This is a collection of papers that focus on the key concerns facing educators as they consider teaching American Jewish history in day schools and supplemental schools. By reframing the questions to ask and the issues to address, these papers give educators innovative perspectives on how to make American Jewish history exciting and relevant to students.
In the first paper Deborah Dash Moore focuses on how American Jewish history needs to be written and taught in order to make it meaningful to students at the close of this century. In the second paper Sondra Leiman discusses how on a practical level she teaches American Jewish history to middle school students. She explains how she uses alternative techniques such as portfolios, role playing, story telling, projects, problem based or decision-based learning, simulation games and trips to convey key concepts. These two papers are tied together in the paper by Regina Stein who stresses that teachers of American Jewish history are translators and interpreters who give life to the teaching of history by translating it into meaningful memory for students.
The fourth paper, by Steven Bayme, looks at the teaching of American Jewish history from the perspective of Jewish communal institutions. Key issues Bayme explores relate to: looking at American Jewish history as a successful part of American civilization yet dealing with the conflicts and tensions this success story raises; teaching history to sustain Jewish identity and strengthen attachment to Judaism and its people; and understanding the nature of the American Jewish experience, its salience and meaning for the contemporary Jewish student. In an epilogue, Jonathan D. Sarna comments on these four papers and suggests how they might impact on the teaching of American Jewish history at the elementary and high school levels. He suggests using issues from American Jewry's past to shed light upon (and to stimulate discussion about) its present and its future.
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Bayme, Steven. Sarna, Jonathan D. Moore, Deborah Dash. Leiman, Sondra. Stein, Regina. Moving Beyond Haym Solomon: The Teaching of American Jewish History to 20th Century Jews. American Jewish Committee (AJC),Temple University. 1995: