By publishing “And You Shall Teach Them Diligently”: A Concise History of Jewish Education in the United States 1776-2000, Gil Graff has accomplished a Herculean task. He has provided an accessible and crisp summary of the rich and variegated educational history of American Jews from the early national period to current developments, within the confines of a slim volume.
Graff limits himself to examining the frameworks in which American Jewish education has been conducted, as he notes in the introduction to the work. Thus, Graff does not deal extensively with various aspects of American Jewish educational history such as the history of Jewish curricula or the shifting ideals of American Jewish thought. Nevertheless, placing educational institutions as the focus of the work is a judicious choice inasmuch as they are the axis around which other aspects of Jewish educational history revolve. Thus, by emphasizing educational institutions Graff is able to touch upon the major developments of each period of American Jewish educational history.