Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945

By Marion A. Kaplan | Go to book overview

9
Education

Between 1780 and 1850 a revolution took place in the educational profile of German Jewry. In place of traditional schools, increasing numbers of Jewish children attended government schools or entered a new kind of Jewish school that taught secular subjects in the German language. New institutions did not displace the old system overnight. During most of the early nineteenth century, private tutors, old-fashioned hadarim (one-room traditional schools), new-style Jewish schools, and general "Christian" schools competed for Jewish pupils.

In 1780 the vast majority of Jews in Germany could not read or write German script.1 Until about age 13, most boys studied only Jewish texts, which they read in Hebrew and Aramaic and translated into the vernacular Western Yiddish. A small number continued to study during their teenage years at a more advanced yeshivah. Traditional education took place either in private schools, usually at the home of the teacher (hadarim in Hebrew, pejoratively referred to as Winkelschulen "petty schools" in government documents) or through private tutors. Girls, though not totally excluded from elementary education, were generally taught texts (never Talmud) in Yiddish adaptations rather than in the Hebrew original and often attended school for fewer years than boys.2

Despite its limitations, the level of education of most Jews at the beginning of the nineteenth century compared favorably with that of much of the German population, especially in rural areas. Literacy rates of men and women, urban and rural Jews differed sharply. Eighty-five percent of Jewish men, but only 14 percent of women, in the area around Trier in 1808 could sign in some manner. In the city of Trier 63 percent of the men signed in German and 29 percent in Hebrew letters, while in the villages only 29 percent of the men signed in German and 54 percent in Hebrew. Women signed mainly in

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Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945 iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • English Glossary ix
  • Title Page 1
  • Introduction: Marion A. Kaplan 3
  • Part I: On the Threshold of Modernity 9
  • 1: The Environment of Jewish Life 11
  • 2: Family Life 24
  • 3: Childhood and Education 41
  • 4: Economic Life 54
  • 5: Religious and Communal Life 70
  • 6: Social Relations 84
  • Part II: The Beginning of Integration 93
  • 7: Jewish Residential Patterns 95
  • 8: Family Life 107
  • 9: Education 118
  • 10: Economic Life 130
  • 11: Religious Practice and Mentality 144
  • 12: German Jews and Their German Jews and Their 159
  • Part III: As Germans and as Jews in Imperial Germany 173
  • 13: Surroundings 175
  • 14: Family 182
  • 15: Education 201
  • 16: Work 215
  • 17: Religious Practices, Mentalities,And Community 235
  • 18: Social Life 252
  • Part IV: From Everyday Life to a State of Emergency 271
  • 19: Housing and Housekeeping 273
  • 20: Family Life 283
  • 21: Education and Vocational Training 291
  • 22: Career and Employment 306
  • 23: Religious Practice in the Synagogue and at Home 323
  • 24: Leisure Time and Social Life 333
  • 25: Constricting and Extinguishing Jewish Life 346
  • Conclusion 375
  • Notes 387
  • Bibliography 477
  • Index 507
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