Teaching the Bible in the schools of the Labor and the Kibbutz Movements, 1921–1953
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How the challenge of teaching the Bible was met by educators who were members of the Kibbutz and Labor movements during the years before the establishment of the Israeli State is the subject of the following essay. Years ago, Jacobus Schoneveld, (1976), recently followed by Asher Shkedi (2004) proposed dividing educators of the Labor and Kibbutz movements into three types: those who wished to stress “national reconstruction,” those directed toward teaching a “universal humanism” and those seeking to awaken “moral dialogue” and achieve “personal growth.” In fact, such clear-cut lines of demarcation did not exist. The goals were these, but approaches themselves were always mixed. One distinguishes educational goals better by a more simple division into the questions of what is to be taught (religious versus Secular materials) and through which ancillary disciplines. Doing so has the virtue of highlighting how these educators were animated by their quest after how best to teach Biblical morality with the aim of “shaping” the student or achieving “emulation,” especially by generating a “dialogue” between the pupil and the biblical text, leading to “personal growth.” These emphases tell us much about the pre-State educational mentality and pedagogical ideals.
KeywordsLabor Movement Labor School Biblical Text Bible Story Biblical Literature
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