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August 24, 1984 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-24

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As Bar-Ilan University ap-
proaches its 30th anniversary, sev-
eral Detroiters who were in on its
founding gathered last week to recall
the early struggles of creating a
Jewishly-oriented university in the
then fledgling Jewish state of Israel.
Phillip Stollman, honorary
chairman of the global board of trus-
tees of the university, who is recog-
nized as the spark behind the mobili-
zation of Detroit support for the
Ramat Gan-based instituton, said
that the creation of the university
"was a tremendous struggle from the
very beginning." He said the Israel
government felt that the Hebrew
University, which already existed,
was enough.
Irving Nusbaum, whose late
parents Abe and Laura Nusbaum
were among the early benefactors,
put the situation in perspectiv6.
"This was at the beginning of the
Jewish state, and there were needs
that were so pressing. Everyone here
was working their hearts out just to
keep people fed, to bring people in, to
house them, to clothe them. And
there were already other existing
universities in Israel."
But according to Frieda
Stollman, who joins her brother-in-
law Phillip and husband, Max, in all
efforts on behalf of the university, the
vision of the late Dr. Pinchas Chur-
gin of Yeshiva University, then
president of the Mizrachi Organiza-
tion of America, overrode the nega-
tives coming from the Israel estab-
"Dr. Churgin had very great con-
fidence that Israel was going to de-
velop into a very large nation and it's
going to need leaders and the leaders
are going to come from the univer-
sities. And the leaders would have to
have not only a secular education but
really know what their roots were."
But how did Churgin's idea get
to Detroit? Through Phillip
"I was one of the first to whom he
revealed his plans, dreams and ideas.
I didn't believe that this thing was
really possible. The more he talked,
the more he convinced me it was

Hechtman wishes to see Bar-Ilan produce
the finest instructors.


Detroit founders of Bar-Ilan
University reminisce about early
struggles in founding Israel's
Jewishly-oriented university.

Local News Editor

worth a gamble," Stollman recalled.
Stollman took up the mantle for
fund-raising and enlisted many from
the community. In addition to the
Stollmans and Nusbaums, Detroiters
who actively contributed funds for
the erection of Bar-Ilan were Samuel
Hechtman, who will be honored by
the Detroit affiliate at its annual
dinner Sept. 18 at Cong. Shaarey
Zedek; Norman Allan; Samuel Platt;
Nathan Goldin and Emma Schaver.
Included too among the original
committee for Bar-Ilan were other
Jewish leaders, now deceased: Irving
Schlussel, Herman K. Cohen, Daniel
Temchin, Tzvi Tomkiewicz, Isadore
Muskovitz, Louis Pershin, Jack Syl-

van, Morris Schaver, Jacob Nosan-
chuk and Alex Cohen.
• The group held its first meeting
in the Nusbaum home and Dr. Chur-
gin took the charge of raising funds.
According to Mrs. Stollman, Churgin
wanted to raise the money, then
build a building. But the Detroit
founders had other ideas.
"We told Churgin 'let's build a
building, then raise the money.' They
had faith that they'd get the money to
do it," she recalled.
And their efforts were suc-
cessful. The university's cornerstone
was laid in July 1953 and two years
later it was open for business. Start-
ing with 70 students in 1955, among

Mrs. Stollman: "We want Bar-Ilan to be
the best."

Stollman: Creating the university "was a
tremendous struggle from the very

Jewish News Back-to-School Supplement

them Detroiter Abe Selesny, today
the university boasts an enrollment
of almost 12,000.
Hechtman attributes the success
and survival of Bar-Ilan to support
from Detroit Jewry. "Detroit kept up
fund raising regularly. We never
Nusbaum concurred. Support for
the university "has grown steadily
every year since the beginning. Up
till today, we always have more
people, more supporters and more
money raised every year from the
year before."
Not only has Detroit Jewry been
supportive via fund raising, but it as
also contributed major projects to
enhance, improve or benefit the in-
Among the Detroit projects are:
Stollman Administration Building,
Stollman Dormitory, Muskovitz and
Pershin Dormitory, Nusbaum Au-
ditorium, Grosberg Education Build-
ing, Ginsberg Terrace, Stollman
Chess Garden, Slomovitz Chair, tac-
kier Library Fund, Friedman Yid-
dish Teachers Training Program,
Shenkman Scholarship Fund,
Goldman Laser Laboratory, director
general's suite, psycho-educational
clinic, refurbishing of the adminis-
tration building lobby, endowment
funds, rooms and scholarship re-
, search and library endowment funds.
Named in memory of Rabbi Meir
Bar-Ilan, who advocated the combin-
ing of Jewish studies with secular
education, the university acts as a
bridge to bring together Sephardim
and Ashkenazim, religious and non-
religious students, Israeli and over-
seas students.
What do Phillip Stollman,
Frieda Stollman, Hechtman and
Nusbaum expect for the future?
"I would like to see it continue in
its present state and to help to de-
velop a future generation that will
embody the best of two worlds, secu-
lar and the Jewish religious world,"
Stollman said. Sister-in-law Frieda
concurred. "We're not looking to be
the largest, we want Bar-Ilan to be
the best."

Continued on Page 60

Nusbaum: Bar-Ilan business school will
improve the country.

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