The National-Cultural Movement in Hebrew Education in the Mississippi Valley


Publication Date: January 1993

Publisher: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Daniel J. Elazar

Research Area: Culture and religion; Education

Keywords: Hebrew Language Instruction; Part-time (supplementary) schools; Judaic Studies; Jewish Identification

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The author highlights the important efforts of pioneer Hebraists and Hebrew educators who introduced the study, teaching, speaking and writing of Hebrew in Mississippi Valley communities in the first half of the 20th Century. Characteristic of these educators, he writes, was their strong commitment to the national-cultural view of Jewish history and peoplehood, an approach that rejected efforts at denominational fragmentation and was oriented toward the teaching of history, language, and literature as the fundaments of Jewish culture. The report discusses the communal Talmud Torah, the Midwest Federation of Hebrew Teachers and the mixed success of the national-cultural movement with higher Jewish education, among other topics. Though the national-cultural approach did not survive, the author concludes that it was this movement that resulted in the founders of the Jewish studies movement in the universities.