"It is Time..."
"It is Time..."(Zeit ists...) is a short
treatise on Jewish learning in the form of a letter addressed to Hermann Cohen.
FR begins his discussion with an analysis of the general state of Judaism in
Central Europe. He concludes that Jewish scholarship has become alienated from
Jewish life. As a result, Jewish religious education has become empty and meaningless.
FR then lays out a proposal for and alternative educational program and a means
of implementing it in the schools. The "backbone" for the curriculum
is the Jewish liturgical year as fixed by the Jewish calendar.
The curriculum is designed so that it restores the tie
between the synagogue and the individual. For many Jews who accepted assimilation
into Western European culture the synagogue was the only remaining sphere of
Jewish life. Instruction begins with the Jewish week and moves on to the yearly
cycle of Jewish festivals. The curriculum assumes two lessons per week. On Saturdays
Jewish students go to the synagogue while Christian students receive instruction
in Christianity. The foundation for beginning instruction is the learning of
biblical and liturgical Hebrew. Beginning religious instruction, which runs
about three years, is the preparation for Bar Mitsvah. After Bar Mitsvah more
advanced study continues with study of the ancient commentaries (i.e. Rashi),
the world of the Talmud and Midrash, and Jewish spirituality and philosophy.
The instructors receive training at the rabbinical seminaries
instead of the universities. Teacher and scholar must be one. Scholarship carries
a responsibility to the people. The scholar must not be confined to the study
but must go out and teach. In the opinion of FR, the teacher not only transmits
knowledge but is actively engaged in the increase of knowledge. FR's proposal
concludes with a plan for payment.
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