In Herb Belkin’s April 20 article, “The case for modern Jewish history,” he makes an important point about Jewish children not being taught the basics of modern Jewish history and the world leaders who led the way. Herb’s concern is usually responded to by Hebrew educators stating “We do not have enough time.”
It is not only the history of the Jewish pioneers that is absent from religious education, but so too is Jewish culture – the Jewish language (Yiddish), the Yiddish theatre that once thrived in New York, the Yiddish books and stories, the foods that were intertwined into Jewish cuisine with all the moving from one country to country, the great accomplishments of the Jewish people in so many walks of life, Jewish idioms and expressions that can never be defined properly, and especially Jewish humor which is the funniest there is. No mention of these important aspects of our Jewish culture are taught or emphasized, or if they are, there is little publicity about them. All the emphasis in Temples and religious schools is on the Hebrew language and the land of Israel, important as they both are. We have so many intermarriages these days and Judaism is slowly melting away. The older Jewish generation who experienced this wonderful part of life is slowly passing away, too.
It would serve us well if our wonderful Jewish culture is revived as quickly as possible before it also dies.
Myrna Ann Saltman, Burlington