Jewish Scholars Say Jewish Education Must Develop Comprehensive Approach

A group of leading Jewish scholars said today that Jewish education must move from its strongly classroom-centered methodology to a comprehensive approach in which the Hebrew school, the home, the local Jewish community, the summer camp, travel, academic Jewish studies, and offbeat Jewish student movements will all play recognized roles. The scholars, who had participated in a year-round Colloquium for Jewish Education at Brandeis University, sponsored by the Lown Graduate Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies and the American Jewish Committee, reported their conclusions at the final session of the Committee’s 65th annual meeting. Among these conclusions, made public by Maynard I. Wishner of Chicago, chairman of the AJCommittee’s Jewish Communal Affairs Commission, were the following: there is an urgent need for defined goals in Jewish education; innovative ideas are needed to bolster the limited hours spent at formal Hebrew school programs; many Jewish college students are seeking to revitalize Jewish education, their activities resulting in “a remarkable proliferation of Jewish studies on campus.” Dr. Leonard Fein of Brandeis University stated: “It is the durability of Judaic instinct which is our chief resource, and it is the impending atrophy of that instinct which makes the case for educational reform so urgent.” Rabbi Burt Jacobson, director of education at Temple Emunah in Lexington, Mass., said, “We should begin to design havurot, communities of shared living for Jewish youngsters and their parents to grow in, where there is a sense of sharing the Jewish past and present through study, worship and social service.” Most Colloquium members felt that the day school is the only instrument through which the Jewish community can achieve a fully-integrated program of Jewish and secular studies and create a more normal living experience for the students.

by MURRAY ZUCKOFF, JTA News Editor

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