Volume 78 of The Hebrew Union College Annual was dedicated to the memories of Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, Chancellor Emeritus of HUC-JIR, and Richard J. Scheuer, Chairman Emeritus, HUC-JIR Board of Governors. This issue of The Hebrew Union College Annual features a dedication essay by Rabbi David Ellenson. Please click here for Rabbi Ellenson's essay and the Table of Contents.
The Hebrew Union College Annual began publication in 1924 and is an international forum for scholarly discussion in all areas of Judaic, biblical, and semitic studies. “The Hebrew Union College Annual (HUCA) serves as the primary face of the College-Institute to the academic world,” says Rabbi David Ellenson. HUCA provides a setting in which the leading Judaica scholars in the world can display the fruits of their academic research. “The pursuit of scholarship, shorn of its absolutist claims, remains a vital part of the heritage that HUCA has bequeathed to the College-Institute in particular and modern Judaism in general,” he adds. This internationally renowned publication represents the fulfillment of its earliest advocates’ intellectual mission and sustains their vision into the 21st century.
It was in January 1919 that a new quarterly journal first appeared on the American intellectual scene: the Journal of Jewish Lore and Philosophy, the first incarnation of what would later become the HUCA. Edited and published by Dr. David Neumark, Professor of Philosophy at Hebrew Union College, the Journal announced its purpose to cultivate higher Jewish learning and the dissemination of knowledge of Judaism and to serve Jewry as a whole by “paying equal attention to all disciplines of the vast field of Jewish knowledge from a purely and objectively scientific viewpoint.”
Conceiving his journal as a clearing-house for Jewish scholarship, Neumark proposed that it serve as a medium of communication not only between scholar and scholar, but also between scholar and lay leader. Furthermore, he hoped that this publication’s function would be the “reawakening of the old spirit of Jewish scholarship among the Rabbis,” and would provide them with a forum in which they could discuss “scientific questions” and “scientific views” at a time when no such “Jewish scientific periodical” existed, other than those “avowedly conservative, barring certain views and the discussion of certain questions from publication.” Neumark’s Journal was to be a “watchful educator,” guiding the younger generation of rabbis to higher Jewish learning beyond their student years at the College, keeping them in contact with scholarly specialists, and inspiring their “zeal for Jewish wisdom.”