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Bernard Revel

REVEL, BERNARD (Dov; 1885–1940), U.S. educator and scholar, leader of modern Orthodoxy. Revel, born in Kovno, Lithuania, studied at the yeshivah of Telz. In 1906 he emigrated to the U.S., where he studied at New York University and Dropsie College in Philadelphia. For a time he had an oil refining business in Oklahoma. In 1915, as rosh yeshivah, Revel began reorganizing the Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in New York, opening it to laymen and teachers as well as rabbinical students; and in 1916 he founded Talmudical Academy, the first combined academic high school-yeshivah in the U.S. In 1928, despite strong opposition from those who feared that Torah study would be undermined, Revel founded Yeshiva College as an extension of the seminary. It was the first liberal arts college under Jewish auspices and represented the first attempt to offer a traditional talmudic education with a modern course of secular studies on the higher level based on the principle of Torah im Derekh Ereẓ. Revel, who served as president of the college, organized the graduate school of Jewish studies, named after him, in 1937. He was the first institutional head to give semikhah to Orthodox rabbis in the U.S. Revel was honorary president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, and was vice president of the Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1927. He was associate editor of Oẓar Yisrael (1913), a Hebrew encyclopedia. His scholarly interests included Targum Jonathan, Josephus, Jubilees, the development of ancient exegesis, Karaism, and, especially, the evolution of halakhah. He published his doctoral dissertation for Dropsie College, Karaite Halakah and its Relation to Sadducean, Samaritan and Philonian Halakah (1913), which refuted A. *Geiger's claim that Karaism was a continuation of Sadduceeism. Revel's many articles and novellae were published mainly in the Jewish Quarterly Review, Ha-Pardes, Horeb, and Talpioth. A biography of Revel by A. Rothkoff has been published by the Jewish Publication Society of America (1972).


S.B. Hoenig, Rabbinics and Research; the Scholarship of Dr. Bernard Revel (1968), with full bibliography; B.A. Poupko (ed.), Eidenu, Memorial Publication in Honor of Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel (1942).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.