Educating for Human Rights from the Jewish Perspective: Principles and Methods

July 6, 2016

Source: Human Rights and Religion in Educational Contexts - Volume 1 of the series Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Rights pp 219-229


The objective of this article is to analyze the significance of the human rights concept in Judaism and its implications in religious education. To begin with we will explain the nature of the concept according to the Jewish perspective, and then demonstrate how we can educate for human rights in the framework of Jewish education, through the case-study of the obligation to remember the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, and its practical implications as reflected in the Seder—the ceremony conducted during the feast of Passover. Employing Feuerstein’s mediating learning theory will enable us to broaden understanding human rights research and education.

Education for human rights in the framework of religious education and the obligation that Jewish fathers must fulfill

In accordance with Torah’s teaching “And thou shalt tell thy son” to remember the years of slavery in Egypt, religious education must include two basic components—the theoretical and the actual. In the Jewish perception, which is tangibly reflected in the Seder ceremony, learning in general and learning in religious education more particularly occurs in two ways—directly and experientially by means of objects, and through mediated learning. The commandment of teaching one’s offspring is carried out both through active experiential education with the five senses as we saw above (hearing, vision, taste, smell and touch) that enable a methodical process of concretizing the abstract commandments required of individuals, but chiefly via what Feuerstein (1990) calls mediated learning which I believe constitutes the quintessence of religious education in general and education for human rights more particularly.

Updated: Aug. 24, 2016