In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Jewish Education

  • Introduction

Jewish Studies Jewish Education
Ari Y. Kelman, Laura Yares, Hannah Kober
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 May 2024
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199840731-0248


Studying the various forms of education produced in different Jewish contexts offers a compelling window into the ways that Jews have conceptualized Judaism and Jewishness across time and space. Examining modes of teaching and learning offers insights into the ideas and values prioritized by teachers and students, into the various ways that non-Jewish culture has been appropriated and adopted by Jewish communities, and into the relationship of Jews to emerging media technologies. Considered broadly, not only in terms of school settings, but also including home- and family-based learning, the study of Jewish education is not limited to institutions that have historically been accessible only to males but can include the learning experiences of women and girls as well. The scholarly study of Jewish education begins in Antiquity and extends through to the present day. Modes of teaching and learning Jewish religious texts constitute the primary focus of most studies of ancient and rabbinic Jewish cultures. In the medieval period, with the availability of more expansive source materials, scholars have also begun to shed light on dynamics of Jewish family education, on systems for teaching and learning Jewish ritual, and on vocational and occupational training. In the modern era scholars have explored the changes to traditional Jewish education wrought by emancipation and chronicled the development of new educational systems designed to transmit new approaches to understanding Jewishness congruent with the conditions of modernity and post-modernity. In the twenty-first century, these systems have increasingly focused on the promotion of “Jewish identity” toward the ultimate end of Jewish continuity. The ubiquity of teaching and learning in Jewish history has meant that the boundaries of what properly constitutes “Jewish education” have been blurry and often overlooked. Until recently, much of the research on Jewish education has been historical in nature. As a result, we have organized this bibliography into three broad general sections: Overviews, Regions, and Themes. The first section includes references that seek to address broad, overarching themes in Jewish education either by tracing broad historical narratives or by examining specific orientations to the enterprise. The second section follows the majority of scholarship in Jewish education in approaches that are largely historical, national, or regional in scope. The third section takes a thematic approach to scholarship and research on Jewish education in order to emphasize particular areas of scholarly depth and concern.


There are a number of reference works that offer panoramic views of the enterprise of Jewish education, both thematically and historically. This section describes collections of primary and secondary sources related to Jewish education and learning, and historical overviews that describe educational institutions and educational change in Jewish life writ large.

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