Birth of Bernard Revel
Birth of Bernard Revel
Rabbi and scholar Bernard Revel was born on September 17, 1885, in Prienai, Russia (present-day Lithuania).
Revel first studied under his father, who was also a rabbi. After his father’s death in 1896, Revel studied under other local rabbi’s and graduated from high school through independent study. Revel participated in the Russian revolutionary movement and was arrested and imprisoned following the revolution of 1905.
After he was released in 1906, Revel moved to the United States. He attended Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and earned a Master of Arts degree from New York University in 1909. Revel then met Rabbi Bernard Levinthal, one of the leading rabbis in America, who invited him to come to Philadelphia to serve as his secretary and assistant.
While in Philadelphia, Revel briefly attended law school but realized that wasn’t what he wanted to do. He went on to earn a doctorate of philosophy from Dropsie College.
Revel got married in 1908 and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to join his wife’s family business in the oil industry. He built a sizable fortune there and continued his study of the Torah.
In 1915, Revel was invited to move back East to serve as the first president of Yeshiva College. Under his leadership, the school (which had been created by merging two existing schools) combined a liberal arts program with Jewish studies and established a graduate school to train rabbinical leaders.
Revel was well respected among his students. In addition to his duties, he continued his own studies. He was largely concerned with finding ways to continue traditional observances in the modern world. He also wanted to establish a growing educational system that helped his students feel accepted in the world. To honor Revel’s role in the school’s history, their graduate school was named after him.
Outside of the school, Revel was also a member of the Union Orthodox Rabbis and was appointed its honorary president. He published articles in several Hebrew periodicals and was an associate editor of Otzar Yisrael, ad Hebrew Encyclopedia. He also became the first vice president of the Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1935. Revel died on December 2, 1940, in New York.
About the Bernard Revel Stamp…
If you look closely at Dr. Revel’s beard you may be able to see this stamp’s secret mark – the Star of David. Placed there by the engraver, this practice is prohibited by the US Postal Service.
Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.