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eBook Studies in Jewish Education II: Jewish Educational Research in Diaspora
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Publisher:  Varda Books
Published:  2009
Language:  English
Pages:   322

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ISBN: 1-59045-963-6

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About the Book -- Studies in Jewish Education II: Jewish Educational Research in Diaspora

This volume focuses on the analysis of history, trends and the current problems in American Jewish education. The articles cover such issues as a Jewish schooling and the survival of Jews as Jews in the suburbs; impact of the Jewish schooling on the Jewish community; influence of John Dewey's method on the Jewish education, and more.


How is the tradition to speak to children and adults in our age, without becoming corrupted in the process of becoming meaningful and comprehensible? How can Judaism be intelligible without presenting it in a reductionist way which makes it superfluous?

In dealing with this problem and with the unease that gives it urgency, we must realize that the tradition itself is viewed as problematic, not only by the general community of Jews (where, indeed, many are not particularly perturbed by it), but among teachers as well. The question therefore arises, and it clearly engages the thinking and research of many at the Conference, what the substance of modern Judaism is and what we wish to transmit.

For the theoretical writer who maintains that Judaism remains anchored in a religious world-view, the question presents itself largely as a theological one. The educator, it is claimed, must be versed in the conceptions of Jewish thinkers including contemporary ones who have systematically stated what the tradition says (to them), what commitments it expounds and how it relates to and vindicates itself vis-a-vis other options of existence. Within these theological systems, it is asserted, one may find implicit educational philosophies; the educational theorist must locate them and prepare them, via explicit educational theory, for educational practice. Thus, Jewish theologies, if examined educationally, not only inform the educator what Judaism says in a given approach, but also how Jewish conceptions interact with theoretical concepts and general experience as these are known from the "universal" disciplines.

The educational theorist will show how Jewish values, ideals and ideas are not only distinctive, but how they can be more sharply delineated and/or characterized in terms of other cultures. Schremer shows how the philosophy of Buber may be approached by the educational theorist in this manner; Copeland's study of reading aloud in the Jewish educational tradition demonstrates how traditional norms and assumptions can be discovered in educational conceptions and patterns. For Copeland, reading aloud is intrinsic to what the Jewish tradition is saying about Torah, learning, the dialogue between man and God, and the position of the learner in the community.

The idea that means in education are never neutral with regard to desired goals, and that Jewish education must both learn from philosophy and yet not adopt it uncritically, constitute a focal aspect of the Jewish-modern discomfort. It is well illustrated by Cohen's study on the uses of deliberation in Jewish education. Deliberation as an attempt to locate problems before generating alternate solutions, so crucial a concept in Dewey's philosophy, isshown to have relevance for the Jewish model of "learning." In both cases (the Deweyan and the classic Jewish), Cohen indicates, the ultimate concern is with action. As Copeland juxtaposes the reading in dignified (or perhaps, deathly) silent libraries with the hum of the Bet Midrash, so Cohen contrasts the Aristotelian ideal of contemplation with the deliberation on moral and feasible alternatives for practice.

Aron, too, deals with deliberation in order to locate its methodological value and legitimacy for education. Though careful to point out the extreme individualism that characterizes decision-making in this method, Aron believes that, in our present Jewish situation, deliberation may constitute a crucial aspect of Jewish understanding and self-understanding; Jews, she implies, may be seen as those who seriously deliberate about Jewish things.

It is noteworthy that our writers, in searching for Jewish authenticity in the modern world in which they wish to live, from which they have learned, and to which they contribute, generally look either to implicit or general theologies (like that of Buber) or to educational concepts or patterns which are culturally specific but make no clear-cut dogmatic demands.

In the Jewish tradition, such clear normative obligations would involve community enforced standards of halacha in some form and some belief-commitment. Doctrinal or halachic unity is not an acute "problematic situation" for most of our scholars. They are troubled by the falling away from the community, by triviality in Jewish teaching, and they seek ways in which the religious dimension of existence may be, for Jews, imbued with the spirit and nourished by the religious culture of Jewish sources.

Nevertheless, the doctrinal and halachic dimensions are by no means unacceptable for inquiry; that is, it occasions no raised eyebrows today to be ill at ease about the dearth of halacha and/or indifference to Jewish doctrine. Thus, Dorph has no hesitation in stating that unless Jews are ready to live by religious norms, though these are not supported by American education and society, they cannot expect children to find Judaism significant . . .


ISA ARON serves as the coordinator of museum education at the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum, and is a faculty member of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from the University of Chicago.

GEOFFREY E. BOCK has been a Research Associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a doctorate from Harvard University.

BARRY CHAZAN is the Director of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

BURTON COHEN, Assistant Professor of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, also serves as National Director for the Ramah Camps and Programs. Dr. Cohen has been active in Jewish education on local school boards and national commissions.

STEVE COPELAND is a lecturer at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Copeland, who received his doctorate from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, was previously affiliated with the Solomon Schechter Day School, Newton, Mass. and National Young Judaea.

SHELDON A. DORPH is Director of the Jewish Academy of Los Angeles and Principal of Los Angeles Hebrew High School. Rabbi Dorph holds a doctoral degree from Columbia University.

YITZCHAK MEIR GOODMAN is a teacher at the Frisch Yeshiva High School and serves on the staff of Young Israel of Far Rockaway, New York. Dr. Goodman received smicha and a D.Ed, from Yeshiva University. He was awarded the second prize for his song in the 1979 American Chasidic Song Festival.

HAROLD S. HIMMELFARB is Professor of Sociology at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He has contributed to the Project on Jewish Education Statistics at the Institute for Contemporary Jewry of the Hebrew University. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

STUART KELMAN is Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. He received rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the University of Southern California. He is currently serving as Chairperson of CAJE.

RONALD KRONISH serves as the Director of In-Service Training and Evaluation of the Institute for Jewish and Zionist Education in Jerusalem. Dr. Kronish received his doctorate from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

EDUARDO RAUCH is co-director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. He holds a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University. Dr. Rauch was previously Assistant Professor at the University of Chile and on the staff of the Youth and Hechalutz Department of the Jewish Agency in Israel.

MICHAEL ROSENAK is former Director of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and teaches Philosophy of Jewish Education at the Centre and School of Education.

DAVID SCHOEM is a lecturer at the University of Michigan, where he directs the Pilot Program innovative academic-residential unit. Dr. Schoem, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, was the recipient of the Dushkin Prize from the Hebrew University for the outstanding doctoral dissertation in Jewish Education, 1970-1980.

ODED SCHREMER teaches Jewish education at Bar Ilan University, and is affiliated with the Melton Centre for Jewish Education in the Diaspora and the Ministry of Education. Dr. Schremer holds a doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

BENNETT I. SOLOMON, the Principal of the Eli and Bessie Cohen Hillel Academy of Swampscott, Mass., received his doctoral degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Solomon previously served in positions at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Mass., and at Camp Ramah in Pennsylvania and Canada.

RONALD G. WOLFSON is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, where he serves as Director of Education Programs, the Center for Innovative Jewish Education, and the Summer Institute for Jewish Educators. He received a Ph.D. in Education from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

MICHAEL ZELDIN is Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education.

About the Book


New Page 2

Barry Chazan - Preface 7

Michael Rosenak - Introduction: Trends and Problems in Current Jewish Educational Scholarship 9


Historical and Contemporary Perspectives in Jewish Education

Eduardo Rauch - Some Aspects of the Education of Jews in the United States from 1840 to 1920 21

David Schoem - Jewish Schooling and Jewish Survival in the Suburban American Community 52

Ronald G. Wolfson - A Description and Analysis of an Innovative Living Experience in Israel: the Dream and the Reality 65


Sheldon A. Dorph - A Model for Jewish Education in America: Guidelines for the Restructuring of Conservative Congregational Education 85

Ronald Kronish - The Influence of John Dewey upon Jewish Education in America 104

Burton Cohen - The Teaching of Deliberation in the Jewish School 122

Isa Aron - Deweyan Deliberation as a Model for Decision-Making in Jewish Education 136

Bennett I. Solomon - Curricular Integration in the Jewish All-Day School in the United States 150

Michael Zeldin - A Framework for Understanding Change in Jewish Education 175


Steve Copeland - The Oral Reading Experience in Jewish Learning 193

Oded Schremer - Towards Understanding Buber's I-Thou/I-It Dichotomy in the Context of Education 212


Geoffrey E. Bock - The Functions of Jewish Schooling in America 233

Harold S. Himmelfarb - The Impact of Religious Schooling: A Synopsis 255

Stuart Kelman - Why Parents Send Their Children to Non-Orthodox Jewish Day Schools: A Study of Motivations and Goals 289

Yitzchak Meir Goodman - A Correlation Study of Jewish Education and Hashkafah Among College-Age Jewish Students 299

The Contributors 318

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