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Studies in Jewish Education VII: The Beginnings of Jewish Educational Institutions

editor Walter Ackerman

Bibliographic information

TitleStudies in Jewish Education VII: The Beginnings of Jewish Educational Institutions
EditorWalter Ackerman
PublisherVarda Books
Publication Date2009


This  book  deals with the genesis of  Jewish educational institutions. . .

"The early years of life, whether of individuals or institutions, are critical to subsequent development and often provide an understanding of later behavior. The circumstances which led to the creation of new institutions, the difficulties encountered, and the fit between the idea of the institution and its actuality seemed worth describing, not only for reasons of historical and intrinsic interest but also because of what these accounts might tell us of the Jewish polity around the world. Lastly, of course, was the tempered hope that what happened in the past might help those today who are contemplating the creation of new settings for Jewish education...

Only one of the institutions whose beginnings are described here, Immanuel College in London, was a product of communal planning. All the others, both in Israel and the Diaspora, came into being through private effort, often individual, and almost always in the face of opposition from established institutions and people of authority. Most Jewish communities do not have sophisticated planning mechanisms; even where they exist they are not always able to respond with alacrity to the specific needs of the particular populations that comprise an increasingly pluralistic community."



WALTER ACKERMAN is the Shane Family Professor of Education Emeritus at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

SIMON CAPLAN, a graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows Program, is currently a freelance educational consultant working with communities in the Diaspora.

WILLIAM CUTTER is Professor of Education and Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, and Founding Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education.

DMITRI ELYASHEVICH is the Pro-Rector of Science at Petersburg Jewish University.

PAMELA JAY GOTTFRIED, a Rabbi, is assistant to the Dean of the List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and is pursuing a doctorate in Talmud.

CHARLES HERMAN is the Executive Director and Founder of the Nesiya Institute.

GILA KATZ is a Senior Teacher of the Tali School in Chernowitz, and representative of Midreshet Yerushalayim in the Ukraine.

YEHUDIT KESSARY is the Assistant Director of the Department of Jewish Education and Culture in the Diaspora of the Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education.

CHERIE KOLLER-FOX is the Rabbi and Educational Director of Congregation Etz Chayim in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

LEE L. LEVINE is Professor of Jewish History and Archaeology at the Hebrew University, and Rector of the Seminary of Judaic Studies, Jerusalem.

GUSTAVO DANIEL PEREDNIK is the Director of the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad, and lectures on Jewish Thought at the Rothberg School of the Hebrew University.

ALICE SHALVI, Founding Chairwoman of the Israel Women's Network, was a Professor of English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Principal of the Pelech Experimental High School for Girls, Jerusalem.

MICHAEL SWIRSKY is a Jerusalem writer and educator, and Founding Director of the Pardes Institute.

DEBORAH WEISSMAN is the Director of the Kerem Institute for training Israeli teachers in "Humanistic Jewish Education."



New Page 7


Ze'ev Mankowitz - Foreword 11

Walter Ackerman - Introduction 13


1. Elementary

Gila Katz - Jewish School [No. 51] Tali-Chernowitz 21

Yehudit Kessary - A Jewish Day School in France 36

2. Secondary

Walter Ackerman - "Nach Palastina Durch Wirballen" A Hebrew Gymnasium in Lithuania 38

Simon Caplan - Immanuel College: The Beginnings of an Educational Project 54

Alice Shalvi - "Women's Wisdom has Built its Home" A Highly Personal Account of the Pelech Experiment 81

3. Higher

William Cutter - Sof Ma'aseh Bemahsheva Origins at the Hebrew Union College: The Case of the Rhea Hirsch School 98

Dmitri Elyashevich - Petersburg Jewish University New Beginnings 124

Michael Swirsky - The Pardes Institute: An Experiment in Open-Ended Religious Education for Adults 130


Pamela Jay Gottfried - Camp Ramah: Origins, Problems, and Partial Solutions 145

Charles Herman - Nesiya An Israel Experience 158

Gustavo Daniel Perednik - Ideals, Tenacity and Youth The Centro Hebreo Iona 182


Cherie Koller-Fox - The Empowerment of the Jewish Teacher: Founding of the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education 213

Lee Levine - The Tali Schools 259

Deborah Weissman - Bais Ya'akov as an Innovation in Jewish Women's Education: A Contribution to the Study of Education and Social Change 278


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