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Jewish Education in England, 1944-1988

Between Integration and Separation

David Mendelsson

Today, the dominant model for Jewish education is the community-wide, technologically advanced day school, where the Judaic subjects are taught by professional educators using student-friendly, interactive methodologies. Not so long ago, however, most Jewish education consisted of rote repetition of prayers and biblical passages and their translation into awkward English by teachers with no formal pedagogic training, in classes – often located in synagogue basements – held on Sunday or once a week after ‘ordinary’ school.
This book explains the radical reconfiguring of Jewish education in England in historical and sociocultural terms. It explores the transformations that took place in every aspect of Jewish education: curriculum, religious/ideological orientation, school format (afternoon classes vs day schools), funding (private vs state), and more. The author shows that this dramatic transition directly reflects both changes in the socioeconomic profile and self-identity of Anglo-Jewry as well as demographic and cultural changes in British society in general. Tracking the shift from integration to separation, this book maps the effect of competing societal, personal and communal agendas, pedagogic paradigms, and pragmatic constraints on the rise of the Jewish day school in England.


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List of Tables ix


List of Tables Table 1 Enrolment in withdrawal classes at London secondary schools, 1955–62 44 Table 2 Jewish day-school enrolment in and outside London, 1958–65 47 Table 3 Enrolment in London-area Jewish primary and secondary day schools, 1958–65 48–9 Table 4 Children aged 5–16 attending classes registered with LBJRE, 1958–78 135 Table 5 Trends in Anglo-Jewish education for children aged 5–17, 1962–86 137 Table 6 Day-school vs Hebrew classes/religion school enrolment in London, 1958–75 163

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