Passionate Pioneers: The Story of Yiddish Secular Education in North America, 1910-1960

Passionate Pioneers: The Story of Yiddish Secular Education in North America, 1910-1960

Paperback

By (author) Fradle Pomerantz Freidenreich, Foreword by Jonathan D. Sarna

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  • Publisher: Holmes & Meier Publishers Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 536 pages
  • Dimensions: 201mm x 251mm x 38mm | 1,247g
  • Publication date: 15 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Trumbull, Connecticut
  • ISBN 10: 0841914575
  • ISBN 13: 9780841914575
  • Illustrations note: b/w illus
  • Sales rank: 854,393

Product description

This title includes a book & a CD. A little-known chapter in the history of Jews in North America involves a wide network of Yiddish schools and camps that sought to transmit a distinctive, authentic sense of secular yiddishkayt. Over a fifty-year period at the beginning of the last century, about 1000 Yiddish cultural schools were established in the United States and Canada, along with at least 39 summer camps, sponsored by a range of organisations. Together these schools and camps comprised a vibrant, multi-faceted educational movement with lasting significance, often overlooked by historians. The founders of these institutions, Eastern Europe immigrants who sought continuity with the richness of their past, formulated new models for education. True visionaries, they were pioneering in their efforts often considered radical at the time emphasising Yiddish language and literature, Jewish values, folklore, and traditions in various interpretations, ideology and politics. They were full of passion, seeking to touch the hearts and minds of students, creating meaningful experiences that would teach both values and facts. Many of the teachers were trained in Eastern Europe; and quite a few were also Yiddish poets, cultural critics, and artists. This is the first comprehensive documented record of this movement. Through extensive research, Fradle Pomerantz Freidenreich reveals the far-reaching contributions of these institutions. She consulted many archives in the United States and Canada, tracked down the stories of hundreds of students and the professionals and laypeople involved. She looked at communities, national sponsoring groups, curriculum and publications in a process which can be described as educational archaeology. For the author, the project was person al and professional. The daughter of a well-known Yiddish poet and a Jewish educator, she attended and later worked at a number of these schools and camps. In this ground-breaking study, personal narratives and objective reporting are integrated. Freidenreich found more than 160 communities, ranging from large cities to agrarian colonies that were host to Yiddish secular schools and camps far more than she anticipated and she discusses the birth and evolution of these institutions and their sponsoring groups, with their ideological and political differences. She also reports on their eventual decline and the legacy they left to the educational institutions that would succeed them, describing their many progressive pedagogical innovations. These Yiddish schools and camps were the first to link programs providing continuity in year-round Jewish education in the belief that true education is much more than book-learning and classroom lessons.

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