Author: Lívia Katona
It would not be possible to speak of the current educational system without knowing its history and the hi story of the school system development.
This work represents the first attempt of drawing a complex picture of the Jewish educational system and its history. History of Jewish schooling and education has not been adequately presented in the history of Slovak pedagogics and this book strives to remove this gap.
Jewish nation can be compared to a tree. They have been set as an example for Christians and consequently the pagans turned into believers in God. Christianity symbolically represents a graft or faith that cannot exist without its foundation, which means without the tree.
We became believers thanks to the Jews and we began to reeducate our children and youth. Moses´s Decalog has become the foundation, Alpha and Omega of our faith. The essence of morality rests in it, which – when one holds on to it – eventually removes all orders and regulations.
This study shows chronologically the history and development of Jewish educational system from the end of 18th century to the end of World War II. We tried to describe the schooling and pedagogigcs in the teritorry of south Slovakia in the period during 1845–1945 from which written documents have been preserved for the generations to come.
For Jews, the past and even the very early times represent something that is still alive and present. It remains in their rituals and prayers, it rests in their faith and it is the foundation of their religious identity. It is the Hebrew Bible that serves as the source of knowledge of their history.
Hebrew Bible consists of three parts which are Thora, Prophets and Scriptures.
In Hebrew the Tóra, Neviim and Ketuvim, or TaNaCh in short form. The shown order reflects the importance of each part as well. Scientists proved that the origins of Jewisch history along with the origins of biblical literature can be found in the period of united monarchy under the rule of David and Solomon (approx. from 1010 to 926 B. C.) when favourable conditions for such activities occcured.
The services were held also at synagogues but we do not know much about them or their relation to the Temple. The Law accepted by Israel consisted of Ten Commandments and of over 613 laws.
Reading from Scriptures, often followed by translation (targum) and explanation was the main part of the service at synagogues. Before and after the reading there were prayers and sometimes blessings. Besides working with the biblical texts the rabbis also collected quid ances (halacha) or explanations of the ways by which Thora should be interpreted in relation to practical life. Such guidances were handed over from generation to generation through popular tradition. Authors and collectors of halacha were called tanaits. The work of tanaits, who taught in Hebrew, was later taken over by amoraits (amer – to speak). The Amoraits taught and wrote in Aramaic.
Halacha explains what Jews ought to do and how they should do it while Agada tells them why should they do it and what is the motivation of regulations. Talmud is the fundamental work of Judaism, a repository of Jewish Law, wisdom and knowledge. It concerns all aspects of the life, it deals with laws, relegious duties, ethics, rules of social behaviour, theological questions, astrology, numerology and other topics.
It was the spoken, sung or written word that was the main expressive means of Jewish artistic creativity. The word can be remembered when it is needed and a book can be protected from damage more easily than a picture or other art work.
Although many of Jewish religious symbols are disappearing from our social environment, the religion itself will always be one of the fundamental sources of our culture. Summary of basic information on Judaism should serve as a way of refreshing our historical and cultural memory.
After 1994 I decided to investigate and classify the documents in state archives and private collections in an effort to contribute to the basic research on regional history of Slovak educational system. I focused on history of Jewish educational and school system which had been only an insignificant part of our schooling history. It was an independent equal unit ot the Slovak education system.
I hope my study will offer deeper knowledge of Judaism to teachers, parents and students. It is up to us and mainly up to the parents to maintain the heritage of our ancestors and to develop it creatively. We should not lose it. I hope this study will be a useful and inspiring reading for you.