Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

J. D. B. News Letter

May 19, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

That Cincinnati has practically no problem of the Jewish unschooled is the finding of a survey of the Jewish school population of the city carried out under the auspices of the local Bureau of Jewish Education of which Dr. Jacob S. Golub is director. The survey was effected with a force of one hundred and fifty-two workers, representing twelve Jewish women’s organization. The workers visited 4,562 families.

That the Cincinnati Jewish community is an adult community is evidenced by the fact that 2,063 homes in this city have no children below the age of sixteen; 2,026 homes have 3,568 children between the ages of six and sixteen. These figures, Dr. Golub pointed out, show an actual child population of school age that is far below previous estimates.

The survey further proves that 63½% of the children between the ages of six and sixteen attend religious schools. Of the 36½% who do not attend, two-thirds did, at one time or another, attend religious school. Attendance by age groups was tabulated and it was found that of the children between six and eight years of age, 60% of the boys attend and a further 3% did attend; 51% of the girls attend and a further 3½% did attend. Boys from nine to twelve years of age show an attendance of 80%, plus 5½% who stopped; the figures for girls in this group are 71 plus 10. The age group from thirteen to sixteen, however, shows a decided drop, only 54% of the boys and 50% of the girls attending any religious schools.

During the middle years of the child’s life, 80% receive about four years of Jewish instruction. Only 15% of the entire school population receive no Jewish education. Of the children who do not attend religious school, the reasons given for non-attendance were as follows: child bar-mitzvah or confirmed, 16%; disinterested 15%; reasons unknown, 14½%; child too old or too young, 13½%; school too far from home, 11½%; will send child next year, 10%; miscellaneous, 7½%; too busy, 6%; health of child delicate, 6%. By comparing these figures with the whole, it can be seen that only 5% of the children who do not attend religious school are disinterested-that is, either the parent is not interested, or else has no influence over the child. A fact of great interest is the finding that the big majority of the unschooled are from homes that have no synagogue affiliations.

At the mass meeting at which the findings of the survey were announced and discussed, Dr. Golub pointed out that one stage of Jewish development has been completed; Jews as a whole are convinced of the need for Jewish education and are sending their children to the schools. The intensifica- (Continued on Page 4)

Dr. Golub admitted that he had no ideas on the subject; what is needed is an application of old, recognized ideas. To begin with, he pointed out, not enough time is spent in the religious schools. One session a week is not enough. When seven days elapse from lesson to lesson, the thread of continuity is lost. Home work should be added to the curriculum; at present both fact and interpretation of fact have to be taught in the classroom. Dr. Golub warned his audience that the situation was particularly grave for the Reform community. If the Reform schools do not teach enough, they can develop no teachers and will have to draw their teachers from other groups.

On the question of teachers Dr. Golub showed the limitations in the religious schools. No system can flourish, he claimed, without a group of people specializing in that system. One-time-a-week teachers can not specialize in Jewish studies. The Reform religious school, in order to support efficient teachers, specializing in their subject, must increase the hours of study and redistribute classes throughout the week.

Dr. Emanuel Gamoran, president of the National Council for Jewish Education, also discussed the findings of the survey. Dr. Gamoran gave a code of standards for the ideal religious school. He stressed the point that Jewish education should not lay so much stress on the past and should take up the vital, living, Jewish activities and life about us. He advocated courses in current events, using Young Israel in the lower grades and the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” in the upper grades.

Recommended from JTA