Monday, March 26, 2012
On the New York cheders of 1906
During the heyday - or was it the waning days? - of the cheder as an institution, it faced a lot of criticisms for being pretty much everything terrible; educationally unsound, stifling and unsanitary. Here is a long article which appeared in the New York Daily-Tribune April 1, 1906. about the "Jewish Boys Who Risk Health By Long Study in Foul Rooms." They "Learn Hebrew for Hours in Private Ghetto Seminaries After the Public Schools Have Let Them Out." The cheder which would become Yeshiva University makes an appearance as well. Also interesting is the discussion of a kindergarten ("gan yeladim") where 130 three-to-six year olds learn how to cut out paper kittens in Hebrew "so to speak." The article is not quite as hysterical as the headlines.