Revel Lecture

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One of the primary builders of Torah study in America is often forgotten for political reasons. R. Dr. Bernard Revel, a brilliant talmid chakham and academic scholar, tirelessly built a new kind of yeshiva that preserves the traditional beis medrash experience while still teaching a broad array of Torah subjects as well as a full liberal studies curriculum. Countless thousands of laymen and scholars have benefited from his vision. Yet his work is often overlooked because of his positive attitude to college education. Looking back from today’s vantage point, he arguably saved Yiddishkeit in America yet is almost forgotten.

R. Aharon Rakeffet, a regular contributor to this website, will be celebrating the republication of his biography of Rav Revel by OU Press with a lecture at Yeshiva University next Sunday, May 4 at 9:30am. The biography is a model of how to properly describe a Torah scholar’s life — accurately, showing a unique personality and attitude, reverential but honest.

I plan on attending and encourage all readers to join me in marking this occasion and showing respect and gratitude to Rav Rakeffet, Rav Revel and Yeshiva University.

Lamport Auditorium
2540 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10033
Sunday, May 4, 9:30am
For reservations, e-mail [email protected]
Parking available in the YU lot (E) on Amsterdam Ave. at 183rd St.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

4 comments

  1. “Yet his work is often overlooked”
    Agreed-another possibility sadly Dr Revel has no descendants and thus there are no family members to push his legacy.

  2. Srully Epstein

    Another factor, clearly, was that he was overshadowed by the Rav.

    • R Joseph B Soloveitchik was hired in 1941. R’ Revel passed in 1940. The Rav came to a RIETS that was traumatized by the passing of R’ Revel and R’ Moshe Soloveichik in rapid succession.

      (The presence of a “t” in the son’s surname but not the father’s, intentional.)

      Then it took a while for RJBS to become “the Rav” in public perception.

      I would suggest a different theory. American O rewrote itself with the post-WWII influx. And so the narrative too many of us are told about succesful and stable American Orthodoxy begins after R’ Revel. R’ Henkin’s legacy similarly suffered.

      Exacerbating that effect in R’ Revel’s case is that the Agudath Israel of America’s narrative requires making “Mr” [Rav] Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz “the Architect of Torah in America”, as ArtScroll and R’ Yonasan Rosenblum subtitled their hagiography.

  3. UPDATE: The event has been moved to the Shenk Shul, 560 W. 185th St (between Audobon and St. Nicholas Ave.).

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