Leon Roth: A Philosopher-Teacher

By Roshwald, Mordecai | Modern Age, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

Leon Roth: A Philosopher-Teacher


Roshwald, Mordecai, Modern Age


DURING MY SCHOOL-YEARS--from kindergarten through university--I had many teachers. They were mostly very good teachers--often dedicated to their vocation beyond and above formal instruction in their specific subjects. Out of the many, two were outstanding--one in the higher classes of my secondary education and another at the university. It is the latter, Professor Leon Roth (1896-1963), who is the subject of this essay.

In order to present his personality and performance to the contemporary American reader it is necessary to expound on the context of my experience as a university student. My last four years of secondary education and the subsequent study at the university transpired in Israel--or, strictly speaking, in Palestine under the British Mandate before the establishment of the State. While the political control of the country was in the hands of the High Commissioner, appointed by the British government and responsible to London and not to the population under his rule, he and his administration left the educational institutions--notably those of higher learning--in the hands of the Jewish community. Thus, unlike in India and the various colonies of Great Britain, the ruling power did not educate the native population (if the Jews could be described as such), but left them to their own traditions and devices, to their own ideas, plans and organization. One consequence of this cultural independence was that the language of instruction in the Jewish sector was Hebrew and this encompassed higher education. Thus, in a way, a new system of education and novel institutions of learning emerged: a Hebrew education and research, which encompassed customary subjects of Western Civilization in sciences and humanities, as well as traditional Jewish disciplines--all of these taught in modern Hebrew.

This does not mean that the educational system was created ab initio. The elementary and secondary schools had their precursors in Eastern Europe where Hebrew or partially Hebrew schools existed between the two World Wars in major cities. These were semi-private communal institutions, largely financed by the students' parents, and therefore attended by a minority of Jewish children. Yet, they were a living proof of a new approach to Jewish education--secular with a colouring of religion and tradition, and animated by the spirit of Jewish national renaissance, or Zionism. Like Zionism itself, the new way of Hebrew education was prefabricated in the Jewish diaspora--mainly in Eastern Europe--and eventually transplanted to the growing National Home in Palestine.

The incipient Hebrew education in Europe had another significance. It created the prototype of the new teacher and eventually supplied the cadre of Hebrew teachers, as well as Hebrew-speaking teachers of other subjects, for the secondary schools in Palestine. They were themselves the product of European schooling, but usually also of traditional Jewish education, and applied this synthesis in Hebrew schools in Europe and carried this symbiotic approach to the schools in Palestine, if and when they succeeded to emigrate to the Promised Land.

The Hebrew gymnasia (high schools modeled on the European example) offered instruction in such basic subjects as the Hebrew language and literature, mathematics, physics, chemistry, English, another foreign language, history (general and Jewish), Bible. The subjects were taught in a continuous sequence--notably mathematics and history--so that there was no disruption and switching from one field or "unit" to another. There were very few electives. This instilled in the student a sense of continuity and cohesion of knowledge, as well as basic familiarity with the various fields--indeed, foundations of what used to be called "liberal education."

The gymnasia studies were concluded by a comprehensive final examination, conducted by a central national authority. The successful passing of this examination was a prerequisite for admission to higher institutes of learning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Leon Roth: A Philosopher-Teacher
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.