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Judah Pilch Dead at 84

Dr. Judah Pilch, the former executive director of the American Association for Jewish Education (AAJE), the predecessor agency of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), died January 29. He was 84 years old.

Born in Kiev, Pilch came to the U.S. in 1928 and received his B.S. degree four years later from Lewis Institute in Chicago; his M.A. from Columbia University in New York City in 1946; and his Ph.D. from Dropsie College in Philadelphia in 1951.

A renowned Jewish educator, Pilch was a lecturer at the College of Jewish Studies in Chicago from 1929-39, and was director of the Jewish Education Association of Rochester from 1939-44. Pilch came to work for the Jewish Education Committee of New York City from 1944-49, and then joined the staff of the AAEJ.

In 1952, Pilch was named executive director of the AAEJ. In 1960, he withdrew from the directorship of the agency to become director of the AAEJ’s National Curriculum Research Institute, where he stayed until 1968, when he retired.

A prolific writer in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, Pilch was the author of “Jewish Life in Our Times” (1943) and “Teaching Modern Jewish History” (1948). He edited “A History of Jewish Education in the United States” (1968); “Judaism and the Jewish School” (with Meir Ben-Horin, 1966); and “The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe” (1968).

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