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Though often treated as distinct phenomena, Jewish education and secular education both share in the education of American Jews. To talk about one is to reveal implicit truths about the other. As long as American Jewish leaders could articulate their visions for Jewish education without conflicting with their appreciation of public education, all was well. But as questions of suburbanization, desegregation, ethnic identity, and middle-class values all took on greater urgency during the late 1960s, the tacit agreement began to fray. By the end of the decade, both the Reform and Conservative movements embraced day schools, raising new and uncomfortable questions about the relationship between education, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status.

This article seeks to understand how leaders in non-Orthodox American Jewish communities squared an emerging affinity for Jewish day schools with their liberal commitments to public education. Focusing on the period between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, and taking 1968 as a turning point, this article explores the ways in which American Jewish leaders understood and formulated a new vision for Jewish education that could allow for both an increased commitment to the education of Jews within exclusively Jewish contexts, yet did not compromise their liberal political commitments to public education. Sensitive both to claims of antisemitism and to fears that they would be seen to endorse "white flight," American Jewish leaders carefully constructed a vision of day school education that they hoped would align both with liberal political commitments and to a concern for the transmission of Jewishness to the next generation.

In so doing, they used financial resources to stabilize the tension between ethnicity and politics. They advanced a vision for Jewish schooling that presented Jewish day schools as an option that neither rejected nor competed with public schools for either resources or time. This vision was only available to them once they felt prepared to call [End Page 59] upon the middle-class stability and institutional resources of the community at large, though they understood that they had to do so without appearing to abandon their civic commitments in favor of voluntary, if gilded, educational ghettoes. Tracking the shift in attitudes toward Jewish day schools reveals a political economy of Jewish education in which concerns for communal vibrancy came to rely, in large measure, on the financial resources of the Jewish middle class.

Delivering Integration

Until the middle of the 1960s, advocates for Jewish education favored an integrationist approach. In that context, however, integration did not refer to schools or classrooms.2 Instead, it was part of an educational vision that favored students who could integrate Jewish knowledge and values into their American social and cultural contexts.3 If integration was the desired outcome, American Jewish leaders still divided on what would be the best delivery mechanism for it: could it be best realized through a model that embraced Jewish and secular subjects within the parameters of Jewish private school, or was it best achieved through a complementary arrangement between public schools and supplementary schools?

The integrationist approach held even those who advocated for Jewish private schools. Rabbi Joseph Lookstein, founder of the Ramaz School, explained his belief that Judaic and secular studies classes should be intermingled, to help "integrate American and Hebraic cultures, or to achieve a blending of Judaism and Americanism."4 Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky, a leader in Torah Umesorah, the society for day school educators that served as faculty at Orthodox schools, explained that day schools "are committed to the raising of a generation of Jews who will be loyal to the democratic way of life. The leadership of these schools strives for integration of the best of American culture and Jewish value in their students."5 In 1960, critic Milton Himmelfarb criticized Jewish schools for their inability to foster integration and their failure to provide "Jewish learning that connects with the rest of culture."6 [End Page 60]

By contrast, non-Orthodox Jews tended to favor the complementary approach though they held to the same integrationist vision. As Jonathan Krasner has argued of Samson Benderly and his students, "their archetypical American Jew was a model of integration who lived affirmatively and fully in both the Jewish and American spheres, and who embraced an expansive view of the points of intersection…Moreover, they insisted that Jewish survival in America was facilitated by integration, or, more accurately, that integration constituted the sole route toward an expression of Judaism sufficiently compelling to engender the will to survive."7 Their vision of integration contrasted with a more assimilationist approach, which Benderly and his students believed failed to adequately both protect Jewish interests and articulate a Jewish commitment to broader American values. "The problem before us was to form a body of young Jews who should be, on the one hand, true Americans, a part of this republic, with an intense interest in upbuilding American ideals and yet, on the other hand, be also Jews, in love with the best of their own ideals, and not anxious merely to merge with the rest and disappear among them…It is not merely a religious, but a civic problem."8

Motivated by this vision of Jewish education, Benderly advocated for the creation of modern synagogue schools that did not compete with public schools but would partner with them within a "dual school system."9 This way, Benderly believed that Jewish students could participate fully in the civic educational efforts of public schools while still receiving Jewish instruction in a Jewish milieu. Although he understood the limitations on synagogue schools (too little time, weak curricular materials, undertrained teaching corps, funding pressures, and so on), he stridently opposed the creation of private Jewish schools because, he argued, to follow the model of Catholic parochial schools would run counter to the trajectory of Jewish enlightenment and emancipation. "What we want in this country, is not Jews who can successfully keep up their Jewishness in a few large ghettos, but men and women who have grown up in freedom and can assert themselves wherever they are. A parochial system of education among the Jews would be fatal to such hopes."10 Benderly's vision of Jewish schooling revealed an understanding of American Jewish education that took its civic commitments as seriously as it did its Jewish ones. [End Page 61]

Benderly's vision dominated non-Orthodox Jewish educational efforts. At the end of the 1950s, 88.5 percent of Jewish children enrolled in formal Jewish education attended schools "under congregational auspices."11 Part of Benderly's success can be traced to its unique formulation of Jewish education that aligned with a belief in public schooling.12 Krasner notes that Benderly and his students took for granted the "Jewish community's romance with the public school," that expanded in the years following the Civil War.13 Part and parcel of the spread of public education was an effort to "secularize" public schools, an effort in which prominent Jews played a significant role and which Jonathan Sarna argued "represented the triumph of the Protestant model of education in American Jewish circles."14 Once established, the vision of a Protestant-informed and avowedly secular public educational system became "enshrined in ideology," as American Jews increasingly saw public schools as "temples of liberty," "a synecdoche for America itself," and as passageways to American culture, society, and middle-class attainment.15

This integrationist vision persisted even as the Conservative movement laid the groundwork for its day school network, named after Solomon Schechter, during the mid-1950s. In 1957, Rabbi Simon Greenberg explained his rationale for investing in day schools by highlighting their emphasis on integration. "The Jewish religion, rooted in the Bible and in the Rabbinic tradition, is the highest and noblest principle for the [End Page 62] integration of the life of the individual Jew and of the Jewish community, and that in this land we have the opportunity to make it the center around which to develop the Jewish version of American Civilization."16 Greenberg found it necessary to qualify his departure from the beloved "dual school" model by explaining that creating Conservative Jewish day schools would not mean abandoning American values or withdrawing from American society.

We are not turning our faces away from Americanism and walking into a corner of our own. On the contrary, we are rather thinking in terms of putting our hands to a great and glorious task. It is great and glorious both in its emphasis upon the Jewish religion and upon American civilization for which it is to serve as such an integrating principle.17

A decade later, Dr. Morton Siegel, executive vice president of United Synagogue of America, offered a more thorough formulation of Greenberg's concept. In an article pointedly entitled "What Kind of Child Do We Want to Produce in the Solomon Schechter School?" Siegel explained that "the child who attends a day school finds himself in an educational system which provides a complete integration of Judaic and general studies so that the two worlds which exist for the child who attends public schools and congregational schools—the secular world and the religious world—do not exist for the day school child."18 Siegel hoped that students would become "contented person(s) living in one, and not in two worlds, with a consistent pattern to guide him in his life."19 Only by attending a single school that held to both "secular" and "religious" values, could a Jewish student encounter a coherent, integrated worldview. Attending a public school during the day and a congregational school in the afternoon, he argued, reinforced rather than mitigated the ideological differences between American and Jewish values. A Jewish day school, however, could bring those strands together under one institutional roof.

Day school advocate Alvin Schiff offered a similar evaluation of day schools that emphasized their integrationist focus. He explained that day [End Page 63] schooling was "founded on the principle that synthesis (or integration) is the necessary theoretical basis for a Jewish child's adjustment to his larger American environment."20 He argued that that the homogeneity of Jewish students and the ethno-religious intimacy that day schools cultivated would benefit students, the American Jewish community, and American society more generally. "The American setting seeks for each minority group to maintain its own integrity and identity, and contribute from its own traditions and creative forces to the mainstream of American life. The day school is one of the ways in which the Jewish community maintains its integrity and encourages its own singular creativity."21 Schiff's inversion of Benderly's dual-school approach helped him to conclude that social segregation in schools, not complementary systems, would produce the most integrated graduates.22

Orthodoxy and Opposition

The difference in visions of schooling that emerged between Orthodox and non-Orthodox fed the assumption that "Jewish day school" meant "Orthodox Jewish day school." Schiff's study, The Jewish Day School in America, focused almost exclusively on Orthodox schools, leading him to acknowledge, "[a]s far as parental preferences are concerned, it is inconceivable that more than a small minority of Jews will become committed to the Jewish Day School idea. For most Jews, the public school will remain the vehicle for educating their young on the elementary and secondary levels."23 Similarly, Judah Pilch and Meir Ben-Horin's 1966 volume Judaism and the Jewish School included only one single article about day schools, which appeared in the section of the book dedicated to "Orthodox Formulations."24

Alexander Dushkin and Uriah Engelman found further support of this attitude in their 1959 national study of Jewish education, which found that 68.4 percent of "community leaders" opposed day schools "on principle" (738 out of 1,561 respondents).25 In an extended footnote, they provided survey responses that included comments like "fails to [End Page 64] prepare for American life," "against education ghettos" or "respect for religious differences taught best through personal contact."26 In theory, Dushkin and Engelman supported the idea of "more intensive Jewish education for some children" which, they allowed, could be provided through an expansion of day schools. However, they did not believe such schools, as then constituted, could provide a general education of sufficient quality. In their final recommendation to Federations and Bureaus of Jewish Education, they advocated for "support or 'service' [for] those Day schools that are modern in character and which comply with objective standards of school management and of general education."27 This recommendation implied that many day schools failed to achieve the organizational and curricular standards of "general education," and thus did not warrant support on the basis of their Jewish content alone. Implicitly critical of Orthodox yeshivas and perhaps of Orthodoxy generally, their recommendation softly advocated for improving existing day schools, but not for expanding their number.

Within the Reform movement, opposition to day schools remained strong until the late 1960s and beyond. The first attempt to discuss the matter seriously was not brought by its leadership, but by students of Hebrew Union College. In 1961, they raised a motion to charge its Commission on Jewish Education to explore the possibility of creating full-time Jewish day schools. Opposition to the idea was so strong that some members of the Commission "requested that it be made perfectly clear that the motion was only to study and did not in any way indicate a shift of position," lest it be misunderstood as an indication of support for private schools.28 Two years later, the Commission concluded that it "sees no reason for opposing" the creation of Reform day schools but that it was "not convinced that we should now advocate or encourage such an undertaking, not only because there are conflicting views on the subject, but because official endorsement of such a project would commit us to give it moral (and perhaps more than moral) support."29 When Rabbi Alexander Schindler, the head of the Commission, announced his support of day schools, the story made the New York Times, and he received a flood of letters opposing the effort.30 Echoing Benderly's civic [End Page 65] vision of Jewish education, another leading member of the Commission argued that day schools represented a threat "to general public education in the United States and to our liberties."31 In this atmosphere, the Commission repeatedly "rejected resolutions urging establishment of day schools by lopsided votes in 1964: (17–1), 1965: (18–2), and 1966: (17–3)."32 The movement's position would pivot sharply in 1969, but for most of the decade, opposition remained strong.

Despite this opposition the number of Jewish private schools climbed steadily, growing from 39 in 1951 to 139 in 1964, though they continued to operate largely under Orthodox auspices.33 The number of students also increased during this period, rising by 7.8 percent nationally and by 21.4 percent in New York City between 1948 and 1958.34 In raw numbers, day schools saw a steep rise of enrollments to nearly 65,000 students by 1960, even though they still catered to a small segment of American Jewry.35 Alvin Schiff noted this trend with some measure of satisfaction, branding the years between 1940–1964, "the era of great expansion."36 For Schiff, growth was evidence of the success of the day school vision for integrated, "modern," Jewish education, while Uriah Engelman attributed the rise in Jewish day schools during the late 1940s to the arrival of "militant sectarian groups which came to the United States in the wake of World War Two"37

Despite the growth of day schools among the Orthodox, the American Jewish commitment to public schooling remained so strong that even Schiff took pains to acknowledge it. He flatly rejected charges that Jewish day schools represented "opposition to public education" [End Page 66] and contrasted Jewish day schools with Catholic parochial schools. He approvingly quoted Noah Nardi's conclusions drawn from a 1948 survey of Jewish day schools which concluded, "Jews organize All-Day Schools not because they deny the right of the state to educate their children, but rather because they find the public school insufficient for the educational needs of their children."38 Amidst his celebration of day schools, Schiff still found it necessary to formulate a vision for all-day religious education that did not signal an ideological withdrawal from the broader civic commitments of American Jews to public schooling. So strong was American Jewish support for public schools that even Schiff concluded that day schools could, at best, offer an alternative to public schools, not a replacement for them.

The Political Economy of Day School Finance

Much of the debate around day schools revolved around how to formulate an educational vision for private schools that did not conflict with American Jewry's appreciation of the civic benefits of public education. Non-Orthodox Jewish leaders were especially sensitive to criticisms that day schools represented a departure from those commitments and the politics that fueled them. They were aware that day schools seemed to contradict the significant efforts American Jews expended in the struggle for civil rights, as evidenced by the prominent role played by the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in that struggle.39 The Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v Board of Education (1954) ended de jure segregation, and American Jewish leaders worried that advocating for Jewish private schools might smack of a kind of latent racism or anti-desegregationist position. Finally, they worried that supporting day schools would lend support for arguments in favor of public funds for private, religious schools, a position that most American Jews, and almost all leaders of major, non-Orthodox Jewish organizations strongly opposed.

With attention to this concern, Jewish leaders struggled to articulate an educational vision that could allow American Jews to fully support the creation of day schools without compromising their civic commitments. Much of this debate revolved around the question of who should pay [End Page 67] for day schools and, more implicitly but perhaps more importantly, who could pay for them. Postwar American Jewish prosperity meant that it was possible to create day schools without appealing to state aid which, in turn, made it possible to formulate a Jewish educational vision that did not compromise faith in public education or threaten the separation of church and state. Jews could make good on their civic commitments by paying taxes that supported public schools, while agreeing to voluntarily assume the cost, either individually or collectively, of private schooling for their own children.

This was rather unlike the situation facing Catholic schools, whose leaders have advocated for state aid off and on since the mid-nineteenth century.40 Support for state aid for parochial schools waxed and waned, but the logic remained relatively consistent: Catholics should not have to pay "double taxation" for their education.41 Similarly, this approach differed from the contemporaneous, if spottier, development of Afrocentric schools that were developed largely as a critique of the failures of desegregation; these schools were usually privately funded efforts.42 Catholic, Jewish, and Afrocentric schools all shared a concern about white, Protestant influence over public education, and each sought to build an alternative approach to schooling that emphasized a curriculum steeped in alternative ideologies, be they religious or nationalist in character. While Afrocentric schools often directly critiqued what their founders understood as the prejudice and white supremacy that pervaded public schooling, and while Catholic schools pursued state aid to support their efforts, non-Orthodox Jews who led the day school movement typically pursued an in-between strategy that boisterously (sometimes overly so) supported public schools and rejected the idea that the state should pay for religious ones.

This was not uniformly the case for day schools under Orthodox auspices, which have existed in the United States since the nineteenth [End Page 68] century.43 As they organized and "modernized" during the early decades of the twentieth century, some among their leadership warmed toward the possibility of state support, while others opposed it. Torah Umesorah, founded in 1944 with a mission to build "'lighthouses of Torah' throughout America to replace those that were being destroyed in Eastern Europe," became a strong advocate for state aid to private schools.44 Together with the Orthodox Union, they created a Commission on Education which actively supported federal aid to both public and private schools.45 The 1961 renewal of the 1958 National Defense Education Act, which promised $375 million to religious schools, gave some Orthodox leaders occasion to pronounce their support for federal aid. The story made the front page of the New York Times. In his testimony Rabbi Moses Sherer, President of Agudath Israel said:

We deplore that an incorrect image has been foisted upon the American public of the Jewish position on this issue, and that, as a result, a false impression has arisen of the Jewish posture towards religious education…It is our view that to deny these tax-paying American citizens of Orthodox Jewish faith the benefit of their taxes in order to help defray the large expense of maintaining the Jewish parochial school system for their children is a discrimination which is no way in accordance with basic American values.46

But a year later, delegates to the biennial convention of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America rejected a resolution opposing federal aid. Rabbi Joseph Lookstein explained the organization's [End Page 69] dilemma. "It would be a godsend if the Government would help us, but I would not accept such aid."47

The passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965 renewed the possibility of public funds for private schools and revealed an emerging rift in the Jewish community.48 The ESEA allocated federal funds to school districts with high percentages of students from low-income families and did not, at first, contain any limitations on which schools could receive aid. In response, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States, the Rabbinical Council of America, the Rabbinical Alliance, Torah Umesorah, and Agudath Israel, Young Israel, and the Religious Zionists of America all campaigned in support of the ESEA's promised $2.3 billion dollar extension to private and parochial schools. In 1965, Marvin Schick created the National Jewish Commission on Law And Public Affairs (COLPA) to advocate for the rights of religious schools and, specifically, to argue in favor of direct aid for secular studies in parochial schools. Over the course of its tenure, COLPA filed twenty-seven amicus briefs in favor of state aid to religious schools.

COLPA was the most formal strategy of Orthodox leaders seeking funding for day schools, though the pursuit of public support was driven as much by a critique of Jewish communal priorities as it was by an ideological commitment to public funds for religious schools. In 1963, Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky of Torah Umesorah criticized the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies for allocating only $750,000 to the Jewish Education Committee of which only $50,000 went to 179 day schools with 39,000 pupils which were struggling with budgets totaling $11,000,000.49 Schiff elaborated the critique, asserting that the debate over federal funding [End Page 70] could be moot were it not for the "failure of the Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds and other fund raising arms of the Jewish community to support the day school movement."50 He sharpened his point by arguing that if only Federations had funded Jewish schools, then Orthodox leaders would not have to go looking for public funds as they have been:

It is the considered opinion of some Jewish educators that many advocates of Federal aid would relinquish their position in favor of continued support from the Jewish community if Jewish federations were to provide substantial subventions to the day schools. If aid from these sources were forthcoming there would be few or no advocates of Federal aid for the day school.51

On this, Schiff and other Orthodox leaders were not entirely incorrect. One member of the AJC objected to appeals for funding by observing, "it's ironic that some other parents want us to defray the cost of schooling the numerous progeny their theology insists they raise."52 In a related incident, Rabbi Moses Sherer, the head of the Orthodox Union, reported that following a debate about government funds for day schools, a secular and liberal Jewish woman in the audience tossed a subway token at him for the ride home.53

On the level of non-Orthodox Jewish communal organizations, the class bias against Orthodox communities translated into an educational vision that rejected state aid. The leadership of the burgeoning Solomon Schechter school network issued a resolution stating its "opposition to the granting of federal loans, to private or sectarian elementary and high schools." Citing separation of church and state, United Synagogue explained its desire to "maintain this clean-cut separation and mutual hands-off principle."54 Officially, United Synagogue advanced its position that support for Jewish private schools should come from "enlightened self-interest" adding that it "must come from us, the Jewish community, and not from any other group, government or otherwise."55 This position was not entirely uniform, as Charles Silver, president of the New York City Board of Education and a leading Conservative lay leader, supported state aid.56 [End Page 71]

Dushkin and Engelman also supported funding Jewish education from within the Jewish community, twice nodding to a "future, when Federation will share sufficiently in Jewish educational costs," and noting "thus far… the help given by federations and councils has not kept pace with developments in Jewish education."57 When surveying educational leaders about possible sources of funding for Jewish education, Dushkin and Engelman did not even ask if state funds should be an option. Nevertheless, their insistence that Jewish communal organizations assume a greater share of the burden for funding Jewish education demonstrated that they were aware of the financial power of those institutions, and that they believed that the Jewish community could afford it. This was as much a statement of middle-class stability as it was a Jewish educational policy.

Class Attainment and School Quality

With respect to education, specifically, the possibility of affording private schools contained the seeds of an uncomfortable conflict between ideological and material realities that non-Orthodox leaders did their best to deflect.58 By the mid-1960s, Jews were already relocating to the suburbs, but the migration into day schools suggested something else: the number of Jewish day schools situated in urban areas doubled between 1951 and 1964, but suburban day school enrollment multiplied sevenfold in the same period.59 This was the period, to use Karen Brodkin's phrase, in which "Jews became white folk," by availing themselves of benefits like the GI Bill and loans from the Federal Housing Authority.60 The racial classification of Jews as "white" is less important here than is the fact that American Jews were granted access to many of the material benefits of the "possessive investment in whiteness."61 The fusion of communal and class concerns were bound up in the growing [End Page 72] acknowledgement that American Jews could afford private schools and could thus withdraw from public schools without demanding the state underwrite them.

Non-Orthodox American Jewish leaders understood this emerging political economy and took pains to deflect critiques of Jews as insufficiently committed to civic values or otherwise insular, ghettoized, or closed to American life and culture. Milton Himmelfarb heard in this perspective a simmering hypocrisy born of Jewish liberal reactionism. In an oft-cited article about the separation of church and state, Himmelfarb pulled no punches in his critique of American Jewish leaders' responses to the passage of the ESEA.

Almost as alarming is the growing isolation of Jewish separationism from the social liberalism of which it used to be a part…. Congressional opponents of Johnson's legislation, who went down continuing to profess indignation over the breach in the wall [between church and state], were mostly reactionaries and racist….Whenever I hear or read Jewish separationists weighing the claims of the poor against the claim of separationism, their emotion goes to separationism. Yet we are still fond of thinking ourselves rahamanim bene rehamanim, the compassionate sons of compassionate fathers.62

He was not incorrect in his characterization of educational liberalism that stopped at the classroom door, but he underestimated the flexibility of ideological commitments to both liberalism and Jewish particularism.

This formulation began to take shape about a decade earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. Board of Education. In 1957, Rabbi Simon Greenberg began formulating a vision for Solomon Schechter schools that took pains not to appear to contradict the ideals of liberal democratic life. "This form of more intensive privately financed religious education is altogether in line with American democratic principles as applied to the realm of education. The public school was not intended to monopolize all educational activity… We must be clear in our own minds, and make it crystal clear to all others, that we are not isolationists or ghetto minded in our approach."63 A decade later, as attention to urban unrest increased, he warned that Jewish day schools "may become the refuge of the well-to-do in search of social exclusiveness and a weapon in the battle against the integration of our public schools. The Jewish day school can avoid both dangers only [End Page 73] if it is clearly identified as a religious school with significant emphasis upon the Jewish subject matter in its curriculum."64 Greenberg's concern reflected the self-consciousness with which non-Orthodox American Jewish leaders broached the potentially illiberal effects of day schools. They wanted to advocate for more intensive Jewish education without giving up on public education, and they grasped for a way to do both and compromise neither.

At the intersection of these desires lay a simmering uneasiness about integration that was often coded as a question of school "quality." In 1969, historian Lloyd Gartner identified three factors that drove rising day school enrollments during the 1960s: The first was "prosperity," which "made private schooling financially feasible and could betoken higher social status." The second was "the desire to bestow upon children a comprehensive Jewish education." His third and "most menacing… appeared around 1960–the decline of the urban public schools and the racial turmoil within them."65 Leon Spotts, the director of secondary education at Graetz College, tried to frame the rise in day school enrollment strictly in terms of quality and access. "It has been suggested that greater numbers of parents, dissatisfied with the quality of education offered by the local public school systems but unable to find a good private school which can accept additional enrollment, can be induced to enroll their children in the Jewish day school."66

But the relationship between class attainment and perceptions of school quality were never so easily separated. Even Milton Himmelfarb, who was otherwise unapologetic about Jewish middle-class achievement, observed a tension around "trading up," a process he likened to the decision to purchase a Cadillac over a Chevrolet. He encouraged American Jews to accept this as a fact of their newfound "class and style of life," though he tempered that acceptance with a warning against "a more snobbish kind of social-class motive" that might drive their selection of private over public schools.67 For Himmelfarb, choosing a private school was a right conferred on the emerging upper middle class, but it was one that did not extend to a more presumptuous, even genteel elitism. He explained that Jewish parents "are prepared to pay the price of their [End Page 74] decision" to send their child to a Jewish day school, noting that they were "prepared, but not resigned," before concluding that "the financial burden…is heavy."68 These concerns about the relationship between class attainment and civic commitment often found expression in quasiracialized discourse about the perceived "decline" of public schooling in the wake of desegregation. Himmelfarb attributed his impression that "the long Jewish romance with the public school is beginning to cool" to a racially-tinged observation of "the transformation of more than a few schools that were once reasonably good into blackboard jungles set in asphalt jungles."69

Alvin Schiff offered a similar explanation for the growth of interest in day schools that paired "the sudden prosperity of the post-war years" with the lamentable "conditions in the public schools."

Juvenile delinquency, crowded conditions and double sessions, as well as the highly publicized "blackboard jungle" conditions in many public schools, all have been sources of worry and anxiety to parents. Reluctant to send their children to the neighborhood public school, some of them turn to the day school as the solution to their dilemma.70

For Schiff, day schools presented a solution that allowed parents a strategy for exiting public schools based on concerns for "quality" while generally avoiding a deeper consideration of what that meant or how it was assessed.

The racial undertones of this rationale were sometimes hard to detect, but they were not inaudible, particularly in the wake of urban unrest of the late 1960s. Writing at the end of the decade, Walter Ackerman, professor of Jewish education at the University of Judaism, the Conservative Movement's West Coast seminary, grimly acknowledged the implicit class and race concerns that led to the rise in day school enrollments. "Still others send their children to day schools for reasons far removed from the essential purpose of the school, as a matter of convenience, to escape the crowded conditions of the public schools, to enjoy the benefits of a 'private' school, and, sad to say, to avoid contact with other racial and ethnic groups."71

The actions of American Jewish leaders and families drew criticism from Nathan Brown, Acting Superintendent of Schools in New York City, who publically chided Jewish families for abandoning city schools [End Page 75] because of desegregation. "I deplore any action on the part of Jewish parents who escape the city school system for the sole purpose of avoiding racially integrated schools."72 Whether his comments represented a significant trend or whether they were merely anecdotal, he was responding to the sense that New York City Jews were turning, increasingly, to day schools as an alternative to desegregated public schools.

Of course, Jews were not the only ones who left the public school system, and the choice to withdraw from the city and its schools had powerful economic effects. Between 1970 and 1975, New York City lost 15.3 percent of its total, intact, white families. Meanwhile, eighty-nine percent of all minorities were living in the metropolitan area.73 This skewed the city's tax base and as a result, New York City almost went bankrupt in 1975. The Brownsville teachers' strike in 1968 also irreparably altered relationships between African Americans and Jews, contributing to the sense that the two communities had less and less in common.74 Stephen Arons has written that the system of school finance in which property taxes determined much of school funding, actually provided free choice for the rich and compulsory socialization for everyone else. He contended that the method of financing discriminated against the poor by making families' rights to school choice conditional upon "an ability to pay through the regressive collection of taxes used exclusively for government schools." As such, the majority dictated "what values school children will learn and what the alternatives to those schools will be."75 A decade later, census data revealed that eighty-three percent of all students from the wealthiest families attended public schools, but most of these students were enrolled in suburban public schools where wealthier families could afford to buy a house in a high income school district. Black or Hispanic parents who wanted to send their children to a different school had to pay out-of-district tuition. Writing in 1978, scholar Thomas Vitullo-Martin observed that "this kept high poverty families within the cities, which decreased the city's overall tax base." He argued that existing taxation policy: [End Page 76]

strongly aids some public schools and fails to aid others, and the net effect on public education is to deprive lower income districts of resources while encouraging the segregation of central city school systems…. wealthy public schools, despite their financial resources, do not offer scholarships to low-income students to achieve an economic mix in their population. Instead, they treat residence in the district as an absolute requirement for admission.76

The emerging vision of Jewish day schools was, effectively, a communally-sanctioned program for Jewish withdrawal from urban schools, even if the Jews in question never left the cities for the suburbs.

After 1968: Embracing Separatism

Support for day schools within non-Orthodox Jewish communities solidified in the wake of 1968, which saw perhaps the most prominent expressions of urban unrest concerning the specific issue of education. The Ocean Hill-Brownsville teachers' strike sparked arguments about community control and teachers unions that were underscored by new expressions of antisemitism in the African-American community and expressions of racism in the Jewish community. The controversy left many feeling uneasy about New York City public schools and solidified support for Jewish private schools.

Some saw the turn to day schools as an opportunity. The National Council for Jewish Education, which oversaw Dushkin and Engelman's 1959 study that basically ignored day schools, acknowledged concerns about public education and offered day schools as a response. A 1969 resolution stated:

In light of rapidly changing urban conditions and the continuing onslaught of conflicting programs and activities on the elementary school, we heartily endorse the vital contribution of the Jewish Day school. Because of the growing problems in the public school systems throughout the United States, it is realistic to assume that in the years to come thousands of Jewish parents will begin to think in terms of enrolling their children in private schools. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, as Jewish educators, to make available to these children the facilities of Jewish day schools with quality programs of both Jewish and secular studies, and to bend every effort to encourage enrollment in these schools.77 [End Page 77]

Others were more measured in their advocacy, aware that Jewish families might be seeking alternatives to public schools but concerned with how this might appear to the larger public. Ever-conscious of their public image and the threat of antisemitism, Jewish leaders carefully worded their support of day schools so as not to appear either too eager to withdraw from public schools or too concerned with the effects of desegregation. United Synagogue's Dr. Morton Siegel dismissed the question of desegregation outright. "On the part of some," he noted, "it is dissatisfaction with the public schools. It is not an attempt to run from integration."78 Instead, he tried to advance the rationale that parents "realize supplementary education is inadequate to give identity… They want more."79 In this context, "more" meant greater exposure to and engagement with Jewish wisdom and culture that could strengthen students' commitment to Judaism. Jack Spiro explained, "if our children are incessantly exposed to specious values in their public schools and society, then we should provide them with a greater opportunity to confront and explore the primary values in Jewish traditions…[to] be able to accept Judaism as the dominant reality in their lives."80

"More" also implied a desire for an approach to Jewish education that fully departed from the Benderly vision of the dual school structure and toward schools that could provide a more holistic educational experience. In 1970, Rabbi Pesach Schindler returned to the integrationist approach, explaining that one of the aims of Jewish day schooling was to "emancipate its pupils from… the schizophrenic concept of living in two cultures, of being constantly torn, as it were, between them."81 Schindler, writing for the Conservative movement, envisioned day schools as a kind of salve for students' bifurcated selves. He readily abandoned the logic of the dual school model in favor of an educational vision that favored institutional separatism as the way to better personal integration. As Walter Ackerman summed up, "The trend toward separatism may well mark the day school as a primary symbol of the Jewish community."82

This was exactly what some American Jewish leaders feared. The leadership of the American Jewish Committee rejected a statement endorsing Jewish day schools during its 1970 national council meeting [End Page 78] concerned that it "might seem to ally AJC with tendencies toward cultural separatism."83 Though conscious of this possibility, the Reform movement still moved toward day schools with uncharacteristic speed, though it carefully noted reservations that it shared with the AJC. In 1969, the Reform movement's Commission on Jewish Education approved a resolution encouraging "the establishment of pilot programs and experimental projects in full-time Reform Jewish education."84 With concern for the implications of this endorsement, the gently-worded resolution included three important caveats. First, that the pursuit of this effort would only serve a "minority [of students] who desire and seek more intensive Jewish education." Second, it acknowledged that:

The great majority of our children and youth will obviously continue to receive their Jewish education in part-time religious schools and camps. Further, the great majority of our children and youth will continue to receive their general education in public schools, to the preservation and encouragement of which American Reform Judaism has always been and will continue to be committed as the principal instrument of general education in the United States.85

Third, it reconfirmed verbatim its 1961 resolution: "Reaffirming our devotion to separation of church and state we strongly urge that full-time Reform Jewish schools be entirely supported by private and Jewish community funds."86 The resolution was brought before the body of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations as an effort to have it adopted as a formal policy of the movement, but it did not pass.87 Nevertheless, the first Reform-identified Jewish day school opened in New York the following year, and by the middle of the 1970s, schools opened in Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Toronto. In 1976, the UAHC held a day school conference and by 1981 there were nine Reform day schools in North America. Yet, the fact that the Reform movement found it necessary to commit itself to public education in the same document in which it pledged to support day schools suggests just how deeply the civic commitments of non-Orthodox American Jews run. [End Page 79]

In spite of the embrace of day schools, uneasiness about class status persisted. In a defense of day schools, sociologist Marshall Sklare noted criticism that attributed the rise in enrollment to "parents [who] are interested in avoiding the public schools, especially the necessity of sending children to racially integrated schools…Others say that the day schools have succeeded because they are private schools rather than Jewish schools–that prosperous parents like to send their children to an institution that has the privilege of selecting its student body."88 Sklare countered these criticisms by explaining that "what unfriendly critics are really concerned about is that the day school is necessarily in opposition to the pattern of adjustment that was so characteristic of the community until World War II: the primacy of secular learning and the limiting of Jewishness to the private arena. At least in theory the day school rejects such primacy; it also invades the public domain."89 Echoing Himmelfarb's critiques of Jewish liberalism, Sklare criticized those who opposed day schools as romantic liberals, holding on to a love of public schooling out of nostalgia but not much more.

So broad had the embrace of day schools become that 1970 saw "many welfare federations…manage some shift in their priorities and allocate a greater proportion of their funds for education."90 When Charles Zibbel, the associate executive director of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, addressed a gathering of leaders in Jewish education in 1974, he reminded them that they are all "directly related to the Federations or Welfare Funds," of their "home communities," implying that they were already beneficiaries of the Federations' substantial largesse.91 While defending Federation support for Jewish education, he specifically reminded the assembly "[t]here is no Federation that is philosophically opposed to Day Schools today." He continued to observe that day schools have become the primary recipient of Federation monies earmarked for Jewish education. "During the past six years, allocations for Day Schools grew at a faster rate than the overall allotments for Jewish education–approximately a 20 to 25% increase each year. We are not at the point where 30% of all the funds allocated for Jewish education by Federations go to Jewish Day Schools."92 Zibbell's [End Page 80] bold statement about Federation support for day schools captured the fullness of the Jewish communal about-face with respect to day school education, and he even admitted that the Federation budget for Jewish education in 1960 was "low."93

The quality and quantity of Federation allocations to day schools remained a point of contention. Some criticized the Federation system for using their allocations to effectively pay lip service to concerns facing day schools, while others argued that they were overstepping their bounds by investing in one model of schooling and not another. The fact that the Federation system committed any resources to Jewish day schools marked a significant change from mid-century, when Federations and Jewish communal organizations either rejected or simply ignored day schools. Now, in the wake of the 1960s, and with the religious movements all turning toward day schools in theory if not in practice, Federations, too, joined the effort.94 By trumpeting their financial commitments to day schools, Federations sought to align themselves with the educational culture of the non-Orthodox middle class, providing another inflection of the political economy of day schools.


Between the early 1960s and the early 1970s, non-Orthodox Jewish educational leadership pivoted sharply and embraced day schools. Throughout the first half of the century, day schools had largely been the provenance of Orthodox Jews, who favored an approach to schooling that could provide cultural integration through social segregation by creating exclusively Jewish schools. Among non-Orthodox Jews, Samson Benderly's "integrationist" approach prevailed, grounded in a "dual school" model of Jewish education in which the education of American Jews could be best ensured by attending a combination of public schools and synagogue schools.

In the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, non-Orthodox American Jews began considering Jewish day schools as an alternative to public schooling. The Conservative movement established its Solomon Schechter day school network in 1957, and the Reform movement entertained and rejected a series of initiatives to explore the possibility of creating its own day schools. The language of leaders in both movements revealed concerns [End Page 81] about class status, school desegregation, and a simmering awareness that the dual school system was not able to provide Jewish education that many felt was satisfactory. Ultimately, what emerged was a discourse that privileged school "quality," over other educational considerations and a logic of school choice that was underwritten both by a rejection of public funds for religious education and the acknowledgement that many middle-class Jews, as well as Jewish organizations, could afford to pay for private schooling. As the 1960s ended, all three of the major religious movements embraced day schools, as did the Federation system.95

Central to this formulation was the financial stability that made such a choice possible. Solidly middle class, many American Jews could afford both taxes and tuition, and withdrawal from the civic dimensions of public education could be justified as long as the Jewish community could pay for it. As a 1972 New York Times article explained, "Most parents say that their primary reason for sending their children to the day schools was the desire that their youngsters get 'a Jewish education,' some also admit that conditions in the public schools influenced their decisions. But all those who were interviewed…said that they were still concerned about public schools and supported them."96 The tension between liberal commitments to public schooling and the desire for "Jewish education" that so often seemed in conflict appear to have stabilized in the wake of the late 1960s. Jewish families could opt in to day schools while still supporting public schools with their voices, votes, and taxes. This no longer seemed an insurmountable tension, but it appears to have become a fact of middle-class American Jewish life.

Both implicitly and explicitly, this formulation reveals the role of socioeconomic class in visions of Jewish education. More importantly, it demonstrates that non-Orthodox Jewish day schools emerged as much out of concerns about public education as out of interests in more intensive Jewish education. It is impossible to consider the embrace of Jewish day schools after 1968 without considering the social forces that were changing American public education earlier in the decade. Desegregation, socioeconomic class status, the perception that public schools were in decline, the persistence of liberal political attitudes, and concerns about criticism over school choice all informed the evolution of Jewish day schools during the latter decades of the twentieth century.

The relationship between Jewish day schools, public schools, and non-sectarian private schools still shapes Jewish day school education and educational choice. This may partially explain why the percentage of [End Page 82] non-Orthodox students enrolled in day schools remains relatively small, and it may account for the closure of some schools during the first two decades of the twenty-first century. More importantly, it represents the continuing influence of middle-class values in the formation of visions for Jewish education, and the ways in which class concerns and ethnoreligious concerns intertwine around formulations of Jewish education. This was made apparent, as well, in the fact that most non-Orthodox American Jews did not follow their leaders into day schools. Depending on where people lived, suburban private schools were an acceptable option, and elsewhere people chose non-sectarian, Catholic, or Protestant private schools. Concerns about general educational attainment usually eclipses concerns about the transmission of specifically Jewish knowledge. American Jewish private schools still only account for about 20 percent of all Jewish children enrolled in formal educational programming (the other 80 percent remained in synagogue schools that typically met on weekday afternoons or Sunday mornings), and they remain congregated largely among the Orthodox. As of 2014, there were 861 day schools in the United States, of which only 168 are not affiliated with one of the Orthodox movements.97

Nevertheless, non-Orthodox Jewish leaders continue to reflexively express support for day schools, which retain a symbolic power that far exceeds their size. In the words of Michael Zeldin, Isa Aron, and Sara Lee, all scholars at Hebrew Union College, the seminary of the Reform Movement, "The impact of day schools on the children who attend them and on their families is well established and widely accepted among leaders of synagogues, federations, and foundations."98 Part of its popularity has derived from a long-standing claim that it is "successful" in inculcating strong Jewish identities in its graduates. Among the first attempts to demonstrate the power of day schools was Steven M. Cohen's study of Columbia and Barnard students in which he found a correlation between intensity of Jewish education and ensuing commitments to Jewish life. Geoffrey Bock, Harold Himmelfarb, and others who argued for more hours of Jewish instruction echoed these findings throughout the 1970s.99 These studies, among others that followed, [End Page 83] helped to solidify the conception of day schools as both successful and ideal mechanisms for the delivery of Jewish education. Most research that has followed must contend with the power of day schools in this arena, regardless of how many students actually enroll. In this way, the day school has become more potent as a symbol of what Jewish education could be than as a practical application, which is why attending to the evolving conceptions of Jewish education during the late 1960s and early 1970s is so valuable.

Moreover, examining the emergence of day schools alongside broader discourse about public education reframes narrowly-cast discussions of Jewish continuity and community vitality in terms of broader social, political, and economic trends that make formulations of American Jewishness possible. Tracing the pivot of institutional attitudes toward Jewish day schools to 1968 tells a powerful and revealing story about the role of class status and the politics of desegregation that are central to the American Jewish commitment to day schools. In this context, day schools cannot be understood merely as the best possible delivery mechanism for quality Jewish education, as many have come to claim. Rather, the non-Orthodox embrace of day schools emerged from a vision for Jewish education that was as much about public schools as it was about Jewish knowledge, continuity, or identity. The embrace of Jewish day schools in mainstream American Jewish life emerged as much from a concern about the future of the American Jewish community as it did from the persistence of liberal values, fears about school integration and anxieties about the meaning of middle class stability. The development of non-Orthodox day schools cannot be extracted from those historical conditions, revealing the political economy of an educational development often thought to be outside from or immune to those forces. [End Page 84]

Ari Y. Kelman

Ari Y. Kelman is the Jim Joseph Professor of Education and Jewish Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He is the author of Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio and a co-author of Sacred Strategies.

Janet Bordelon

Janet Bordelon is the director of academic research and scholarship at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. She also teaches in the Jewish Studies department. Janet completed her PhD at NYU in 2014. Her research focuses on church-state issues in American history. Her dissertation traced the historical battle over school choice (public funds for private religious schools) within the American Jewish community. While at NYU, she served as a Jim Joseph Fellow and Tikvah Center Fellow at NYU Law School and taught undergraduate courses pertaining to the history of American education, culture wars, and religion and educational policy. She is currently working on her book project, which looks at Leo Pfeffer, the school choice movement, and the rise of the religious right lobby. She is committed to teaching about social justice, conscientious, and reasoned constitutional interpretation and empathetic dialogue. She is an active member in the American Academy of Religion and Public Schools International Perspectives Group, the Religion and Education Collaborative, the American Historical Association, the American Jewish Historical Society, the History of Education Society, and the Southern Jewish Historical Society.


1. The authors would like to thank the attendees and organizers of "The Jewish 1968 and its Legacies" conference, who heard a much less developed version of this paper. In particular, they would like to thank Deborah Dash Moore, whose question about desegregation triggered whole new lines of research. We are also grateful for the two anonymous readers who helped round out the argument with a broader description of the events and changes discussed here.

2. Stuart L. Kelman, "Motivations and Goals: Why Parents Send Their Children to Non-Orthodox Day Schools" (PhD diss., University of Southern California, 1978), 14.

3. John Slawson, Integration and Identity: The Jew on the American Scene Today (New York: American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 1959), 2–4.

4. Joseph Lookstein, "The Modern American Yeshivah," Jewish Education 16, no. 3 (1945): 13

5. Joseph Kaminetsky, "Evaluating the Program and Effectiveness of the All-Day Jewish School," Jewish Education 27, no. 2 (1956): 43.

6. Milton Himmelfarb, "Reflections on the Jewish Day School," Commentary, January 1, 1960, 36.

7. Jonathan Krasner, The Benderly Boys (Walthan: Brandeis University Press, 2011), 10.

8. Benderly, quoted in "How the Kehillah Worked an Educational Miracle," New York Times, January 24, 1914.

9. Krasner, The Benderly Boys, 21.

10. Benderly, quoted in Krasner, The Benderly Boys, 27.

11. Alexander Dushkin and Uriah Engelman, Jewish Education in the United States (New York: American Association for Jewish Education, 1959), 47.

12. It can also be attributed to the success of his students, who fanned out across the country and assumed powerful leadership roles in the growth of Jewish education during the middle of the twentieth century. See Krasner, The Benderly Boys. See also Carol K. Ingall, ed., The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910–1965 (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2010); Walter Ackerman, "The Jewish School System in the United States," in The Future of the Jewish Community in America, ed. David Sidorsky (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973), 176–212; Walter Ackerman, "The Americanization of Jewish Education," Judaism 24, no. 4 (1975): 416–35; Walter Ackerman, "Some Uses of Justification in Jewish Education," AJS Review 2 (1977): 1–44; Ben Jacobs, "Socialization into a Civilization: The Dewey-Kaplan Synthesis in American Jewish Schooling in the Early 20th Century," Religious Education 104, no. 2 (2009): 149–165; Ronald Kronish, "The Influence of John Dewey Upon Jewish Education in America," in Studies in Jewish Education, vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1984), 104–121.

13. Krasner, The Benderly Boys, 9.

14. Jonathan D. Sarna, "American Jewish Education in Historical Perspective," Journal of Jewish Education 64, no. 1–2 (1998): 11.

15. Jonathan D. Sarna, "American Jewish Education in Historical Perspective," 12. See also Stephan F. Brumberg, Going to America, Going to School: The Jewish Immigrant Public School Encounter in Turn-of-the-Century New York City (New York: Praeger, 1986); Ruth Jacknow Markowitz, My Daughter, the Teacher: Jewish Teachers in the New York City Schools (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993).

16. Simon Greenberg, "The Philosophy of the Conservative Day School," The Synagogue School 16, no. 1 (September 1957), 12. See also The Solomon Schechter Day School in the Conservative Movement (New York: Solomon Schechter Day School Association, n.d.), 3. Alvin Schiff uses the term "bi-cultural" to describe non-Orthodox schools as well. See Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America (Jewish Education Committee Press: New York, NY, 1966), 44, quoted in Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 131.

17. Simon Greenberg, "The Philosophy of the Conservative Day School," 4–5.

18. Morton Siegel, "What Kind of Child Do We Want to Produce in the Solomon Schechter School?," The Synagogue School 25, no. 3 (1967): 3.

19. Morton Siegel, "What Kind of Child Do We Want to Produce in the Solomon Schechter School?," 9.

20. Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 130.

21. Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 128.

22. See also John Slawson, Integration and Identity: The Jew on the American Scene Today (New York: American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 1959), 19.

23. Slawson, Integration and Identity, 134

24. Judah Pilch and Meir Ben Horin, eds., Jewish Education and the Jewish School (New York: Bloch, 1966), 200.

25. Alexander Dushkin and Uriah Engelman, Jewish Education in the United States (New York: American Association for Jewish Education, 1959), 29.

26. Dushkin and Engelman, Jewish Education in the United States, 30–31.

27. Dushkin and Engelman, Jewish Education in the United States, 229, 253.

28. Quoted in Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 211.

29. "Minutes of the UAHC Commission on Jewish Education, 1958–1969 Oct. 1963," quoted in Daniel B. Syme, "Reform Judaism and Day Schools: The Great Historical Dilemma," Religious Education 78, no. 2 (1983): 171.

30. Irving Spiegel, "2 Reform Rabbis Back Day Schools: Leaders Shift Position," New York Times, November 17, 1963, 75.

31. Sylvan Schwartzman, quoted in Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 215. See also Syme, "Reform Judaism and Day Schools: The Great Historical Dilemma," 172.

32. "Minutes of the UAHC Commission on Jewish Education. 1958–1969," quoted in Syme, "Reform Judaism and Day Schools: The Great Historical Dilemma," 172.

33. Zev Eleff, Modern Orthodox Judaism: A Documentary History (New York: Jewish Publication Society, 2016), 196.

34. Dushkin and Engelman, Jewish Education in the United States. 46.

35. Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 48.

36. See also Lloyd P. Gartner, "Temples of Liberty Unpolluted," in A Bicentennial Festschrift for Jacob Rader Marcus, ed. Bertram W. Korn (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1976), 157–89; Noah Nardi, "The Growth of Jewish Day Schools in America," Journal of Jewish Education 20, no. 1 (1948): 23–32; Michael Zeldin, "The Promise of Historical Inquiry: Nineteenth-Century Jewish Day Schools and Twentieth-Century Policy,"Religious Education, 93, no. 3 (1988): 438. For historical and contemporary surveys of Jewish day schools in the United States, see the entries in Thomas C. Hunt and James C. Carper, eds., The Praeger Handbook of Faith-Based Schools in the United States, K-12 (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2012).

37. Uriah Engelman, "Jewish Education," American Jewish Yearbook 51 (1950): 159. Quoted in Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 41.

38. Nardi, "The Growth of Jewish Day Schools in America," 3, quoted in Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 130.

39. See Stuart Svonkin, Jews Against Prejudice (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999); Michael E. Staub, Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

40. Ambrose A. Clegg, "Church Groups and Federal Aid to Education, 1933–1939," History of Education Quarterly 4, no. 3 (1964): 137–154.

41. On "double taxation," see Rudolph M. Binder, "The Public School and Religion," Journal of Educational Sociology 23, no. 5 (1950): 271–277; Vincent P. Lannie, "Church and School Triumphant: The Sources of American Catholic Educational Historiography," History of Education Quarterly 16, no. 2 (1976): 131–145; Thomas T. McAvoy, "Public Schools vs. Catholic Schools and James McMaster," Review of Politics 28, no. 1 (1966): 19–46; Leo Pfeffer, "An Analysis of Federal Aid to Parochial Schools," Journal of Church and State 3, no. 2 (1961): 137–148.

42. Russell Rickford, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

43. The movemental designation "Orthodox" did not come into common parlance until the twentieth century, but the Jewish private schools during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries usually were under the auspices of more traditional and traditionalist congregations. See Gartner, "Temples of Liberty Unpolluted" and Nardi, "The Growth of Jewish Day Schools in America." See also Michael Zeldin, "Jewish Schools and American Society: Patterns of Action and Reaction," Religious Education 78, no. 2 (1983): 182–192.

44. Joseph Kaminetsky, Memorable Encounters: A Torah Pioneer's Glimpses of Great Men and Years of Challenge (Brooklyn: Shar Press, 1995), 71.

45. See Correspondence Education Commission, 1958–62, folder 4, box 1, Orthodox Union Papers, American Jewish Historical Society, New York, New York. Federal bills for educational funding had been debated heavily in the 1940s and 1950s but these earlier bills failed to pass Congress because many of the proposed bills stipulated aid would only go to public schools. See Saul Bernstein, The Orthodox Union Story: A Centenary Portrayal (Northvale: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1997), 200–206. See also Torah Umesorah, The President's Report–1961, cited in Kramer, The Day Schools and Torah Umesorah: The Seeding of Traditional Judaism in America (New York: Yeshiva University Press, 1984), 116. See also Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America.

46. John D. Morris, "New Bill Divides School-Aid Plans," New York Times, March 30, 1961, 1.

47. Quoted in "Rabbi Clarifies U.S. School Aid: Dr. Lookstein Cites Jewish Trend Against Sectarian," New York Times, April 30, 1961, 42; Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 177.

48. Specifically, ESEA authorized funds to each state based on the number of children in the state from low-income families, multiplied by fifty percent of the state's average expenditure per pupil. Title I funds provided services to students in parochial schools through funds granted to the public school districts. The public districts also hired teachers for the parochial school students. Due to the fact that publicly elected officials controlled the federal resources, the separation of church and state was maintained. Under Title II, it appropriated funds to build up library and textbook resources for public and private schools, established experimental educational centers, and promoted research. This was to be done on a loan basis by the local school authority. Public schools were encouraged to set up dual-enrollment programs where students could participate in regular classes on public school premises. See Hugh Davis Graham, The Uncertain Triumph: Federal Education Policy in the Kennedy and Johnson Years (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984).

49. Irving Spiegel, "Jewish Schools Ask for Fiscal Help," New York Times, September 19, 1963, 24.

50. Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 182.

51. Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 183.

52. Memo from Richard Shulman to Education Committee of Metropolitan Council, December 2, 1971, folder 7, box 255, AJC records, 5, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY (hereinafter referred to as the "AJC records").

53. Letter from Sherer to Maslow, June 2, 1968, folder 1, box 255, AJC records.

54. "United Synagogue of America: The Proceedings of the Biennial Convention," United Synagogue of America, November 1961, 230.

55. Ibid.

56. Jonathan D. Sarna, "American Jews and Church-State Relations-The Search for Equal Footing," (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1989).

57. Dushkin and Engelman, Jewish Education in the United States, 110, 232.

58. Rachel Kranson, "Grappling with the Good Life: Jewish Anxieties over Affluence in Postwar America, 1945–1976" (PhD diss, New York University, 2012).

59. Eleff, Modern Orthodox Judaism, 196

60. Karen Brodkin, How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998).

61. For a more trenchant critique, see George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006). For a richly illustrative history of Jews and whiteness, see Eric L. Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). See also Matthew Frye Jacobson, Roots Too: White Ethnic Revival in Post-Civil Rights America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008).

62. Milton Himmelfarb, "Church and State: How High a Wall." Commentary, July 1966, 25.

63. Simon Greenberg, "Basic Premise," in Tradition and Change: The Development of Conservative Judaism, ed. Mordecai Waxman (New York: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, 1958), 421.

64. Simon Greenberg, "The Conservative Movement and the Jewish Day School," The Synagogue School (Fall 1965): 2–11, 7.

65. Lloyd P. Gartner, ed., Jewish Education in the United States: A Documentary History (New York: Teachers College Press, 1969), 29.

66. Leon H. Spotts, "Jewish Education and the Public Schools–The Debt and the Danger," Jewish Education 37, no. 3 (1967): 132.

67. Spotts, "Jewish Education and the Public Schools–The Debt and the Danger," 31.

68. Himmelfarb, "Reflections on the Jewish Day School," 33.

69. Himmelfarb, "Reflections on the Jewish Day School," 30.

70. Schiff, The Jewish Day School in America, 72.

71. Walter Ackerman "Jewish Education, For What?" American Jewish Year Book 70 (1969): 6.

72. Irving Spiegel, "Day Schools Deplored by Head Of American Jewish Congress," New York Times, March 26 1973.

73. Thomas Vitullo-Martin, "New York City's Interest in Reform of Tax Treatment of School Expenses: Rethinking the Middle Class in the City," City Almanac 13, no. 4 (1978): 1–14.

74. The strike was a result of several Jewish white teachers being fired in Ocean Hill-Brownsville after New York City schools allowed an experiment of local control for three New York City schools, where local administrators were able to make hiring and firing decisions. See Jerald E. Podair, The Strike that Changed New York: Blacks, Whites and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).

75. Stephen Arons, Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling (New York: McGraw Hill, 1986), 79.

76. Vitullo-Martin, "New York City's Interest in Reform of Tax Treatment of School Expenses," 12.

77. "Resolutions," Jewish Education 39, no. 4 (1969): 56. These resolutions were adopted at the 43rd Annual Conference of the National Council for Jewish Education on June 1, 1969.

78. Quoted in Fred Ferretti, "Jewish Day Schools Becoming Important Factor in U.S.: Sponsors Call Them Good Alternative to Public Education: Both Religious and Secular Subjects Are Studied," New York Times, May 9, 1971.

79. Quoted in Ferretti, "Jewish Day Schools Becoming Important Factor in U.S."

80. Jack Spiro, "Jewish Education–Today and Tomorrow," CCAR Yearbook 78 (1968).

81. Pesach Schindler, Solomon Schechter Day School Manual (New York: United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Education, 1970) 10–11.

82. Schindler, Solomon Schechter Day School Manual, 7.

83. Quoted in Marianne R. Sanua, Let Us Prove Strong: The American Jewish Committee, 1945–2006. (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2007), 294.

84. "Minutes of the UAHC Commission on Jewish Education. 1958–1969," quoted in Syme, "Reform Judaism and Day Schools: The Great Historical Dilemma," 175.

85. Quoted in Syme, "Reform Judaism and Day Schools: The Great Historical Dilemma," 175.

86. Ibid.

87. According to Daniel Syme, the resolution failed for two reasons: a fear that day schools would push the Reform Movement to become "too traditional," and a concern that it "might compromise the public school. Syme, "Reform Judaism and Day Schools: The Great Historical Dilemma," 176.

88. Marshall Sklare, America's Jews (New York: Random House, 1971), 171

89. Sklare, America's Jews, 172.

90. Paul Weinberger, "Review of the Year (1971) in the United States: The Effects of Jewish Education," American Jewish Year Book 72 (1971): 231.

91. The gathering, held at Grossinger's resort in the Catskills, included the Educators Assembly, the Educators Council of America, the National Association of Temple Educators, and the National Council for Jewish Education. Charles Zibbell, "Federations, Synagogues and Jewish Education in the '70s," Jewish Education 43, no. 3 (1974): 40.

92. Zibbell, "Federations, Synagogues and Jewish Education in the '70s," 41.

93. Ibid.

94. See Walter I. Ackerman, "Strangers to the Tradition: Idea and Constraint in American Jewish Education," in Jewish Education Worldwide: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, eds. Harold S. Himmelfarb and Sergio Della Pergola (New York: University Press, 1989), 71–116.

95. Leonard Buder, "Jews Join in Plea to Aid Day Schools," New York Times, November 6, 1971, 34.

96. Leonard Buder, "Schooling Stress Put on Religion," New York Times, February 13, 1972, 88.

97. Marvin Schick, A Census of Jewish Day Schools in the United States–2013–14 (New York: Avi Chai Foundation, 2014), 6. We counted schools identified as "Immigrant/Outreach" in our calculations.

98. Isa Aron, Michael Zeldin, and Sara Lee, "Contemporary Jewish Education," in The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, ed. Dana Evan Kaplan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 157.

99. Geoffrey E. Bock, "Does Jewish Schooling Matter?" (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1977). See also Harold S. Himmelfarb, "The Non-Linear Impact of Schooling: Comparing Different Types and Amounts of Jewish Education," Sociology of Education 50, no. 2 (1977): 114–132.

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