D O C U M E N T 1 2 7 A P R I L 1 9 2 1 1 6 9
could hardly impose any restrictions) but by a special Foundation for which the
funds should be collected by yourself and your friends who share your feelings in
this matter. I would not recommend, on the whole, an endowment for perpetuity.
Nobody can foresee what will be the condition of science or philosophy 20 or 30
years hence, and endowments for special purposes on specified conditions may
prove, after a long period, not only useless but even embarassing, as is shown by
the experience of other universities. To my mind, it is quite sufficent to endow one
or two chairs for a period of, say, 10–15 years. That would not require a very great
sum and you will, no doubt, succeed in raising the necessary amount in the near
future. There is, however, a more serious difficulty in view: namely, that a depart-
ment of jewish religious philosophy can only exist as a part of a Jewish and Oriental
Studies Faculty. Obviously no serious study of jewish philosophy is possible
without the help of lectures and books on hebrew litterature, philology, jewish
history, archeology and folklore, etc. Your Foundation would therefore have to be
kept in trust until such time when sufficent funds will have been collected to estab-
lish a complete Jewish and Oriental Studies Faculty; which, I trust, will not be long
if the University Fund will receive the energetic assistance of all friends of the Uni-
versity, as we confidently
Hoping that the above remarks will make my views on the subject sufficiently
clear I remain, dear Mr. Rosenbloom Sincerely yours
LS in Solomon Ginzberg’s hand (IsJJNLS, Einstein Collection, 74.1/74.2). [120 953]. Written on let-
terhead “The Commodore Forty-Second Street and Lexington Avenue Grand Central Terminal Per-
shing Square New York,” and addressed “Mr. Sol Rosenbloom Pittsburgh.”
Rosenbloom (1866–1925) was a distillery owner, philanthropist, and member of the executive
committee of the Zionist Organization of America. On his attempts to raise funds for the planned Insti-
tute for Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University from 1920 onwards, see Lavsky 2000, pp. 141–142.
See Rosenbloom 1921.
In his article, Rosenbloom had defined in general terms his vision of the planned Hebrew Uni-
versity as “a seat of Jewish learning in the new Palestine.” To his mind, the “paramount task” of the
university should be “the intensification of the understanding of the spiritual and religious life of the
Jewish people and the study of the development of Judaism” (see Rosenbloom 1921, pp. 36–37).
On Einstein’s loss of interest in religious issues at an early age, see Vol. 7, the editorial note,
“Einstein and the Jewish Question,” p. 222.
In his article, Rosenbloom urged that “the study of the philosophy of Judaism, Jewish religion
and ethics” be made “the most important element” of the Hebrew University’s curriculum. To this
end, “chairs for this department of study” should be established “as soon as practicable” (see Rosen-
bloom 1921, p. 38).
For details on Einstein’s Jewish religious instruction, see “Luitpold-Gymnasium, Curriculum”
[Vol. 1, Appendix B, pp. 346–351].
On the discussions during this period among the planners of the Hebrew University regarding
the establishment of a Jewish Studies department, and its relationship to the planned Institute for Ori-
ental Studies, see Lavsky 2000, pp. 138–143.
The signature is in Einstein’s hand.