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Board of Regents Recognizes Hebrew Courses in High Schools of New York City

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Two important steps towards the final success of the courses in Hebrew which for the past two years have been conducted on an experimental basis in two New York City High Schools were taken recently, according to a statement by Israel S. Chipkin, Educational Director of the Jewish Education Association, who, together with Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Dr. S. Benderly, Director of the Bureau of Jewish Education of New York, has been active in guiding the experiment.

One of these steps, Mr. Chipkin reports, is the approval by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York of the syllabus in Hebrew as taught in these High Schools. The other is represented by the first examination given by the Board of Regents to pupils who have completed two years of the Hebrew courses. These examinations, Mr. Chipkin points out, mean that the successful completion of the courses in Hebrew will receive credit towards a High School diploma.

“The High School syllabus in Hebrew,” Mr. Chipkin states, “which was adopted first by the Board of Superintendents of the City of New York, and is now approved by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, was prepared by a committee headed by Jacob Greenberg, Director of Foreign Languages in Junior High Schools, as Chairman, and included the following men and women: Dr. Samson Benderly, Israel S. Chipkin, Florence Friedman, Deborah Goldstein, Harry Kessler, Celia Lewis, Joshua Neumann, Samuel Rakowitz, Hyman S. Rubinstein and Samuel Streicher. The text book in Hebrew used by the High School teachers, was the work of the Bureau of Jewish Education and of the teachers who were actually using the book in the classrooms. This text book is to be published by the Bureau in the near future and is being printed in Palestine.

“Thus, after two years, the experiment with Hebrew in the High Schools has, so far as these schools are concerned, proven a complete success. There are now five Hebrew classes in the Thomas Jefferson High School, and four in the Abraham Lincoln High School, the two schools that had been chosen for the experiment. To insure final success, however, it is essential that these courses be accepted for admission to the colleges. It goes without saying that failure to grant such recognition will deter large numbers of High School boys and girls from including Hebrew in their High School programs, particularly so since the students who choose Hebrew belong to those who go on with their education in the colleges. In this connection, it is gratifying to report that such recognition of Hebrew has already been accorded by New York University. It is hoped that the other colleges, in particular the College of the City of New York,, Hunter College and Brooklyn College, will not be behind in granting similar recognition. In the many steps and negotiations that were necessary in order to carry the project to its present state of accomplishment, due credit and appreciation is due to Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Dr. S. Benderly for their devoted cooperation as well as Dr. Harold G. Campbell, Associate Superintendent in charge of the High Schools; Dr. Elias Lieberman; Principal of Thomas Jefferson High School; Dr. Gabriel Mason, Principal of Abraham Lincoln High School, and all other members of the Committee have earned the gratitude of those to whom the advancement of the Hebrew language and culture is a matter of vital interest.”

Mr. Chipkin’s statement emphasizes the importance of cooperation of parents who have children in the High Schools for the final success and extension of the experiment.

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