- In Bible Times.
- Simon ben Shetaḥ.
- Talmudic Maxims.
- Details of School Life.
- Hai Gaon on Teaching.
- Medieval Pedagogics.
- Decline in Jewish Education.
- Views of Maimonides.
- First Modern Schools.
- Need for Reform.
- Influence of Mendelssohn.
- Congregational Schools.
- Religious Text-Books.
- The Karaites.
The science of education. The fundamental law of Biblical pedagogy is that the child should be instructed in the doctrines of religion and should know them so clearly that he will realize that he ought to live in accordance with them (Deut. iv. 9, vi. 7, xxxi. 12-13). Kennedy says (in Hastings, "Dict. Bible," s.v. "Education") that the pedagogical principles of Israel are without parallel in ancient literature. Every home was a school, and every parent a teacher. Only the aristocracy employed instructors, and these because, as is the case with all enervated aristocracies, it had become lax in its sense of responsibility (II Kings x. 1-5). Nevertheless, the prophet Nathan seems to have acted as the tutor of Solomon (II Sam. xii. 25).In Bible Times.
The ability to read and write was general with the ancient Hebrews. The husband issued the bill ofdivorce. Witnesses signed documents and contracts, and spies submitted their report in the form of a plan (Josh. xviii. 9). A boy wrote out the names of the princes and elders of Succoth (Judges viii. 14). Certain ritual objects called for the employment of the art of writing, e.g., the tefillin and the mezuzah. Writing-implements are frequently mentioned (Judges v. 14; Isa. viii. 1; Jer. vii. 8, xvii. 1; Job xix. 24), and calligraphy was cultivated by several gilds (I Chron. ii. 55). Seven state secretaries are mentioned in the period of the Kings.
A second principle of Jewish education, equally appreciated and applied, insisted on the recognition of the nature of the child. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. xxii. 6). The considerateness with which the Bible regards childhood has its ground not so much in pity for its helplessness as in an appreciation of its possibilities. The Bible does not make a thoroughgoing distinction between methods of education and means of discipline. "Correct thy son," says the Book of Proverbs, "and he shall give thee rest: yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul" (ib. xxix. 17). "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (ib. xiii. 24). "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell" (ib. xxiii. 13-14). Good training, and by that is meant discipline as well, furthers the happiness of children (ib. x. 1, xvii. 25, xix. 26, xxiii. 24). It brings tranquillity to parents, and attends the child through life (ib. xix. 8; xxii. 18).
In view of the educational wisdom preserved in it, the Book of Proverbs constitutes the oldest text-book on pedagogy in existence. All life, according to it, is disciplinary, and so is education. Though the rod of correction is necessary (ib. xii. 24; xxix. 15), still a rebuke is better than a hundred stripes (ib. xvii. 10). The words of teachers, which are as goads (Eccl. xii. 11), are spoken "in quiet" (ib. x. 17). The soferim who thus speak are perhaps the first gild of teachers of which there is any record. They were the "melammedim," "morim" (ib.), and "ḥakamim" (Prov. xxii. 17).
The reorganization by Ezra was as epoch-making in educational as it was in civil interests. "Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" (Ezra vii. 10). The Torah, he ordained, should be read and studied. Though Ezra can hardly be called the founder of the synagogue system under which the community grouped about the local house of worship, it is still true that he laid the foundation of it by making the synagogue central for instruction. Philo calls the synagogue "the place of instruction" ("De Vita Mosis," iii. 27). Greek culture, which became potent in Palestine, affected Jewish educational methods to an appreciable degree. Even Jerusalem is said to have had schools and gymnasia modeled on the Greek type. At any rate it may be accepted that the level of culture at this period was high.Simon ben Shetaḥ.
The founder of the system of elementary education was Simon ben Shetaḥ (Yer. Ket. viii. 11, 32b). The school was not in immediate connection with the synagogue; but sessions were held either in a room of the synagogue or in the house of the teacher. The teachers ranked in the following order, namely, sage, scribe, ḥazzan (Soṭah ix. 15). Between 63 and 65
After the destruction of Jerusalem the center of Jewish culture was transferred to Jabneh (70). Here, with the consent of the Romans, Rabbi Johanan b. Zakkai established an academy. His example was imitated at Cæsarea and elsewhere. Thus the Law was rescued, though the Temple could not be saved. Pupils crowded these educational rallying-points. Instruction was altogether oral. A verse of the Bible was learned every day, and the text was then explained with reference to daily living.
The greatest event, since the days of Ezra, in the history of Jewish education has been the compilation of the Mishnah by Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (198). It not only saved the laws from oblivion, but it also furnished a text-book for teaching them. Judah II. declared that the Temple had been destroyed because the instruction of the young had been inadequate; and he dealt severely with such communities as supported no teachers. Soon the beneficent effects were visible. A vigorous intellectual activity resulted in the existing schools, and the academies of Sura and Pumbedita became notable. There was also a kind of university extension, called the Kallah, when students assembled twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. Lectures were delivered daily at the academies, and once a week to the people at large, and also on the holidays. At Pumbedita during one session there were as many as 1,200 students; at the time of Rabbah bar Naḥmani, about 500.
The following are some of the Talmudic maxims with regard to the character of teachers:Talmudic Maxims.
They must be of reputable character. "Only to the pure may the pure be entrusted." "An intemperate person may not teach." "Before thou correctest others, clear thyself of thine own faults." "The Ark was overlaid with gold within and without; so ought the teacher be morally clean both inwardly and outwardly." "The rash man is subject to vicious passion." "The teacher must be humble." "Rabbah came to a town where there was lack of rain. He ordered a fast, but without result. A precentor took his stand at the prayer-desk, and as he pronounced the words of the prayer, 'He lets the wind blow,' a wind actually arose. Further, when he spoke the closing words of the prayer, 'He sendeth rain,' rain forthwith descended. Rabbah turned to the man and asked, 'What art thou?' The man replied, 'I am a teacher of children; and I instruct both rich and poor, taking compensation from neither.I treat my pupils with consideration, and train them to be industrious and virtuous.'" "The teacher should be fluent in speech and decisive in tone."
In anticipation of modern methods, Rabbi Dimi says: "He who learns from one teacher alone does not gather much blessing"; and Rabbah says: "It is better to have several teachers, so as to go deeper into the meaning of the Law. The elements of a science, however, should be learned from one teacher only, to avoid confusion. Neither a youth nor an unmarried person could be a teacher." "The respect due to teachers is greater than that due to parents." "Hospitality toward a teacher is like giving to God." "The heathen who teacheth thee wisdom thou shalt call teacher." "A pupil may not sit in the presence of the teacher until the latter has given permission; nor may the pupil rise without such permission." "The pupil should be toward his teacher as a servant toward his master." "Whosoever prevents his pupil from serving him denies the pupil the opportunity of showing affection and gratitude."
Teachers were cautioned against familiarity with the common people. "At first a teacher is, in the eyes of the vulgar, a vessel of gold; after he has conversed with them, they esteem him as a vessel of silver; and if he accepts a gift from them, he is merely a vessel of clay, which, once broken, can not be put together again."
The teacher enjoyed immunity from taxes (Ket. 62a). He was free to establish himself wherever he pleased, without objection from another teacher already settled there. "The more teachers the more teaching zeal" (B. B. 21b). He could withdraw from his place, but had to furnish a substitute. A woman could not become a teacher. A family teacher, however, is mentioned in Ḥag. 4b.Details of School Life.
School life began at the age of five (Ab. v. 24) or six. Rab advised Samuel ben Silat, who was a teacher of much experience, not to admit a child before his sixth year (Ket. 50b). "Whoso learns in youth is like writing on new paper. Whoso learns in old age is like writing on blotted paper." Rabbi Gamaliel said, "No pupil may be admitted to the lecture-hall if his character is not in keeping with his allegations." He did not demand testimonials as to adequate preparation, but as to character and morality. The student must be sincere (Yoma 67a; Giṭ. 67; comp. Ab. v. 18). For every twenty-five pupils there was one teacher; for twenty-five to forty, a teacher and an assistant; for fifty, two teachers. The assistant reviewed the lesson with the pupils, as a sort of tutor ("resh dukna"). The pupils were arranged in rows. Sessions were held during the day and part of the evening. On Fridays the work done during the week was reviewed. Nothing new was presented on Sabbaths. Promptness in opening and closing the sessions was recommended. Vacations occurred on days preceding the Sabbaths, feasts, and holy days, and on fast-days; on the last in order that, in keeping with the fast, the teacher might deprive himself of the pleasure he had in teaching. There was also a cessation of instruction on the three days preceding Pentecost, on the half-days of Ḥanukkah, on New Moon, and on the Fifteenth of Ab and of Shebaṭ. The courses were as follows: at five (or at six) Bible; at ten Mishnah; at fifteen Talmud (Ab. v. 24; see, however, Taylor's "Sayings of the Fathers," p. 43). The main aim was to attain morality: "Good is the teaching of the Torah when it is attended by morality." Talmudic subjects were the warp on which were woven all other subjects, as, for instance, arithmetic, astronomy, anatomy, and history. Samuel Arika could boast, "I know the paths of the stars, as I know the streets of Nehardea" (Ber. 58b). "The knowledge of the Law is a medicament for the soul" (Men. 99a). Even the teaching of the alphabet proceeded on lines of moralization, thus: "Alef, bet, learning follows wisdom"; "gimel, dalet, be kind to the poor" ("alef" means "learning"; "bet" is akin to "bin" = "discernment"; so also "gimel" = "recompense," and "dalet" = "poor"; etc.). Josephus and Philo declare that in their time every Jewish child could read. Reading is a primary condition of mental soundness (Shab. 103a). Text-books must be without error (Pes. 112a). Pupils were provided with large and small tablets.
Since parents took a personal interest in the education of their children, discipline was rendered easy. "Rabbi Eleazar was sick. His pupils came to visit him. They said to him, 'Master, show us the path of life, by which we may attain to everlasting life.' He replied, 'Do not offend your fellow pupils. See Him to whom you address yourselves in prayer. Let no child think frivolously. Let him grow in the lap of the wise. If you do this, you will see felicity.'" Rab was in the habit of beginning his instruction with a pleasant story. The teacher should study the temperament of the children ('Er. 54b). Only in case of persistent inattention might the teacher inflict punishment by means of an "'arḳeta di-mesana," a strap of reeds.Discipline.
Discipline is most effective in the age of puberty. Therefore forbearance is recommended with pupils until the age of twelve, but strictness after that, because youths from that age onward begin to show mental capacity and acumen (Ket. 50a). A boy was regarded as incorrigible if he failed to attend a school in three (some say five) years. Absence for three days was considered reprehensible. Rewards consisted in presents which were given by the teacher. Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi distributed honey (Ta'an. 24a). There were also certain marks of distinction for merit. In the award of merit the teacher should be impartial (Shab. 10). Before a wise child people should rise (Ber. 48a). The teacher should maintain control of his pupils by adhering to the most scrupulous bearing in their presence. So also the pupils must observe the rules of propriety toward him. They must not address him by name, nor turn their back to him, nor sit in his presence except by his permission (Ḥul. 18a). The maxim, "The school is more sacred than the house of worship," expresses the spirit which lay behind all discipline (Sanh. 71a).
The rabbinical method of instruction was disputational. But the intellectual capacity of the pupils had to be considered. God Himself adjusted His revelation on Mt. Sinai to adults and children according to their respective powers of apperception (Ex. R. xx.). The first step was appropriation by the memory. "Learn first, and thou wilt perceive later" (Shab. 63a; Ab. iii. 10; Yoma 71a). Excessive rationalization was discouraged. "Withhold thy child from higgayon [insistent intellectualism]" (Ber. 28b). A usual means for aiding the memory was cantillation. Often the text was constructed rhythmically for this purpose (Meg. 32a). The memory was also aided by repeated reviews ('Er. 54b);and concentration of mind and interest was urged. "If thou takest many subjects at the same time, thou graspest none" (Meg. 6b). Reading aloud was encouraged. The initial letters of the text learned were committed to tablets ('Er. 97b). The lesson was reviewed at home with the assistance of the parents ('Ab. Zarah 120a).
The Talmud was the text-book of the Jews of the Middle Ages. It kept their minds fresh and supple. Indeed, they needed acumen under the stress of the desperate conditions under which they lived; and it was due only to the all-pervading love of learning and the well-organized system of education which the Jews possessed that the nation was preserved. While prelates and priests of the Church could neither read nor write, and showed a brutal disdain of even elementary education (at the Council of Reims the papal legate Leo boasted that the successors of Peter could afford to be ignorant of Plato, Terence, Vergil, and the other philosophers, inasmuch as Peter himself did not know them and still became doorkeeper of Heaven [!]), the Jews of that time had schools in every part of the world in which they resided.Hai Gaon on Teaching.
The literature of education becomes abundant with the progress of the centuries of European history. The "Musar Haskel," written by Hai Gaon, was read extensively in Europe. Among many apt sentences as to the worth and need of instruction, it declares: "Pay the teacher generously. What thou givest him, thou givest to thy children. Buy books for thy children, and keep a teacher for them from their childhood. Train thy children at all times, and always with mildness," etc. ("Musar Haskel," ed. Steinschneider, §§ 26-28 et passim; see also "J. Q. R." viii. 534-540).
An event of prime importance in the history of Jewish education in northern Europe was the removal of the Kalonymus family from Lucca to Mayence. This removal, reputed to have been ordered by Charlemagne, hints at the fact that even the internal interests of the Jews have been affected by the civil authority and by the whims of governments, though it must be confessed that this action of Charlemagne was at the same time statesmanlike and beneficent.Medieval Pedagogics.
Instruction at this period, too, was grounded on tradition. "A father should say to his child," says the "Sefer Ḥasidim" (Book of the Pious), "'Thus do I; thus did my fathers; thus also must you accustom yourself to do.'" The subjects and the methods of instruction in the Middle Ages were about the same as those in the Talmudic period. Some customs had crept in which even the watchfulness of the Rabbis had not noticed or prevented (for customs on the first day of the child's schooling see Education). The order of studies was about the same as that laid down in the codes. A melammed was entrusted with the elementary part of the child's education. He was compensated by the parents directly, and by Talmud Torah societies in case of the parents' inability. The schools were attended by the children of the rich and poor alike. The higher branches of study were in charge of a rabbi or savant. There was a bet ha-midrash for pupils above fourteen. The sessions for elementary instruction were held in a room ("ḥeder") in the house of the melammed; but the bet ha-midrash was a public building usually adjoining and sometimes a part of the synagogue. The aim was to impart versatility together with keenness in disputation. The discourses of the teachers were compiled and circulated. The tosafot are such a compilation. There were stated public lectures at which adults, especially men of learning, attended ("shi'urim"). Various rules for teachers and pupils were laid down; e.g.: Each teacher should be as considerate of the pupils of a colleague as he is of his own. He should lend his tosafot and not withhold them in order to attract those pupils to himself. He should allow his pupils to attend the lectures of another teacher. The teacher should strive to awaken piety in his pupils. Pupils who advance rapidly should be removed into another class, so that they may not place the less advanced pupils at a disadvantage, and that they themselves may not be retarded. Pupils should be allowed to share in a discussion out of scholarly interest, but not in a spirit of domination. Books must be treated with care, and it is meritorious to copy them extensively. School utensils are sacred—pens, the penknife, and such—and may not be misused.
Some of the pedagogic maxims in the "Sefer Ḥasidim" read as follows:
Decline in Jewish Education.
"Boys and girls shall not play together. If you raise orphans and observe they do improper things, do not hesitate (because of their being orphans) to rebuke them; otherwise you will sacrifice for the evil the good you intend. Punish them as you punish your own children, but not in anger. Children usually become what their parents are. If parents are dishonest as regards measures, weights, and money, the children, too, will be similarly dishonest. Assign to your children no tasks that are too difficult for them. Do not give your children too much money, not even for good purposes. The parent is obliged to teach the maintenance of the faith to his daughters also."
The period of the revival of learning in Christendom had no synchronous parallel among the Jews. On the contrary, there was a decadence in Jewish culture, as an inevitable consequence of long-continued isolation and oppression. The Jewish communities had coherence only through a common pathos and a subtle communion of sympathy and hope. The piety which had formerly been the spring of educational ideals had given way to a deteriorated form of fanaticism which held Jewish matters sacred without consciousness of their import. The teachers were dependent to a deplorable extent on the whims of the parents, and were chosen and dismissed according to caprice. This naturally wreaked its vengeance in the demoralization of the pupils. The Rabbis, too, were incapable and derelict in the performance of their duties. The prevalent form of intellectual exercise was a debased kind of disputation, the Pilpul, inane in content and rabid in form, which, it must in justice be said, was patterned, however unconsciously, upon the scholastic sophistry of the Church. The incisive questions and learned replies of these disputations were collected in "liḳḳuṭim" (collectanea). These were much sought after for reference and study. One of the best known of these is the"Yosif Omeẓ" by Rabbi Joseph Yuspa Hahn (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1723).
The child was brought to school on the completion of its third year, and was encouraged to attend by gifts of honey, nuts, pretty garments, etc. A higher form of encouragement, for a boy, was the suggestion that some day he might be called "baḥur" ("baccalaureus") and "Rabbi." Children joined with the congregation in the responses to the prayers; they kissed the hand of the parent, teacher, and of pious men. The father himself instructed the child in the earlier years; later on, the pupil was taught the weekly portion of Scriptures, and along with it the commentary of Rashi; and finally he learned the portions of the Shulḥan 'Aruk referring to the benedictions.Views of Maimonides.
There are evidences that some Jews transcended the limits of the ghetto not merely in attracting an audience for themselves, but also in achieving a culture independent of the prescribed limits of Jewish custom and law. Süsskind of Trimberg (12th cent.) was one of the Minnesingers. Samson Pine assisted two Germans in the translation of the "Parcifal" of Wolfram of Eschenbach into the vernacular, according to the manuscript of Ruediger von Manesse. Immanuel ben Solomon of Rome was a member of the literary circle of Dante; and David Gans held scientific relations with Keppler and Tycho Brahe. Maimonides codified the educational laws, and his correctness of judgment and deep insight into the needs of the day are as obvious here as in his profounder philosophical works. In his "Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah" (section "Talmud Torah") he gives a digest of Jewish pedagogy. Apart from the Talmudic laws, the congregations of Spain, Italy, and Germany formulated regulations and so contributed toward the organization of Jewish educational work. Some of these regulations contained the following provisions: A congregation of fifteen families was required to maintain a teacher. Besides board and clothing, this teacher was to be paid a stipulated salary; and if the income from the contributions was inadequate, the congregation had to appropriate from its funds an amount sufficient to maintain him in a manner appropriate to his station. A community of forty families was required to maintain a teacher of Talmud, who lectured also on Halakah and Haggadah. The testament of Judah ibn Tibbon ("Derek Ṭobim," ed. H. Edelmann, pp. 3-15, London, 1852) contains some interesting references to the love of books and shows a fine appreciation of literature. The same may be said of the "Menorat ha-Ma'or" (Venice, 1594, Ner. iv. pp. 82b-84a). The "Mussare ha-Pilosofim" of Ḥunain ibn Isḥaḳ, Hebrew by Judah ben Solomon Al-Ḥarizi (ed. A. Löwenthal, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1893), contains a well-elaborated scheme of teaching, as does likewise Joseph ben Judah ibn 'Aḳnin's "Marpe ha-Nefashot" (ed. H. Edelmann, in "Dibre Ḥefeẓ," pp. 23 et seq., London, 1853). The latter says: "A teacher must evidence by his conduct the worth of his instruction. He must treat his pupils as his children."Curricula.
Ibn 'Aḳnin mentions the following curriculum: reading, writing, Torah, grammar (text-books of Ḥayyuj and Ibn Janaḥ), religious poetry, Talmud, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, logic, mathematics (7th, 8th, and 9th books of Euclid), geometry (Theodosius on spherical figures, Apodorius on conic sections), optics, astronomy, music, physics, and medicine. The same author gives ten rules of conduct which each of his pupils had to observe: (1) he must keep himself pure; (2) he should consult his teacher in all matters of doubt; (3) he should not strive after wealth which alienates from study; (4) he should be sure of the elementaries before venturing on extended studies; (5) he should have interest in as many subjects as possible; (6) he should avoid indolence; (7) he should have no selfish motive; (8) he should utilize every occasion for instruction; (9) he should respect his teacher, and (10) be grateful to him. Rabbi Judah ben 'Aṭṭar gives an order of subjects ("Ya'ir Natib," ch. xv.; see also Joseph Ezobi, "Shir ha-Ḳe'arah," ed. Steinschneider, pp. 25-43, Berlin, 1860; Bar Ḥasdai's translation of Al-Ghazali's "Mozene Ẓedeḳ," Leipsic, 1839; Joseph Caspi, "Ṭa'am Zeḳenim," pp. 49b-54b, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1854; the medieval school-code "Ḥuḳḳe ha-Torah," given by Güdemann in his "Gesch." i. 264-272; and the abundant material on this subject in the last-mentioned writer's "Quellenschriften zur Geschichte des Unterrichts und der Erziehung bei den Deutschen Juden," Berlin, 1891).
In Italy, on the other hand, there was a lamentable confusion of thought and practise in the matter of education; and the writers caution against the injury to Jewish culture and morals due to these disordered conditions. Jacob ben Abba Mari Anatoli speaks of ill-considered teaching and digressions from legitimate subjects. Immanuel of Rome alludes to lack of method and to the inveterate habit of teachers to play at sophistry ("Malmad ha-Talmidim," ed. Meḳiẓe Nirdamim, p. 99a, Lyck, 1866; "Maḥberot ha-Tofet weha-'Eden," pp. 229 et seq., Lemberg, 1870). The invention of printing, and the sack of Constantinople by the Turks, brought great improvement. Copies of books were multiplied and the liberalizing movement grew in effectiveness. Joseph Caro deals with the mutual relations of teacher and community (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 245-247). "A teacher," he declares, "must conduct himself with absolute virtuousness. He should also be expert in the art of teaching. He should be chosen for his didactic tact as well as for his learning. He may not be bound by contract to serve longer than three years [ib. Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ, 71, 72]. A contract with a teacher is irrevocable. The teacher is bound by it as much as the community; for otherwise injury might accrue to the school."First Modern Schools.
Saul Morteira and Isaac Aboab erected the first school in Amsterdam in 1640. It comprised six classes, and its curriculum embraced elementary as well as higher studies, such as Hebrew philology, rhetoric, and Neo-Hebrew poetry. Baruch Spinoza was a pupil of this school. In 1817 religious instruction was entrusted to a commission, and in 1836 a teachers' seminary was established. In Poland the first school was established by Rabbi Joel Sirkes at Cracow. In this school instruction was given in the vernacular, though in Hebrewcharacters, "in order to enable the pupils to read books which teach right conduct." It was customary in Poland for the pupils of all the independent academies of the local rabbis to meet, with their teachers, at the market seasons at Zaslav, Yaroslav, Lemberg, and Lublin, when discussions took place on rabbinical subjects, and much subtlety was displayed.
The position of French Judaism in the history of education is assured through the prince of commentators, Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi; 1079-1105), whose influence, making for a rational treatment of the Bible as well as of the Talmud, can not be overestimated. In the "Ḥuḳḳe ha-Torah," cited above, which describes the French system of Jewish teaching, the following provisions are given: There should always be a school next to the synagogue; the latter should be designated the Great School-house. The school-course should cover seven years. Some students should be awarded special scholarships. Each class should consist of not more than ten pupils. Text-books should be used; and the Bible should be translated into the vernacular. Pupils should examine one another in regular reviews. The recapitulation of the weekly lessons should be held on Fridays; that of the monthly work, at new moons, and a general review of the work of the semester ("seman") in Tishri and Nisan. A teacher should be employed at no other vocation. There should be a supervisor who should be responsible for the management of the school. The curriculum should be graduated in amount and in character to comport with the age of the pupil (see Güdemann, "Gesch." i. 264 et seq.).
Despite many shortcomings, the yeshibot of Germany must be mentioned with respect. The rabbis who presided over them were earnest and fervent, and had great capacity for martyr-like endurance. They imbued the youths with a genuine love of scholarship and with idealism. The German students, though poor to the verge of beggary, suffered hardships with equanimity, encouraged if not adequately maintained by the hospitality of the community. The first attempt to organize the yeshibot was made at the Conference of Jewish Notables which met in Moravia at the death of Rabbi Bernhard Eskeles (1753). It provided that the same tractate should be studied in all the yeshibot at the same time, so that the students might be free to pass to other schools without retarding their progress. A superintendent ("rosh yeshibah") was to be at the head of each yeshibah, before whom the pupils were to present themselves daily. Talmud and the casuists were studied. Examinations took place on Thursdays. A promising pupil was ranked as "baḳi" (versatile) or as "ḥarif" (ingenious). Even the schools were similarly characterized, e.g., those of Frankfort-on-the-Main and those of Fürth and Mayence. Distinguished as yeshibot are those of Nikolsburg (Mordecai Benet, 1829), Lissa (Jacob Lissa, 1832), Posen (Akiba Eger, 1838), Presburg (Moses Sofer, 1840, and Moses Rosenbaum, 1883).
The bet ha-midrash was opened to all kinds of students and visitors. The local rabbi was the teacher, or rather lecturer, for there was no graded course of instruction in it. The last bet ha-midrash in Germany was that of Hechingen, which closed its doors in 1853. It had been established by the Kaulla family, and Berthold Auerbach had been one of its pupils.Need for Reform.
The Jews paid dearly for the delay of school reform. The untoward conditions of the times were in themselves lamentable enough. The exclusion of the Jews from the general culture of the eighteenth century was bound to bring about their intellectual and moral deterioration, unless something was done in time to rescue them. Never before in all the history of the Jews had the teacher been treated with so little respect. Teaching had become a degraded profession, filled with incapables and ignoramuses. The teacher was at the mercy of the whims of every parent. He became rather a cantor than a teacher, and was chosen for his talent as a singer rather than for the possession of scholarly ability. Ḥadarim (single-room schools) became numerous; and in these the discipline was the worst possible and the methods of teaching lamentably amateurish (see Jost in "Sippurim," ed. Pascheles, part iii., pp. 143 et seq., Prague).Influence of Mendelssohn.
This was the age of young men with ambition to transcend the limits which fanaticism had set. Some of them upon whom the old order of things had lost its hold and for whom the new had the attraction of real life, faced the ignominy that Jewish public opinion set on the study of German literature; and among these arose Moses Mendelssohn. He was the greatest reformer in modern Judaism; and his influence was epoch-making for the improvement of education also. He gave the support of his example, in the first place, by the study of the vernacular, and in the second place by the character of his philosophy. The Israelitische Freischule in Berlin owes its foundation to him (1778; see M. Spanier-Magdeburg, "Moses Mendelssohn als Pädagoge," Eisenach, 1898). Mendelssohn's pupils Hartwig Wessely ("Dibre Shalom we-Emet," Vienna, 1826), Herz Homberg ("Ben Yaḳḳir," ib. 1820), and Isaac Euchel (see "Meassef," iii. 205; "Bikkure ha-'Ittim," vi. 45) continued the educational emancipation of the Jews; and it is to the credit of the Hebrews of that period of storm and stress that the reconstruction was not, after all, attended with confusion.
The Edict of Toleration issued by Emperor Joseph II. of Austria (Oct. 29, 1781) added to the upward movement. Schools were to be established under the protection and with the encouragement of the government, "so that Jewish children may be trained for the trades and may be enabled to speak the language of the country." Peter Beer was one of the first school principals (see Moritz Hartmann, "Lebensgeschichte des Peter Beer," Prague, 1839). New interests and new avenues of work as well as of study were opened to young Jews, and they entered into the economic and professional labors of the country. In order to encourage teaching as a profession and to raise its standard the emperor offered bonuses; and in order that Jewish parents might be freed from distrust the prayers for opening and closing the school sessions were modified soas to be in no way offensive to their consciences. Herz Homberg was made imperial school commissioner in 1818, and his text-books "Bene Ẓiyyon" and "Imre Shefer" were introduced into the schools. At Dessau a school was established on the educational principles of Basedow, its principal being David Fränkel, and its teachers including Moses Philippson, Joseph Wolf, and Gotthold Salomon (see P. Philippson, "Biographische Skizzen," Leipsic, 1864-66). Israel Jacobsohn founded a school in Seesen in 1801, laying stress on the necessity of an adequate preparation of teachers. He introduced also a system of periodical examinations. The school at Wolfenbüttel, established in 1807 by Jacobsohn's brother-in-law, Isaac Herz Samson, contributed to the emancipation of the Jewish youth. The history of the Philanthropin (founded 1804) has recently been published (H. Bärwald, "Geschichte der Realschule der Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Frankfurt-am-Main, 1804-1904"). Among its teachers were Michael Hess, Sigismund Stern, I. M. Jost, Michael Creizenach, Joseph Johlson, and Jacob Auerbach. Another school, more limited in its scope, was the Realschule der Israelitischen Religionsgesellschaft in Frankfort-on-the-Main, established by Samson Raphael Hirsch (see "Festschrift, Jubiläums-Feier des 50jährigen Bestchens der Unterrichtsanstalten der Israelitischen Religionsgesellschaft zu Frankfurt-am-Main, 1903"). Among its teachers were: Mendel Hirsch, J. M. Japhet, and A. Sulzbach. In 1840 M. Veit established a teachers' seminary, which was superintended by L. Zunz till 1852. Other institutions of a similar character were those of Cassel (1809), Münster (1827), Hanover, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Würzburg, and Breslau.Congregational Schools.
The first congregational religious school was established in Magdeburg in 1833 by Ludwig Philippson. Its aim was to supply such religious training as the secular schools failed to provide. In 1884 Samuel Kristeller and H. Steinthal elaborated a "course of study for instruction in the Jewish faith."Religious Text-Books.
The first text-book on Judaism was "Leḳaḥ Ṭob" by Abraham Jagel, Venice, 1595. It followed the "Catechismus" and the "Summa Doctrinæ" of Peter Canisius, which themselves were called forth by the appearance of the two catechisms of Luther. It was designed for the school, but was never introduced (see S. Maybaum in the Tenth Report of the Lehranstalt für die Wiss. des Judenthums, Berlin, 1892, pp. 4 et seq.). Both its form and its definitions were alien to Jewish thought and education. Dessau's "Grundsätze der Jüdischen Religion," which appeared in Dessau in 1782, was the first of this kind of school literature, which has since become abundant. The Biblical histories for school use owe their origin to the decline of the knowledge of Hebrew. Formerly pupils could be expected to become familiar with the Biblical stories through the reading of the actual text; but the need for specific instruction became soon apparent. Baer Frank ("Or Emunah, Licht des Glaubens, das Geschichtliche der Fünf Bücher Moses, für das Weibliche Geschlecht," Vienna, 1820) was the first to make an attempt in this direction; and his work is interesting in that it was meant for women and girls.
Instruction in Hebrew reading and in translation, as a matter of separate training, is first mentioned by Abraham Model of Öttingen, who applied a method of his own in 1658 (see Güdemann, "Quellenschriften," etc., p. 304). The first Hebrew reader for the use of Jewish schools ("Moreh Derek," by Samuel Detmold) appeared in Vienna in 1815.The Karaites.
Among the Karaites, education was not neglected. Elijah Bashyaẓi gives the following pedagogic laws of the Karaites ("Adderet Eliyahu," part ii., ch. v., vi., pp. 57 et seq., Koslow [Eupatoria]): "It is the duty of every Israelite to learn the Torah in the original, philologically and exegetically. Education should begin at the sixth year; at the fifth only with children of exceptional health, since teaching should not endanger the health of the child. The teacher should be thorough in his subject, and he should not be rash. He may use the rod only to exact obedience, and must cause no permanent injury. He should assist the memory of the child by formulas. The use of one book is recommended; for change of books weakens the memory. Text-books should be written legibly. Schoolrooms should be light and clean; these the rich should provide. Poor children should be supplied with text-books. Children should be encouraged to practise reading, which should be slow and thoughtful. Reviews should be frequent. The scrolls of the Law should be provided with vowel-points, so as to avoid errors in reading and understanding. There should be translation into the vernacular. A proper exegesis requires a knowledge of logic, grammar, arithmetic, geometry (including spherical), and music."
Special journals for Jewish pedagogy have been founded, among which may be mentioned the following:
- Ludwig Philippson, "Israelitische Predigt- und Schulmagazin," Magdeburg, 1834 (2d ed. ib. 1854);
- Moritz Bock, "Israelitische Schulzeitung," Coblenz, 1840;
- Leopold Stein, "Der Israelitische Volkslehrer," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1851-60;
- Jakob Goldenthal, "Das Morgenland, Ein Central Organ für Synagoge und Haus," Vienna, 1855;
- M. Ehrentheil, "Jüdische Volksschule, Zeitschrift für Israelitische Lehrer," Arad, 1862;
- S. Dessau, "Der Pädagogische Hausfreund, Zeitschrift für Erziehungslehre," Stuttgart, 1871;
- J. Klingenstein, "Israelitische Lehrer," Mayence, 1862-69;
- Emanuel Hecht, J. Klingenstein, and A. Treu, "Israelitischer Haus- und Schulfreund," Münster;
- "Der Jüdische Kantor und Lehrer," Supplement to "Jüdische Presse," Berlin;
- "Israelitische Schulzeitung," Supplement to "Israelitische Wochenschrift," Magdeburg;
- "Pädagogische Beilage" to "Der Israelit," Mayence;
- "Der Lehrerbote," Prague.
- In addition to the works cited in the article, B. Strassburger, Gesch. der Erziehung und des Unterrichts bei den Israeliten, Stuttgart, 1885 (with elaborate bibliography to date);
- L. Zunz, Lebensbilder aus der Geschichte der Juden im Mittelalter: i., Erziehung;
- A. Berliner, Aus dem Inneren Leben der Deutschen Juden im Mittelalter, 2d ed., pp. 1-15, Berlin, 1900;
- S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism, pp. 282-412, London, 1896;
- Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, pp. 340-372, ib. 1896;
- F. Cohn, Israelitische Religionsschulen Neben Höheren Lehranstalten, Breslau, 1878;
- Samuel Marcus, Pädagogik des Israelitischen Volkes, Vienna, 1877;
- Lion Wolff, Der Jüdische Lehrer, Rostock, 1882;
- S. R. Hirsch, Von den Beziehungen der Allgemeinen Bildungselemente zu der Speciell Jüdischen Bildung, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1867;
- Felix Coblenz, Die Berufliche und Soziale Stellung des Jüdischen Lehrers, Siegen, 1888;
- W. Herberg, Ein Schulprogramm, Leipsic, 1876;
- Adolf Kurrein, Der Religions-Unterricht, Carlsbad, 1894;
- J. Klingenstein, Die Bedeutung des Jüdischen Religionsunterrichts für Bildung und Leben, Magdeburg, 1889;
- EzekielCaro, Entwurf und Begründung eines Normalsplans für die Jüdischen Religions-Unterrichts, Erfurt, 1881;
- F. Feilchenfeld, Anleitung zu Jüdische Religionsunterricht, Breslau, 1881;
- S. Maybaum, Methodik des Jüdischen Religionsunterrichts, ib. 1896;
- Jacob Reifmann, Ḥobot ha-Ab li-Beno, St. Petersburg, 1881.