Franz Rosenzweig and the Elementary School Teacher: A Midrashic Re-Viewing of an Experiment in Adult Education

Sep. 21, 2005

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 71, Issue 3 September 2005 , pages 261 - 277


This article proposes to read events of the educational past not as history but as midrash. It juxtaposes an historical account of a watershed experiment in adult education (Franz Rosenzweig's Freie Judisches Lehrhaus) with an ethnographic account of a presently practicing elementary school teacher.

These accounts are generically different and historically distant from one other, but, through association and conversation, there emerges from them some challenging suggestions about how knowledge is born of speech, how learning includes teaching, and how teaching is predicated on desire. Viewing the Lehrhaus project from a "midrashic" stance, invites an enlarged reading of it as an educational experiment and poses questions about the interpretative potential in the intersections between narrative research genres.

Updated: Apr. 09, 2008