Theories of Americanization and the Jewish Educational Experience in the United States (From the Turn of the 20th Century to the Late 1930's)

Published: 
July, 2014

Source: International Journal of Jewish Education Research (IJJER), 2014 (7), 5-28

 

In a recent treatise on the "Historiography of American Jewish Education" the author (Krasner, 2011a, p. 117) quoted Sarna's critique on "the death of high caliber scholarship on the history of American Jewish Education" (Sarna, 1998, p. 8). Indeed, the aim of this study is an historical-analytical exposition of "Theories of Americanization" referring to Jewish education at one of the major crossroads in the United States of America, the latter years of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century.

 

These interpretations were developed and applied by three eminent leaders in American Jewish education. The three educationists whose interpretations are analyzed in this study are: Alexander M.Dushkin (1890-1976) and his major work, Jewish Education in New York City (1918); Isaac B. Berkson (1891-1975) and his book, Theories of Americanization (1920), and Emanual Gamoran (1895-1962) and his volume, Changing Conceptions in Jewish Education (1924). These three scholars were part of a group of young educators called the "Benderly Boys" (Goren, 1970; Iram, 1977; Krasner, 2011b), who were actively involved in positions of educational leadership in Jewish education. Their interpretations of the American theories of "Americanization" and of "cultural pluralism" contained implications for Jewish education in the United States.

Updated: Sep. 23, 2014
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