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.


  1. This is what I got out of the article:

    "...the Talmud...with its great wealth of material."

    "The teacher was affable man"

    "The big yeshiba, in 7th Street, has lately had a gift of $25,000 from Jacob Schiff."

    "You will find many ... Jews have a kind of love of learning, a respect for it."

    "There sat the father at the table with the Psalms before him...intoning away with the greatest enjoyment."

    "One can't help feeling that there is something very wonderful in the spirit that lies under (the cheders)."

    -- SeeWhatIWantToSee

  2. "Principal Kaplan ...of Number 227 East Broadway". Is that Mordechai Kaplan?



Related Posts with Thumbnails