A Review of 'Family Matters: Jewish Education in an Age of Choice' Edited by Jack Wertheimer (Brandeis University Press, 2007)

May. 27, 2008

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 74, Issue 2, pages 237 – 240


Family Matters: Jewish Education in an Age of Choice, funded by the AVI CHAI Foundation, contains studies by seven contributors who aim to examine the broader environment in which Jewish schools and educational programs function including how parents make choices about Jewish education and talk about these decisions, as well as how families are impacted by different types of Jewish education.


The book is divided into three sections:

Parental Choices - includes an interview study of parents' educational choices for their children as well as an analysis of the National Jewish Population Study (NJPS) of 2000-2001 with respect to the impact of Jewish education on adult Jewish identity.


Jewish Education as a Family Matter - is comprised of five case studies using surveys, ethnographic observation, and interviews to explore the decision-making processes and experiences of different segments of the Jewish community, such as teenagers, enrollees in Jewish early childhood programs, and parents of school-age children.


The Communal Dimension – surveys Jewish education in seven North American communities.


The reviewer concludes that "one can't help but feel that the sum of the book's parts might be greater than the whole" and that "it will not be the last word on the many ways that families matter and function in Jewish education, but it is a thought-provoking start."

Updated: Oct. 04, 2008