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The Jewish people has an educational tradition as old as history (see *Education, Jewish). From the very beginning of their identification as a distinct entity, Jews have contributed not only to the advancement of their own education, but also to that of the world at large. The educational principles of the Bible found their way into the educational thought of Christians and Muslims. As an example one might cite the moral, spiritual, and character education through the family and community described in the Book of Proverbs. Compulsory teaching, incumbent upon the father in the first instance, is ordained in Deuteronomy 6:6–9 and 11:18–20. Compulsory school attendance was decreed by *Simeon b. Shetah in 75 B.C.E. and by *Joshua ben Gamla in 64 C.E. In recent years, educators have come to recognize that ancient Jewish education anticipated, and no doubt indirectly and remotely influenced, modern education. Thus the National Education Association of the United States cited the Babylonian Talmud as authority for a maximum class size of 25 pupils (BB 21a). The same source requires, under Joshua ben Gamla's ordinance, that children start school at six or seven, the age at which children all over the world traditionally enter school. Adult education is sometimes traced by educational historians, such as I.L. *Kandel, to the bet ha-midrash of Second Temple times. The importance of the teacher in the learning process is repeatedly emphasized in the Talmud (Avot), as is the significance of motivation in teaching and of vocational training-principles, which are basic to effective instruction and a modern educational system. The practice of "each one teach one," inaugurated by Frank C. Laubach in teaching literacy to the people of developing nations, has a talmudic prototype.

For most of their history, Jews educated their children in their own institutions and expressed their educational ideas in their own languages, until the late 18th century. There was little contact between Jewish and non-Jewish pedagogues. Jews made few, if any, contributions to general education during the greater part of the development of education from ancient times. One outstanding exception may be Constantinus Afer or Africanus (d. 1087), believed by some historians to be Jewish. He influenced the course of medical education at the University of Salerno and other medieval universities, chiefly through his Latin translations of Greek and Arabic medical works, many of the latter of Jewish origin. Africanus had learned Hebrew and Kabbalah from a Jewish teacher and transmitted his inspiration to the German humanist Johannes *Reuchlin. Reuchlin then learned his Hebrew from Jacob Loans, physician to the emperor Frederick III, and from R. Obadiah *Sforno, the biblical exegete. Reuchlin went on to introduce the study of Hebrew as a learned subject in German universities. In this way Jews exercised an impact on the development of the European university curriculum.

The Edict of Tolerance issued by Emperor Joseph *II of Austria in 1782 applied the principles of the Enlightenment to the Jews of his empire. Among other reforms, Jews were permitted to enroll their children in government schools and to establish secular schools of their own. Young Jews could now attend institutions of higher education. These changes were hailed by Naphtali Herz *Wessely, a disciple and collaborator of Moses *Mendelssohn, in his Divrei Shalom ve-Emet (Berlin, 1782). The separation of Jews from the general stream of education was now beginning to be bridged. This German Haskalah *period ushered in a growth of interest among Jews in the secular pedagogical theories and practices of their Christian neighbors. Especially of interest to Jewish educators were the new ideas and methods of Johann Bernhard Basedow, Johann Friedrich Herbart, and Friedrich Froebel of Germany, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi of Switzerland, and Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster, founders of the mutual or monitorial method of instruction in England.

Among the Jewish contributors to education in the early 19th century was the Austrian philanthropist Joseph Ritter von *Wertheimer who, among other things, was responsible for the development of Austrian kindergartens, the first of which he founded in Vienna in 1830. Another was Sir Isaac Lyon *Goldsmid, the first Jewish baronet in England, who helped to finance the establishment of University College in London (1825). The list of Jewish philanthropists in education is long. It covers many types of institutions in many countries. Among the men who made munificent and influential benefactions to education were Julius *Rosenwald, who contributed huge sums for the founding of schools for Blacks in the Southern states of the U.S.; James *Loeb, patron of the Loeb Classical Library; Sir Ernest *Cassel, founder of the Anglo-German Institute for the advancement of cultural relations between the two countries through the encouragement of mutual studies; and the Baroness Mayer de *Rothschild, who founded the Association for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in London on the basis of the lip-reading method practiced by William van Praagh. The kindergarten movement received much attention from Jewish educators and philanthropists. Adolf Pick (1829–1874) founded a pioneering kindergarten in Italy on the German model. In Germany, the original home of the kindergarten, the well-known feminist Lina *Morgenstern-Bauer was an ardent propagandist of the movement through her writings on childhood development, as well as a founder of kindergartens and seminaries for training kindergarten teachers. In still another branch of education there was a Jewish pioneer in the 19th century. Otto Salomon (1849–1901) promoted the teaching of manual skills in Swedish schools. In 1875 he established the Sloyd Seminarium at Nääs, where he trained teachers of manual crafts from all over the world. His impact on education was extensive not only in Sweden, but in other countries as well. A notable educator in the specialized field of teaching deaf-mutes was the Frenchman Jacob Rodrigues *Péreire. The first teacher of deaf-mutes in France, Péreire was to influence Maria Montessori a century later in her teaching of handicapped children. The international authority Edouard Séguin has also testified to the significance of Péreire's work. Perhaps the most long-lasting contribution to general education was the opening in 1805 of a school in Seesen, Germany, by Israel *Jacobson, an initiator of the Jewish Reform movement and an ardent advocate of closer Christian-Jewish relations. Among German historians this type of school is known as a "Simultanschule," an institution where religious instruction is given to different religious groups within the same school building. For 30 years, between 1838 and 1867, there was an equal number of Jewish and Christian pupils in the school, but because of the shortage of Jewish teachers of secular subjects, especially the sciences, as a result of the earlier limitations on higher education for Jews, there was a much larger proportion of Christians on the staff. Jacobson's school remained in existence until the advent of the Nazis in 1933. Few other Jews in the 19th century made any recognizable mark on general education. Félix Hément (1827–1891) rose from elementary teaching in France to become inspector of primary schools in the department of the Seine and, upon his retirement, honorary inspector-general of public instruction. Naphtali Herz *Imber, author of Ha-Tikvah, contributed bulletins on ancient Jewish education to a series published by the U.S. Bureau of Education.

In the 20th century, the liberalization of the position of Jews in the Western world made it possible for more of them to participate in the educational thought and work of the world at large. Ferenc Kemény (1860–1944), a Hungarian convert to Christianity who served as teacher, principal, school inspector, and professor at the University of Budapest, was active in promoting plans for international education toward world peace. Emile *Durkheim, professor of sociology and education at the universities of Bordeaux and Paris, won an international reputation not only as a sociologist, but also as author of a number of influential and scholarly works on education. International figures in education included William *Stern, an émigré from Hamburg to Duke University in the U.S., whose Psychologie der fruehen Kindheit (1914; Psychology of Early Childhood, 1924) and interpretation of the nature of intelligence were most helpful to teachers on both sides of the Atlantic. Also of international interest was Kurt Hahn (1886–1974), another refugee from Nazi Germany, who moved his Salem progressive school to Gordonstoun, Scotland, where Prince Philip and his son Prince Charles received their education.

To obtain a balanced view of the Jewish contribution to education the subject should also be considered from the standpoint of particular nations.

In Germany, Clara Stern, the wife of William Stern, wrote on and put into practice principles of child development in relation to education. Erich *Stern, a doctor of medicine and philosophy, was a professor at the universities of Giessen and Frankfurt before leaving for the University of Paris after 1933. His educational work was concerned with intelligence tests and with the application of child psychiatry. Curt *Bondy, who returned to Germany after World War II to become professor of social and educational psychology at the University of Hamburg, planned a system of education for juvenile prisoners. In the theoretical aspects of education, Jonas *Cohn, the neo-Kantian philosopher, wrote several works on educational philosophy, among them Geist der Erziehung (1919). Like Cohn, Richard *Hoenigswald approached pedagogy by way of his philosophical specialty, and wrote books on the theoretical foundations of education. He left Germany for the U.S. in 1933 after having been professor of philosophy at the universities of Breslau and Munich. There were many German Jewish educators who were concerned with the education of girls and women. Susanne *Engelmann wrote on the psychological foundations of girls' education, as well as a study of the teaching of German literary history. Ulrike Henschke (1830–1897) and her daughter Margarete (1859–?) were active in the promotion of secondary and vocational education for girls. Higher education for women was the special interest of Henriette Goldschmidt (1825–1920), who also made significant contributions, as a follower of Froebel, to the development of the kindergarten movement. This movement benefited immensely from the activities and writings of Clara Morgenstern and Johanna Goldschmidt. Eugen Pappenheim (1831–1901) opened kindergartens and seminaries, edited Der Kindergarten, and founded the Deutscher Froebelverband (1873). Among the other prominent German Jewish educators were Kurt Levinstein, author of research on the history of education and the teaching of literature; Leo *Kestenberg, author and editor of books on musical education; and Fritz *Karsen, head of the Karl-Marx-Schule in Berlin, a specialist in experimental schools and later professor of education at Brooklyn College, New York. August Homburger (1873–1930), a psychiatrist, founded in Heidelberg in 1917 the first German counseling center for the education of the mentally handicapped.

In Austria, Theodor *Heller pioneered in the teaching of the blind and the mentally handicapped, wrote and edited works in these fields, and organized societies. Alfred *Adler founded kindergartens and experimental schools, and edited and published works on education from the standpoint of individual psychology. Ferdinand Birnbaum (1892–1947), a psychologist, promoted through his teaching, writing, editing, and organizational work, the education of mentally handicapped children on an international basis. Siegfried *Bernfeld, a Freudian psychoanalyst, was active in youth psychology and education. In Denmark, Ernst Trier (1837–1893) founded the Vallekilde Folk High School (1865) in accordance with the principles of Grundtvig. Sofie *Elkan, a novelist, translated the writings of Comenius, Salzmann, and Pestalozzi into Swedish, thus making pedagogical classics available to the teachers of Sweden.

Jean *Zay, a youthful minister of education in France in 1936–39, introduced a school reform involving careful guidance of 11-year-old pupils before classification in secondary education. Among contemporary educators have been Lamberto *Borghi, professor and director of the Istituto di Pedagogia, University of Florence, and author and editor of pedagogical works and journals; Leon van Gelder, professor of education at the University of Groningen and former director of the Dutch teachers' association; and Joseph Katz, professor of comparative education at the University of British Columbia, founderpresident of the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada, and author and editor of significant writings on Canadian and international education.

Jews have played a significant role in general education in the U.S.S.R. Moses M. Rubenstein wrote extensively on the applications of psychology to education. Sergey L. *Rubinstein, of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, worked along similar lines. Moses M. Pistrak (1888–1940), author of the first textbook on education for pedagogical institutes (1934), also wrote works on educational theory. Yevgeni Y. Golant, professor at the Hertsen Pedagogical Institute in Leningrad, became a leading figure in the historical and methodological aspects of education. Sholom Izrailovich Ganelin, of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, is recognized as a specialist on the theory and history of education. Alexander R. Luria, a psychologist in the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, won an international reputation as an expert on the education of the mentally handicapped. Elye I. Monoszon, another of the many Jews in the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, wrote important works on didactics. Distinction in editorial work was attained by M.S. Epstein, coeditor of the pedagogical encyclopedia (1927–30), and by David A. Epshtein, an editor of the new children's encyclopedia.

In England, Sir Meyer A. Spielman (1856–1936) served as inspector of schools for juvenile delinquents and as a pioneer in the Borstal movement for their rehabilitation. Sir Philip J.H. *Hartog was a well-known specialist on higher education and on education in India. Susan *Isaacs applied psychoanalytic methods in early childhood education, published important studies on the social and intellectual development of children, and headed the department of child development at the University of London's Institute of Education (1933–43). A refugee from Nazi Germany, where he was professor of psychology at the University of Frankfurt, Karl Mannheim enhanced his international reputation when he was professor at the University of London's Institute of Education by his publications on the sociology of knowledge and education.

In the United States, the Jewish contributions to general education in the 20th century have been varied, frequent, and profound. Probably the single most influential force in changing American education was Abraham *Flexner, the author of reports on medical education (1910) and universities (1930). The arguments of Louis *Marshall, the lawyer on behalf of private schools, influenced the U.S. Supreme Court's Oregon decision (1925) upholding the constitutionality of parochial schools. Lillian D. *Wald, a social worker, pioneered in public school nursing in New York City. Vice Admiral Hyman G. *Rickover emerged as a widely read critic of the U.S. educational system. Of particular value was the analysis by Fred M. Hechinger, who replaced Benjamin Fine as education editor of the New York Times. In the professional field of education, numerous Jews have distinguished themselves: Isaac B. *Berkson, Harry S. *Broudy, and Israel *Scheffler in the philosophy of education; Bernard Bailyn, Lawrence A. *Cremin, and Saul Sack in the history of education; Isaac L. Kandel and Harold J. Noah in comparative education; David P. *Ausubel, Bruno *Bettelheim, Benjamin S. *Bloom, Frank S. Freeman, Kurt *Lewin, and Irving *Lorge in educational psychology and research; Jacob Greenberg, Mark M. Krug, Morris Meister, Paul C. Rosenbloom, and Joseph J. *Schwab in methods of teaching various subjects; Harold H. *Abelson, Paul *Klapper, and Harry N. *Rivlin as deans of university schools of education; and Myron *Lieberman as specialist on the professional status of teachers. Abraham A. *Ribicoff and Wilbur J. *Cohen both served as U.S. secretary of health, education, and welfare; David H. Kurtzman was superintendent of public instruction in Pennsylvania. Rose Shapiro was elected president of New York City's Board of Education in June 1968. Most of these experts exercised considerable influence on education in other countries. Another powerful force in education was the mostly Jewish United Federation of Teachers in New York with over 140,000 members. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with the controversial Albert *Shanker serving as president 1964–74, it led a number of major strikes to improve the conditions of the city's teachers.

Two Israelis have won international recognition in education. The philosophical and educational writings of Martin *Buber have had a profound impact in educational theory and on teaching in Protestant theological seminaries in various countries. Ernst A. *Simon pioneered in the teaching of general educational history and theory in Israel, in research in these fields, and in advancement of comparative education.


S. Kaznelson (ed.), Juden im deutschen Kulturbereich (19592), 307–22; C. Roth, The Jewish Contribution to Civilisation (19563), 37–53 (bibl.), 281–2.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.