Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 30

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 30

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 30

Jewish Education in Eastern Europe

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 30


January 11th, 2018



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An emphasis on education has long been a salient feature of the Jewish experience. The pervasive presence of schools and teachers, books and libraries, and youth movements, even in an environment as tumultuous as that of nineteenth- and twentieth-century eastern Europe, is clear from the historical records. Historians of the early modern and modern era frequently point to the centrality of educational institutions and pursuits within Jewish society, yet the vast majority treat them as merely a reflection of the surrounding culture. Only a small number note how schools and teachers could contribute in dynamic ways to the shaping of local communities and cultures. This volume addresses this gap in the portrayal of the Jewish past by presenting education as an active and potent force for change. It moves beyond a narrow definition of Jewish education by treating formal and informal training in academic or practical subjects with equal attention. In so doing, it sheds light not only on schools and students, but also on informal educators, youth groups, textbooks, and numerous other devices through which the mutual relationship between education and Jewish society is played out. It also places male and female education on a par with each other, and considers with equal attention students of all ages, religious backgrounds, and social classes. The essays in this volume span two centuries of Jewish history, from the Austrian and Russian empires to the Second Republic of Poland and the Polish People’s Republic. The approach is interdisciplinary, with contributors treating their subject from fields as varied as east European cultural history, gender studies, and language politics. Collectively, they highlight the centrality of education in the vision of numerous Jewish individuals, groups, and institutions across eastern Europe, and the degree to which this vision interacted with forces within and external to Jewish society. In this way they highlight the interrelationship between Jewish educational endeavours, the Jewish community, and external economic, political, and social forces.


Author Information

Eliyana R. Adler is an associate professor in history and Jewish studies at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia (2011) and articles on the history of Jewish education. Currently she is preparing a manuscript on the experiences of Polish Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Antony Polonsky is Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University, and Chief Historian of the Global Education Outreach Program at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. His three-volume history the Jews in Poland and Russia (2010–12), also published by the Littman Library, was awarded the Pro Historia Polonorum Prize of the Polish Senate for the best book on the history of Poland in a language other than Polish.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Note on Place Names
Note on Transliteration
Part I Education in East European Jewish Society
1. Introduction: Education for Its Own Sake
Eliyana R. Adler
2. Repairing Character Traits and Repairing the Jews: The Talmud Torahs of Kelm and Grobin in the Nineteenth Century
Geoffrey Claussen
3. Legislation for Education: The Munkács Regulations Enacted by Rabbi Tsevi Elimelekh of Dynów
Levi Cooper
4. The Narrative of Acculturation: Hungarian Jewish Children’s Books during the Dual Monarchy, 1867–1918
Daniel Viragh
5. The Reaction of the Polish Press to Baron Maurice de Hirsch’s Foundation for Jewish Education in Galicia
Agnieszka Friedrich
6. A Story within a Story: The First Russian-Language Jewish History Textbooks, 1880–1900
Vassili Schedrin
7. Clothes Make the Man: A Photo Essay on Russian Jewish School Uniforms
Eliyana R. Adler
8. How Jews Gained Their Education in Kiev, 1860–1917
Victoria Khiterer
9. The Return of the Heder among Russian Jewish Education Experts, 1840–1917
Brian Horowitz
10. From Theory to Practice: The Fight for Jewish Education in Vilna during the First World War
Andrew Koss
11. Creating a New Jewish Nation: The Vilna Educational Society and Secular Yiddish Education in Interwar Vilna
Jordana de Bloeme
12. Between a Love of Poland, Symbolic Violence, and Antisemitism: On the Idiosyncratic Effect of the State Education System on Young Jews in Interwar Poland
Kamil Kijek
13. Between Church and State: Jewish Religious Instruction in Public Schools in the Second Polish Republic
Sean Martin
14. ‘Vos Vayter’? Graduating from Elementary School in Interwar Poland: From Personal Crisis to Cultural Turning Point
Adva Selzer
15. Jewish Youth Movements in Poland between the Wars as Heirs of Kehila
Ido Bassok
16. A Revolution in the Name of Tradition: Orthodoxy and Torah Study for Girls
Naomi Seidman
17. ‘The children ceased to be children’: Day-Care Centres at Refugee Shelters in the Warsaw Ghetto
Katarzyna Person
18. The Survival of Yidishkeyt: The Impact of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee on Jewish Education in Poland, 1945–1989
Anna Sommer Schneider
Part II New Views
19. Everyday Life and the Shetl: A Historiography
Jeffrey Veidlinger
20. Economic Struggle or Antisemitism?
Szymon Rudnicki
21. Gender Perspectives on the Rescue of Jews in Poland: Preliminary Observations
Joanna Michlic
21. Julian Tuwim’s Strategy for Survival as a Polish Jewish Poet
Giovanna Tomassucci
22. A Church Report from Poland for June and Half of July 1941
Tomasz Szarota
23. ‘I am in no hurry to close the canon’: An Interview with Professor David G. Roskies
Paweł Wolski
Władysław Bartoszewski
Ezra Mendelsohn
Jerzy Tomaszewski
Feliks Tych
Notes on Contributors