Educational Attitudes and Language Choice at the Birth of a Progressive Yiddish-language Folks Shule in Argentina

July, 2014

Source: International Journal of Jewish Education Research (IJJER), 2014 (7), 55-76


This paper discusses the Yiddish-language foundational act of the Max Nordau shule in La Plata, Argentina. It also discusses the historical and political context of the school’s foundation and the founders’ educational attitudes toward progressive education and Yiddish as the language of instruction and daily use. The paper reveals insights gained from a study of the Yiddish language foundational act document, such as the importance of Jewish elementary education for the survival of Jewish culture and the transmission to children of a strong Jewish identity.


The school’s foundational document reveals for the first time the circumstances surrounding the creation of a Yiddishe folks shule in Argentina. A close reading of this newly discovered document allows us to gaze at the often tense interactions between Orthodox religious Jews and Yiddishist left-leaning Jews. It also aims to give a voice to the anti-assimilation views of Jewish groups in Argentina at the birth of a folks shule in an ideologically-divided Jewish community in the early 20th century.

Updated: Sep. 23, 2014