Jewish education in extremis: A prolegomenon to postmodern Jewish educational thought

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In this article the author argues that for 150 years Jewish education has negotiated the tensions between modernity and Judaism by means of liberal religion, ultra Orthodoxy, and secular Zionism. All three are in crisis today due to the rise of postmodernism. Jewish educational thought therefore needs to create new syntheses between Jewish and postmodern life. To this end the concepts of Aliyah, modernity, and exile should be reevaluated and Jewish education should embrace the goal of working with God toward redemption. For more than 150 years Jewish education has focused on the tensions between rabbinic Judaism and modernity. Each of the models for negotiating these tensions-religious liberalism, ultra orthodoxy, and secular Zionism-succeeded beyond the imaginations of those who conceived them. Yet, each is in a state of crisis today, resulting from a deconstruction of both the rabbinic and modern assumptions upon which they are based. Addressing these crises requires reevaluation of key assumptions about the educational significance of Israel, modernity, and exile in order to lay the groundwork for more productive interactions between the Jewish people and its heritage on the one hand and the postmodern condition into which we are emerging on the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-494
Number of pages24
JournalReligious Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Religious studies


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