Page 172 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
The Conservative movement has been in the fo re fron t o f ef­
forts on beha lf o f special education in the Jewish framework
and has sought to make materials available for the practitioner.
It has p repa red a set o f publications in a
Special Educator’s Kit,
which includes teacher and pa ren t manuals in addition to ma­
terials for the student.
Closely akin to the United Synagogue Commission is the Mel­
ton Research Cen ter und e r the auspices o f the Jewish T h eo ­
logical Seminary. From its inception, in 1960, it has sought to
stimulate Jewish scholars, curriculum writers and educators to
develop meaningful curriculum and classroom texts. An initial
publication,
Understanding Genesis,
included a book o f back­
g round material for the teacher, a
Teacher’s Guide,
a two-part
Student Guide
and an additional
Teacher’s Supplement.
T h e Cen ter
is aware o f the prom inence o f the text in Jewish education and
provides teachers with intensive training in how to use it suc­
cessfully in the classroom. During the past decade, the Melton
format has set a pa ttern for those who unders tand the im po r­
tance o f assisting the professional in the use o f the traditional
sources.
T h e O rthodox movement provides a varied if fragm en ted
approach to education. In 1943, Rabbi Leo Ju n g and Joseph
Kaminetsky p repared for the Union o f O rthodox Jewish Con­
gregations o f America
A Model Program for the Talmud Torah,
which was designed for the O rthodox supplementary school.
It was based on the premise that knowledge was to be gained
from recourse to the original texts, the Bible, Siddur, Mishnah,
Gemara and Midrash.
T h e day school is a prevalent form o f schooling for the O r­
thodox. To rah Umesorah (The National Foundation o f Hebrew
Day Schools) serves as its advocate and service bureau . It faced
a serious problem in its infancy when existence o f p rop e r tex t­
books for the traditional day schools was not in evidence. The
available supply consisted o f condensed texts which “lacked
much o f the beauty and emotional wealth o f the original.”14
Preparation o f school T o rah literature to guide children became
a priority o f T o rah Umesorah. It sponsored texts and work­
books in Bible, Jewish history and holidays. In 1946,
Elijah, The
14. Kramer, Daniel Zvi,
The Day School and Torah Umesorah,
Yeshiva University
Press, NY, 1984, p. 63.