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J. D. B. News Letter

June 2, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

At the close of the session here of the National Council for Jewish Education held at the Copley Plaza Hotel, one of the papers read was that on “Problems in the Teaching of Bible” by Dr. Emanuel Gamoran, President of the Council and Educational Director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

Dr. Gamoran pointed out the role which the Bible played in the world as a whole, and in Jewish life in particular. He stressed the idea that “one of your chief aims in teaching the Bible must be to maintain the loyalty of the Jewish youth to their people. To achieve this, we must devise criteria and standards of selection by which to determine carefully what of the Bible we should teach to our young. We should stress the teaching of universal human values as well as those which have helped the Jewish people to survive.

“The Bible is also one of the great books for the teaching of ideals. These should be taught in relation to classroom activity, dramatization, and lively discussions of the actual experiences of the pupils. Many Jewish children have heard the early Bible stories. But few have been given the opportunity to study enough of the Bible to be able to appreciate either its ideals or its duties. Often the Bible is only taught but not appreciated. It is our duty to teach our young so that they may fully realize the significance of the fact that the Bible is the greatest Jewish contribution to civilization.”

Mr. Zvi Scharfstein, instructor at the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary, read a paper on the teaching of Bible. He dealt with the problem of teaching the Bible portions describing miracles and stated that it is best to present these in the light of historical development, especially in teaching children of 12 or over. He stressed the point that whenever Biblical stories present certain characters as acting in accordance with ethical principles which we have outgrown, today, the teacher need not attempt to justify such action but should rather explain it in the light of the ancient time.

Mr. Edward A. Nudelman, Supervisor of Jewish Schools in Chicago, read a paper on a Critique of Individual Instruction. Mr. Nudelman pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of this relatively new method in Jewish education. While the average teacher is more likely to succeed with the individual method of instruction than with ordinary methods because many of the steps are worked out for him, the method has the disadvantage of routinizing the work and making it mechanical to a large extent. Further experimentation is needed to develop

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suitable content for individual work.

Dr. Jacob S. Golub, Director of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Cincinnati, in a paper on “Individuality in System.” urged that education has a lesson to learn from methods of business advertising for effective teaching. The teaching process concerns itself with two phases, the conveying of facts, and the explanation of the bearing of these facts upon present day life. The average teacher succeeds in teaching facts. He needs a great deal of helping in improving his ability in the interpretation of facts.

“My present thought,” said Dr. Golub, “is to seek suggestions for the construction of such a mechanism in the field of extra school room affairs. Modern commerce is dependent in increasing measure upon stimulating the desire for specific commodities. This is partly achieved through personal solicitation, but the greater share is done through sur-charging the environment with the need and the quality of the product. Repeating the idea of a slogan, pictorial representations of it tend to fix certain habits and to rouse responses on the part of people.” He found it, however, to be “below the dignity of education to bring advertising methods into the classroom, but there is nothing discreditable in any plan carried on with honesty and dignity. On the contrary, it will be in line with the movement towards a more extensive use of visual aids. We shall try to make these as emphatic as possible. Every phase of content teaching where a simple idea is stressed should be introduced through a carefully worked out visual exhibit. This exhibit should contain pictures, posters, grafts, etc. The explanatory visual material should become as much a part of the teaching routine as any of the other studied steps,” Dr. Golub concluded.

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