web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



A Landscape Transformed Orthodoxy and America’s Elite Universities


Princeton University

Princeton University

Some administrators in the 1950s thought the new cohort of students should be thankful that the quota system excluding Jews was being eased; they saw no reason to consider religious observance. Those who looked to the future realized yeshiva graduates could be a positive force on campus; they were serious about learning, were used to a double schedule of classes, and usually completed their degrees within four years of entering college.

* * * * *

Princeton, which had been a bastion of exclusion, accepted several observant Jewish students, among them Daniel Greer (now Rabbi Daniel Greer, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of New Haven) and Abe Kaufman.

They formed a chapter of Yavneh, the National Religious Jewish Students Association. They decided to provide kosher food at Princeton, where social life revolves around eating clubs. They aimed for an opening at the beginning of the Autumn Term in 1960, but encountered obstacles: landlords did not want to rent to a student group; the Hillel rabbi opposed them; parents felt they were paying tuition and did not want to cover the expense of setting up a kitchen, buying appliances, furnishing a dining-room, and paying a cook.

Abe and Daniel knew how lonely it was to subsist on sandwiches eaten alone in a dorm room, with occasional meals together supplied by Mrs. Greer, but the parents of other students did not want the financial responsibility.

My father, Rabbi Teitz, was on Yavneh’s National Advisory Board. When he heard about the difficulties Daniel and Abe were facing, he told me he knew the person who would help them make kosher dining at Princeton a reality. He called Milton Levy, a”h, a member of the Elizabeth community who owned Levy Brothers, the largest department store in town.

Rabbi Teitz knew about Mr. Levy’s experience years earlier as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. Twelve students had signed up to eat kosher dinners at the home of a woman who would cook for them. On the second night only two students came, and at the end of the year Mr. Levy was eating by himself. He transferred to NYU, but decided that whenever students would want kosher food on campus, he would help.

He and several friends committed themselves to work without fanfare for Jewish values; they wore small gold pins in their lapels that said “441,” the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word for “truth.” They financed the kosher kitchen at Cornell. Mr. Levy also underwrote the kosher facility at Stevens Institute of Technology.

He was happy to help the students at Princeton found the Yavneh House. At a meeting with parents at the Greers’ home in Manhattan, he did not have to persuade the hosts or the Kaufmans, but he could not get the other parents to pledge adequate sums. When he drove me home to Elizabeth that night he told me he was not discouraged; he thought these parents did not realize how important it was to have a place where their sons could eat together with other observant students.

He told me to consult with my mother in making up a list of everything that would be necessary for a kosher home and to bring the list to his store. When I came to his office, he handed me his charge plate and told me to go through the store and order everything on the list.

Where would it be delivered? Abe had found a house at 21 Olden Street, but the owner would not accept a student’s signature on the lease. My father signed it.

The house had bedrooms on the second floor that could be rented out. Mr. Levy supplied the furniture, in addition to the dining room table, chairs, refrigerator, freezer, dishes, silverware, pots and pans.

My father provided the Torah scroll, prayer books, chumashim, and everything else necessary for praying together. He arranged delivery of meat from a kosher slaughterhouse he supervised; when the students didn’t pay on time for the meat they were getting at a wholesale price, he paid the bill. He was involved in every detail, including talking to college administrators, hiring the cook, and arranging shiurim.

Daniel and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Moses Greer, a”h, were the dynamic initiators. Abe, who was in charge at the Princeton site, learned Yiddish in order to communicate with Mrs. Fleischer, the cook who came each weekday from Trenton. Abe was the menu-planner, residence manager, accountant, chief operating officer – it’s a tribute to his organizational abilities that he completed the school year. My brother, Rabbi Elazar Mayer Teitz, and my husband, Rabbi Yosef Blau, drove to Princeton to study Talmud with the Yavneh chapter.

Milton Levy supported the Yavneh House until he passed away. After the funeral, Leonard Diener, a”h, another member of the community who felt a responsibility for all students who wanted to keep kosher, told my father, “I know what Milton has been doing; I’ll take responsibility for Princeton now.”

About the Author: Dr. Rivkah Teitz Blau is a professor of English, an author, and a lecturer. She edited the volume on "Gender Relationships in Marriage and Out" for the Orthodox Forum.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “A Landscape Transformed Orthodoxy and America’s Elite Universities”

  1. Dr. S. Perry Brickman says:

    I really enjoyed the article. I am currently researching a related subject. How can I communicate with Dr. Blau?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
James Foley and his Islamic State executioner.
ISIS Beheadings Mark Declared War on the United States
Latest Indepth Stories
ZIM Piraeus in happier days. (Image: ShipSpotting.com user b47b56)

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

Sgt. Sean Carmeli, ZT"L

The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.

His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.

(Reposted with permission from author’s website) Moderate truth-teller Daniel Pipes (Dream) has further moderated his stance on Islam by actually entertaining the idea of “Moderate Islamism”, with Andrew C. McCarthy- whom I’ve debated about this- giving it some credence. We’ve gone from Naming the Enemy -Nazism, Communism- to Renaming the Enemy – “Islamic Totalitarianism”, “Radical Islam”, “Islamism”, […]

Maimonides: “Your 1 mitzva may tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire world and creation”

Jerusalem has been aware of the importance of China to its growth and security.

In other words, how by any rational playbook can one even begin to explain anti-Semitism?

Israel has nine Iron Domes, but you Mr. Hannity are the tenth.

Entire movements within “orthodoxy” propagate a Judaism of outlandish folklore and Jewish mysticism

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

More Articles from Dr. Rivkah Blau
book-end-the-madness

Of course it is disingenuous to tell a person from a non-rabbinic, non-rosh yeshiva home to make an effort.

Officer-Buckle-062014

When I give this book, the parents look at the gold Caldecott Medal on the front cover and smile, but look up quizzically – a book for a newborn?

Determination is now being studied by educators and psychologists who want to understand why some people born with every gift do not achieve a meaningful adulthood, while others born into a challenging existence rise above their beginnings to enjoy accomplished lives.

“Radical,” from the Latin word for “root,” means going to the foundation. The foundation is what we have to think about when celebrating a simcha. Instead of peripheral concerns – photographing the proceedings, for example – we should attend to the meaning of the event.

A writer of non-fiction for the general community has to know the topic well; a writer for the observant Jewish community has an additional requirement – to understand that Jewish law, halacha, informs our decisions and actions.

Title: Biblical Beauty: Ancient Secrets and Modern Solutions
Author: Rachelle Weisberger
Publisher: Anbern Press

“Rabbi, did you ever think you would see this day?”

It was 1971, and the university official who asked this question was inviting the rabbi to the dedication of the kosher dining room in Stevenson Hall on the campus of Princeton University.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/a-landscape-transformed-orthodoxy-and-americas-elite-universities/2012/02/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: