Dr. Marvin Schick, who taught political-science and constitutional law at Hunter College and the New School for Social Research, served for more than three decades as President of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Orthodox Jewish day school in Staten Island, and was active in Jewish communal life for more than half a century, passed away from a heart attack on Thursday night at age 85.
Schick, whose writings appeared in The Jewish Press, founded the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) in 1965, and served as its first president. He served as liaison to the Jewish community in Mayor John Lindsay’s second administration, from 1969 to 1973. He was urged into serving the Orthodox community by the late Rabbi Aharon Kotler.
In 2014, Dr. Schick wrote in an article titled, The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School And Me, about the start of the Schick bakery, his family’s business (which was sold in 2011) : “…on Purim in 1938 my father, who was the rabbi of a Manhattan synagogue, died suddenly, leaving my mother with four young children and no financial resources. Three weeks later, the landlord of the apartment building in which she lived sent her an eviction notice. Desperate, my mother moved to Boro Park and began baking challah in her small apartment.”
In 2012, in an article titled The Alternate World Of Jewish Education, Schick wrote: “In addition to the enrollment decline in non-Orthodox schools, there has been a disturbing change in the curriculum of many of these schools. The Judaic component is being downplayed and downsized and it is questionable whether these institutions sufficiently recognize that a minimalistic Judaic curriculum and ambience will result in minimalistic Judaic outcomes. Too many in vital sectors of American Jewish life naively believe that irrespective of the Judaic curriculum and ambience, day school education alone is a reliable guarantor of a bright Jewish future. That just isn’t so.
“What is remarkable about the Judaic dilution occurring in more than a small number of non-Orthodox schools is that it comes at a time when philanthropic funding aimed at elevating the religious character of these institutions has been significantly expanded. There is a sad disconnect between what is occurring on the ground level in schools and what funders want to believe is happening. This is another aspect of day school education that isn’t being addressed.”