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February 04, 1983 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-02-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

.

Friday, February 4, 1983 , 3

Historic Technion Story in Alpert Volume

Technion has a history
that has made it among the
most popular names among
all of Israel's institutions
and as a symbol of state-
building and perpetuating
Jewish values.
The abbreviation for the
Israel Institute of Technol-
ogy, located on Mount Car-
mel in Haifa, it has attained
fame among the leading
engineering and technOlog-
ical universities in the
world.
It merits a history of its
history and it has attained
it in "Technion: The Story of
Israel's Institute -of
Technology" published by
Keterpress in Israel.
This immense, beauti-
fully printed, fully illus-
trated volume has the
merit of having been
written, the historic facts
compiled, by the eminent
Israeli columnist and
commentator, Carl Al-
r:rt, whose_ syndicated

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KEREN KAYEMETH LEISRAEL

column appears in scores
of newspapers, including
The Detroit Jewish News.
An American journalist
who was the editor of the of-
. ficial publication of the
Zionist Organization of
America, Alpert has for
y6ars served as executive
vice chairman of the Techn-
ion board of governors.
Alpert held the editorship
of the Boston Jewish Advo-
cate and from there as-
sumed the editorship of the
New Palestine, the organ of
the Zionist Organization of
America before the name of
the magazine was changed
to American Zionist.
The historic facts, the
Manner in which Technion
developed into the great
technological instrument of
Israel, reads like a novel in
the Albert compilation.
"Technion" is more
than a history of a school.
In many respects it is a
history of Israel. Also, it
is the story of many
American communities
which have participated
in the university's up-
building and develop-
ment.
Detroit was among the
earliest communities to or-
ganize supporting chapters,
and the Detroit Technioh
group is a pioneer in that
regard. Alpert traces the
early leadership:
"Detroit leaders were
Harvey H. Goldman, Karl
Segall, Fred M. Butzel,
Leon Kay, Benjamin Wilk,
Philip Slomovitz, Isidore
Sobeloff, Morris Mendelson,
Louis Redstone and Louis
Gelfand."
In time of stress, in the
early years of the Technion,
Detroiters were among the
first to provide financial as-
sistance.
When the Zionist
Society of Engineers was
formed, in 1917, there
was a chapter in Detroit.
Later the name of the as-
sisting society was
changed to Zionist
Society of Engineers and
Agriculturists and Boris
Kazmann, who came to
Michigan from New
York, was the coordinat-
ing secretary.
first
the
Among
structures on the Technion
campus was the Detroit
Mechanical Engineering
Laboratory.
These are among the in-
cidental facts incorporated

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CARL ALPERT

in the Alpert-compiled
story.
While the idea for the He-
brew University com-
menced with the earliest
years of the formation of the
World Zionist Organiza-
tion:, at the first World
Zionist Congresses, it was
as early as 1903 that the
idea for the Technion was
promulgated by the Knessia
Rishona at Zichron Yaakov,
Menahem Ussishkin hav-
ing been among those who
advocated the project.
Nearly two decades be-
fore the Hebrew Univer-
sity became a reality, on
March 29, 1908 "an
agreement was signed
setting up a Wissotzky
Family Endowment to
the Hilfsverein for the es-
tablishment of the
Technikum."

It was the gift of 100,000
rubles, the equivalent of
$52,000 from the Wissotzky
family that made the dream
a reality.
Ahad HaAm (Asher
Ginsberg), the famous
philosopher and Hebrew
author, Alpert recalls,
helped draft the text of the
agreement, introducing a
clause that the school would
be "Jewish in character."
Because the headquar-
ters for the new movement
was then in Berlin, it is
noteworthy that
Shmaryahu Levin, who was
a member of the Russian
Duma, was a member of the
board.
At the outset the school
was to be known as the Wis-
sotzky Institute of Technol-
ogy.
Jacob Schiff, the dis-
tinguished American
Jewish philanthropist,
on a visit to Palestine in
1908 at the invitation of
Baron Rothschild, be-
came actively interested
in Technikum, gave a
$100,000 contribution,
succeeded in eliminating
the name of Wissotzky
from the school title, the
original donor's name in-
stead being perpetuated
on a plaque for recogni-
tion of his pioneering.
Injection of a German
coloration, warnings of
dangers of assimilation,
were uttered by Ahad
HaAm and Shmaryahu Le-
vin.
Alliance Israelite Uni-
verselle, in the spirit of the
inherited linkage of Jewry
with Eretz Israel, took a
deep interest and made con-
tributions in behalf of
French Jewry, toward the

advancement of the cultural
aims in the developing
Palestinian community.
Hilfsverein, however,
battled to make German the
language of the Technikum.
The battle of the languages
resulted in a triumph for
Hebrew and the partici-
pants in that struggle re-
present a Who's Who in dis-
putations. It was marked by
an anti-Zionism that as-
sumed vicious roles, and a
Zionist defense that
matched it in the resultant
ideological war which even-
tually gave the Zionists the-
dominant role at the Techn-
ion, as it did in the country
itself in the course of time.
There were so many
obstacles to hurdle, so
many difficulties, that the
Alpert history is like an
echo of Zionist and
Jewish history.
In the process of struggl-
ing, Technion became the
great creative force; em-
bracing every element in
technology, tackling medi-
cal problems and enriching
the academic sphere in
other studies, as indicated
among other matters by Al-
pert, whose descriptions of
achievements state, inter
alia:
"In the academic area a
mere listing of programs
cannot do justice to the
- —

growth during this period.
Brief mention must be
Made, however, of some sig-
nificant developments.
"One is the intensified re-
search in various fields of
energy, and the resolve of
President Horev to project
the importance of nuclear
power for Israel. An im-
mediate result has been a
program to provide better
facilities on campus for
studies and research in nu-
clear science. A new pro-
gram has also been
launched in marine
engineering and pioneer
work undertaken in indus-
trial robots.
"The Faculty of
Medicine has more than
lived up to expectations
and has blazed new paths
in medical education as
(Continued on Page 5)

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