsin, Z. Kalmanovitch and Shur, were equally deserving of praise.

In the course of his speech Dr. Weinreich revealed that in studying Yiddish and Yiddish literature he had constantly sought to find their relation to life, and that he found them not dry things of the past but a vibrant force today. The problems of Jewish life, he said, were the problems of the world generally, and the Institute would therefore seek to study not only the cultural contributions of the Jews, but the realities of Jewish life today. Although the Institute is at present hampered by lack of funds, Dr. Weinreich expressed confident hope that this lack would be overcome and that the Institute would go on to a great future.

His work at Yale, Dr. Weinreich said, had been refreshingly new, opening up to him a scientific field he had not previously explored. He also stressed the fact that a committee of twenty-two professors of American universities had been organized recently into an “Inter-University Committee on Jewish Social Research,” and that much was to be expected of it.

Among those constituting the committee are Herman M. Adler and Max Radin of the University of California, Salo Baron, Richard J. H. Gottheil and Leo Wolman of Columbia University, David S. Blondheim of Johns Hopkins, Leonard Bloomfield, Henry Schultz and Leo Wirth of the University of Chicago, Morris R. Cohen, Samuel Joseph, Paul Klapper, and Sol Liptzin of the College of the City of New York, Max S. Handman and J. L. Sharfman of the University of Michigan, Melville J. Herskovits of Northwestern University, Joseph Jastrow and Horace M. Kallen of the New School for Social Research, Maurice J. Karpf of the Graduate School for Jewish Social Work, Selig Perlman of the University of Wisconsin, and A. A. Roback of the University Extension Commission of Massachusetts. Dr. Sapir is the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Karpf, treasurer, Dr. Liptzin and Dr. Weinreich the American and European secretaries respectively.

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