(By Our Philadelphia Correspondent)
A complete reorganization of the Jewish educational system in Philadelphia with a view to attracting a wider element to Jewish religious schools will be undertaken at an educational conference to be called here shortly. Representatives of the existing religious school systems will be present and will be invited to organize a central body to direct Jewish education in Philadelphia.
This is made known in the report just issued by a group of Jewish educators headed by Dr. Cyrus Adler. The group, known as the Committee of Fifteen, was appointed by Judge Horace Stern, President of the Federation of Jewish Charities. Their report, issued after an extensive survey of existing conditions over a period of two years, finds that there is a duplication of effort, a lack of concentration and of harmony between the three religious school systems, which now function in Philadelphia, i.c., the schools of the Associated Talmud Torahs, the Hebrew Sunday School Society and the Congregational Schools.
The Committee recommends that a Council of Jewish education be formed to act as a central directing body, to which the existing systems would be subsidiary and subordinate.
The report of the Committee of Fifteen for the extension of Jewish education is to be presented to the forthcoming conference. If it meets with the approval of the Conference the report is then to be submitted to each of the constituent bodies for approval. Provided a majority approves the plan, the Council will be organized to consist of twenty-five persons. Each participating organization is to have at least one representative on this council, while the remaining representatives will be apportioned on an equable basis depending on the budgets of each institution.
The educational plan suggested would have the prevalent type of school for all primary grade one that provides sessions for only about seven hours per week, meeting three times weekly. In the Intermediary grades, a more intensive course would be provided for those who desire and are competent to continue the course of study. The Sunday schools will be continued for those who cannot attend the three day sessions, and will also in some measure supplement the work of other schools.
The Central Council, when it is formed will also undertake extension work. The outstanding feature of which will be making adequate provision for the training of teachers. The following plan of operation toward this end is proposed: “Gratz College should be the agency for training the various types of teachers required. The present course should be maintained, but improved and enlarged. To achieve this purpose the Faculty of Gratz College will have to be enlarged and some changes introduced into its administration and curriculum. Afternoon classes in addition to the present evening classes may be added.
“Under the auspices of Gratz College, extension courses, less rigorous than its full curriculum should be provided for such persons as may desire to teach in Sunday Schools or Sabbath Schools or to qualify as leaders of clubs or circles of children. These extension courses might be organized on the same general plan as the Israel Friedlaender Classes in New York.”
The report is made public under the signatures of the following: Dr. Cyrus Adler, Chairman; Dr. Julius H. Greenstone. Secretary; Professor Max L. Margolis, Rabbi B. L. Levinthal, Rabbi Max D. Klein, Louis E. Levinthal, Judge Horace Stern, Mrs. Ephraim Lederer, Judge William M. Lewis, Dr. Solomon Solis-Cohen, Rabbi A. A. ?uman, Rabbi Marvin Nathan, Rabbi Samuel Fredman, Jacob Billikopf. A. M. Burd, Mrs. Hiram Hirsh, and Mrs. Max Behrend.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.