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Hebrew University in Jerusalem Will Unite East and West

March 15, 1926
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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

A better understanding between the East and West will result from the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which will unite the East and West with strong spiritual bonds, declared Prof. Albert Einstein, author of the theory of relativity, in outlining the program of the Hebrew University, to the Board of Governors to which he was recently elected as member.

In an interview here today he outlined the program of the University declaring that the school is being developed as an institute of research rather than a center of teaching.

The development of the University along the highest intellectual standards is “the most difficult task set for the present generation of Jews,” according to Dr. Einstein. “It is one of the most important pillars in the entire work of Jewish reconstruction in Palestine, for the University is the symbolic expression of the true meaning of the whole upbuilding program.

“In the work of Jewish reconstruction in Palestine, the Hebrew University is, as I believe, today one of the most important pillars for it expresses clearer than the other phases of this work the true object to which the entire Jewish effort in Palestine is directed. For this very reason, however, it presents, on the other hand, one of the most difficult problems in this work of reconstruction. For its existence and its task is not rooted simply in the realities of Palestinian life–as a Palestinian national University it would, indeed, especially at the present stage, hardly have any right to existence–but in the spiritual position of the Jewish people as a whole, which requires a concentration of its spiritual forces and the reconstruction of a new centre. In undertaking this great task, the University becomes the symbolic expression of the true meaning of the entire work of Jewish reconstruction,” Prof. Einstein declared.

“From this basic definition there follows, in the first instance, that the University, must be developed in the first place as an institute of research rather than as a centre of teaching. It shall be devoted, on the one hand, to the study and restatement of the Jewish cultural heritage and to the revival of its spiritual traditions. It will further concentrate on the scientific investigation of the whole range of Oriental civilization, and through this work of research lay the fundations for a new spiritual relationship between Orient and Occident. On the other hand, the natural science institutes of the University, which are investigating at present especially those problems which are of considerable importance for the development of the country, will be able to evolve that atmosphere of exact scientific research in which our whole modern civilization is rooted, and which must certainly be a basic factor in the upbuilding of a new Jewish cultural life in Palestine.

“In order earry through this difficult task it is, however, essential that all Jewish forces in the Diaspora should cooperate intensively in this great work, and not merely by material gifts, although the latter is hardly less urgent, especially during this initial stage. Our efforts must be directed to securing for the University from its very beginnings the high level of an institute of first rank, so that it may be able to attract to its service the best forces of the Jewish Diaspora as teachers and scholars. As long as this, however, is not practicable, we must at least do our utmost to obtain their intellectual cooperation in the fullest possible measure. I believe that the scheme of administration which was adopted at the last meeting of the Board of Governors at Munich will enable the University to secure the intensive cooperation of the best Jewish brains outside Palestine, and their responsible collaboration in its upbuilding and in its direction. It may be that the development of this University, in a synthetic and constructive spirit, is the most difficult task set to this generation of Jews. It will require much courage, originality and vision, but also great caution and restraint. But I deeply hope that we shall succeed,” Prof. Einstein concluded.

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