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Jewish Day Schools, Jewish CommunitiesA Reconsideration$
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Alex Pomson and Howard Deitcher

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113744

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113744.001.0001

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Do Jewish Schools Make a Difference in the Former Soviet Union?

Do Jewish Schools Make a Difference in the Former Soviet Union?

Chapter:
(p.109) Six Do Jewish Schools Make a Difference in the Former Soviet Union?
Source:
Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Communities
Author(s):

Zvi Gitelman

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113744.003.0006

This chapter describes Jewish education in the former Soviet Union (FSU). Intensive Jewish education is seen in many countries, including Israel, as the most promising antidote to the assimilation of Jews — meaning the loss of Jewish identity and commitment. Full-day schools especially have been seized upon by Jews in the FSU and their foreign supporters as the optimal solution to the lack of Jewish education, institutions, public life, and private religious practice among the 400,000 or so Jews left in the FSU. This conclusion is based on extrapolation from Western Jewry's experiences. Common sense would also lead one to believe that viable Jewish life — that which engages people in private and public Jewish behaviours and transmits commitment across generations — depends on education, and not of children alone. One crucial difference between the West and the FSU is that in the West, Jewish education is conveyed in a wider context of Jewish commitment and activity: the family, organized peer and interest groups, a communal structure, religious and cultural institutions, and family and group traditions. In the FSU, Jewish schools exist in a partial void.

Keywords:   Jewish education, Jewish schools, former Soviet Union, Western Jewry, FSU Jewish education, eastern Jewish education

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