Why Study American Jewish History?
Publication Date: January 2004
Publisher(s): Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education
Author(s): Jonathan D. Sarna
Series: Jewish Education News, Summer 2004
Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive
Keywords: History; Jewish Youth; Education
Coverage: United States
The author presents and critiques various suggested historical and contemporary reasons for teaching Jewish history to young Jews, an area of the curriculum that has fallen relatively out of favor over the last couple of decades. He questions the idea that history should be taught for the sake of creating memory, since it might lead to intellectual dishonesty and lack of integrity, especially with regards to teaching history that reflects badly on Jews as individuals or as a group. Rather, he proposes teaching history with an emphasis on the theme of human potential: the ability of American Jews - young and old, men and women alike - to change the course of history and transform a piece of the world.