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Religion and Jewish Education in Poland, 1915-1939

Mon, December 17, 8:30 to 10:00am, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Beacon Hill 2 & 3

Session Submission Type: Panel Session


The early twentieth century was a time of rapid change in the ways people were educated: public education became more widespread and innovative education approaches and techniques, such as vocational education, proliferated. During this time Jews developed a variety of new institutions for instructing their children, reflecting their own linguistic and ideological diversity. In addition, Jewish children attended public school in significantly greater numbers. Whether private or public, education for Jewish children always had to contend with religion, however defined. The wide range of schools available to Jews offered their pupils a similarly wide variety of prescriptive and descriptive Judaisms. While scholars have devoted some attention to Poland’s startlingly diverse array of educational options for Jewish children, many aspects of the history of education remain unexplored.

This panel explores three facets of Jewish schooling in Poland. Andrew N. Koss examines the increasing role of ideology in religious education in Vilna during and after World War I. Sean Martin considers the preparatory training of Jewish religion teachers in Polish public schools. And Sarah Ellen Zarrow looks at the Jewish content of vocational schools for Jewish girls in Lwów and in Galicia more broadly. Together, we hope to propose new ways to conceptualize the relationship between religion and education for Polish Jewry.

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