Jewish Values: Making the Bible Modern: Children's Bibles and Jewish Education in Twentieth Century America

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269 p.
The author is a historian and she has written a scholarly study of the development of American Jewish educational models (mainly Reform) in the 1920's and 1930's, discussing how these models resulted in a new way of teaching the Bible to American Jewish children. The first few chapters provide historical context, exploring the challenges of modernity, comparing European and American educational developments, and showing why and how the Bible came to replace the Talmud as the essential Jewish text. The transformation of the Bible into stories considered suitable for children is a process that blends theories of cultural pluralism and John Dewey's pedagogy with Jewish concerns about assimiliation and the challenge of educating young American Jews in a way that was consonant with both Jewish and American values. The influence of Samson Benderly, Mordicai Kaplan, and Emmanuel Gamoran pervades Schine's account. Although no contemporary Bible stories in either collections or individual form and no nrwer Bible textbooks are discussed, one's understanding of these works will be enhanced by Schine's insightful study.
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