Thursday, April 30, 2009

R. Nathan Marcus Adler's Parliementary response on education

In 1859, the Education Commissioners of the British Parliament's House of Commons inquired of many prominent British personalities into the manner of popular education in England at the time. They hoped that in this way they could keep an ear to the ground and improve education for all classes.

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(If you click the image above, you will be directed to the complete text of the questions submitted to these persons.)

One of the respondents was none other than my favorite British Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler, and he had some interesting things to say. His full response is eight and a half pages long:

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The second section discusses the actual state of education among poorer British Jews:

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He reminds Parliament than in Germany education is free:

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While he says, this:

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Don't judge him too harshly. He could hardly avoid being a man of 1860, and beside, read the full context. He's actually advocating a very good and comprehensive education, even if he knows it must end at age 14.

And much more. Worth a read, as are many of the other responses, although none are of specifically Jewish interest.

Incidentally, several volumes of R. Adler's edition of a Mikra Gedolah Chumash, printed in Vilna, the Toras Elohim (with Pathshegen on Targum Onqelos, as well as his own Targum commentary the Nesina L'ger) are now available for your pleasure.

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