Guide to the Records of Bureau of Jewish Education (Boston, MA), undated, 1926-1992 (bulk 1926-1938, 1967-1968)
 
*I-120

Reprocessed by Stephanie Call

American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 226-1245

Email: reference@ajhsboston.org

URL: http://www.ajhsboston.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Stephanie Call as MS Word document, August 2010. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on April 15, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bureau of Jewish Education (Boston, MA)
Title: Bureau of Jewish Education (Boston, MA)
Dates:undated, 1926-1992 (bulk 1926-1938, 1967-1968)
Abstract: The Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) in Boston, Massachusetts, was founded in 1920 when the Associated Boston Hebrew Schools and Bureau of Jewish Religious Schools merged under the leadership of Louis Hurwich. While not the first centralized Jewish education organization in the country, the BJE was the first to receive support from its local Federation. From 1920 to 2009, the BJE provided consultation, evaluation and teacher training services using a variety of methods and tools. It worked closely with Jewish day schools, synagogue schools and non-traditional Jewish community programs to ensure professional standards and guidelines were implemented. This collection contains meeting minutes, Jewish school directories, publications, reports, glass plate negatives and financial ledgers. For more detailed records, please also see the Bureau of Jewish Education - Boston, Massachusetts, #I-497.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 13.25 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes, 6 oversized boxes, 1 glass plate negative box)
Identification: I-120
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located at AJHS, Boston, MA.
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Historical Note

Bureau of Jewish Education- Boston, Massachusetts

(A larger collection of records from the Bureau of Jewish Education (I-497) is also available.)

In 1916, Morris Waldman, superintendent of the Boston Federated Jewish Charities (now the Combined Jewish Philanthropies) determined that there was a need for Federation support for Jewish education in the community. In May 1917, the Federation invited Louis Hurwich, an educator from Indianapolis, to conduct a survey of Jewish schools in Boston. Hurwich's study identified 1,529 students enrolled in Talmudi Torah (Hebrew) Schools, while another 1,800 were enrolled in Sunday (Reform) Schools. The study recommended several action steps to alleviate burdens on the schools, in particular the Hebrew Schools, which suffered from poor facilities, unqualified teachers, and a lack of funding. Based on Hurwich's report, in 1918 the Federation granted $20,000 to the Hebrew Schools and $10,000 to the Sunday Schools, a move that was virtually unprecedented. In October 1917, Hurwich organized the twelve Hebrew Schools in Boston under the Associated Boston Hebrew Schools. In return, the schools elected Hurwich as their first superintendent. In tandem with the Associated Boston Hebrew Schools, the Hebrew Teachers Training School was established in April 1918 and focused on training qualified Hebrew teachers for Jewish schools.

Meanwhile, the thirteen Sunday schools also organized under the Bureau of Jewish Religious Schools with Rabbi Hyman Solomon as superintendent and Rabbi H.H. Rubenovitz as its first president. In 1919, the organization also established its own training program for Sunday school teachers, which was conducted in English. When Rabbi Solomon decided to return to the rabbinate in 1920, the two organizations merged to form the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE). Although the BJE was not the first centralized Jewish education organization in the country, it was the first to receive support from its local Federation.

The goals of the BJE, as found in the original constitution, were "to promote Jewish Education in the city of Boston and its vicinity; to render financial and moral aid to affiliated schools; standardize, co-ordinate and supervise such affiliated schools; maintain a Jewish Teacher-Training School; increase the Jewish Educational resources of the community; make scientific studies of the problem of Jewish education in all its communal phases." Under its management were 24 Hebrew Schools, 13 Sunday Schools, and two teacher training programs. A year later, Hurwich reorganized the Hebrew Teacher Training Program into Hebrew Teachers College, helmed by Dr. Nissan Touroff as Dean.

Prior to Hurwich's arrival in Boston and the Federation's support of Jewish education, Hebrew teachers had established their own association -- the Hebrew Teachers Association -- in 1912. Its creation was followed ten years later by the Principals Association (est. 1922). These associations and Hebrew Teachers College played vital roles in ensuring BJE's success in the community. In 1923, with assistance from this partnership, the BJE was able to create and implement a standardized, five day a week Hebrew language curriculum for schools. Hurwich was a proponent of Ivrit B'Ivrit, which promoted Hebrew fluency and comprehension in Jewish school curriculum. The BJE only hired teachers and principals from the Hebrew Teachers Association and Principals Association, which were responsible for setting professional standards. For its part, the BJE set salary scales that were standardized throughout the Jewish schools in Boston.

Also in 1923, Dr. Touroff established the high school program, Prozdor, at Hebrew Teachers College. In 1929, the BJE introduced standardized achievement tests in the Hebrew Schools for grades two through five. A lot depended on the students' tests results. Admission to Prozdor was granted only to students with the highest test scores, and those students' teachers were rewarded with promotions and salary increases. Prozdor remained exclusive through the 1950s, as interested students had to graduate from a five day a week school in order to be eligible. Students from a three day a week school were required to take extra coursework prior to consideration.

Hurwich retired from the BJE in 1947, and was succeeded by Dr. Benjamin J. Shevach, who shared Hurwich's philosophy on Jewish education. Hurwich's retirement from the BJE also coincided with his retirement from Hebrew Teachers College, of which he was Dean since 1932. This event provided an opportunity for Hebrew Teachers College to separate from the BJE, although both organizations were still entirely funded by the Federation. However, the College remained an integral part of the Jewish education system in Boston, sustaining Prozdor and training future teachers.

Dr. Shevach strengthened cooperation between the United Hebrew Schools (UHS), an organization founded in 1945 with lay leadership to promote intensive Jewish education; the Hebrew Teachers and Principals Association (the two separate entities merged in 1948 to form one organization); and the BJE. The UHS worked closely with the BJE to ensure the Jewish education curriculum in the city of Boston was similar to the curriculum taught in the suburbs. The organization also developed a Code of Practice to help govern professional qualifications for teachers and principals, as well as developed standards of achievement and personnel relations.

As with other Jewish institutions, BJE was affected by the demographic shift to the suburbs and had to adjust accordingly. Suburban Jewish families favored three day a week schools and, with the opening of new synagogues, moved towards synagogue affiliated schools. At least half of the children enrolled in Jewish education programs were in Sunday Schools. Although there were more schools opening than closing (19 closed during this period) 30 of the 34 new schools were affiliated with synagogues. The BJE adapted to these changes by standardizing a three day a week curriculum in 1950 and adding 21 suburban towns to its service list in 1954. By the 1960s, urban Jewish schools were on the decline, with nine schools closing and day schools like Maimonides and Solomon Schechter moving to, or opening in, the suburbs.

Chronology

1912Hebrew Teachers Association is founded.
1916Morris Waldman of Boston Federated Charities determines a need for Federation support of Jewish education.
May 1917Louis Hurwich arrives in Boston to conduct a survey of Jewish schools.
October 1917Under the guidance of Louis Hurwich, Hebrew schools in Boston organize under the Associated Boston Hebrew Schools.
1918The Federation awards $20,000 to Boston's Hebrew Schools and $10,000 to the Sunday Schools.
April 1918Hebrew Teachers Training School is established.
circa 1919Sunday schools organize under the Bureau of Jewish Religious Schools.
Training program for Sunday School teachers is established.
1920Bureau of Jewish Education is established from the merging of Associated Boston Hebrew Schools and Bureau of Jewish Religious Schools.
Hurwich is named Executive Director.
1921Hebrew Teachers College is founded by Hurwich, reorganized from the Hebrew Teachers Training School. Dr. Nissan Touroff is named Dean.
1922Principals Association is founded.
1923BJE creates and implements a standardized, five day a week curriculum.
Dr. Touroff establishes Prozdor, a high school program at Hebrew Teachers College.
1929BJE introduces standardized achievement tests.
1932Hurwich named Dean of Hebrew Teachers College.
1945United Hebrew Schools is founded.
1947Hurwich retires from the BJE and Hebrew Teachers College.
Hebrew Teachers College separates from the BJE.
Dr. Benjamin J. Shevach is named Executive Director of BJE.
Both organizations are funded solely through the auspices of the Federation.
1948Hebrew Teachers Association and Principals Association merge into Hebrew Teachers and Principals Association.
1950sBoston Jews begin to move out to the suburbs.
1950BJE standardizes a three day a week curriculum.
195421 suburban towns are added to the BJE service list.
1960sReform synagogues begin to adapt more traditional practices.
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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains meeting minutes, the BJE constitution, directories of Jewish schools in Boston, publications, reports, and financial ledgers. Also included are additional records from the Hebrew Teachers and Principals Association and the United Hebrew Schools of Boston. Publications include those about the Bureau and general Jewish education. This collection also contains glass plate negatives with images of Hebrew schools in the Boston area. These are fragile and must be handled with care.

For more on the Bureau of Jewish Education in Boston, please see collection I-497.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged into nine series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
email: reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

Boston Jewish Community Relations Council, I-123
Boston Workmen's Circle - Brookline, MA, I-494
Combined Jewish Philanthropies, I-220
Bureau of Jewish Education, I-497
Subject Files of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Bureau of Jewish Education (Boston, MA); I-120; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the American Jewish Historical Society by the Bureau of Jewish Education in 1976, with additional material donated at an unknown date.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

 

Series I: Board of Directors, 1953, 1967-1968

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 1.
Scope and Content:

This series contains one folder with the minutes of the April 27, 1953 Board of Directors meeting and the list of Board members active during the 1967-1968 school year. Board members included Louis Hurwich, former director of the Bureau of Jewish Education, Judge Lewis Goldberg, Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn (Temple Israel), Philip W. Lown (Hebrew Teacher's College), Rabbi Manuel Saltzman (Congregation Kehillath Israel), and Lewis Weinstein, among others.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Meeting Minutes and Membership Lists 1953, 1967-1968
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Series II: Constitution, undated

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 2.
Scope and Content:

This series contains one folder with a copy of the Bureau of Jewish Education's constitution.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 2 Constitution undated
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Series III: Directories, 1957-1973

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 3.
Scope and Content:

This series contains one folder of directories for the Jewish Schools of Metropolitan Boston. Directories typically include an alphabetical listing of schools by town, with contact names and information. Included in the 1964-1965 directory were minutes for the Board of Delegates meeting on January 7, 1965 and enrollment statistics.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 3 Jewish Schools of Metropolitan Boston 1957-1973
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Series IV: Finance, 1926-1938, 1950-1952

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folders 4-8; Box 2; Oversized Boxes 3-8.
Scope and Content:

This series primarily consists of ledger books and pages from ledgers. Minutes of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies Budget Committee meeting from June 12, 1950, and a copy of the "Memorandum on Community Responsibility for Jewish Education" are also included. Typed financial statements recording monies deposited from the Associated Jewish Philanthropies are also in this series.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 4 Budget Committee/Meeting Minutes and Memorandum 1950
1 5 General Information 1950-1952
1 6-8 Ledgers 1926-1938
BoxFolderTitleDate
2 Ledgers 1930-1944
BoxFolderTitleDate
3OS 1 Hebrew School Budget Study 1948-1949
3OS 2 Financial Records 1926-1928
3OS 3-6 Ledgers 1926-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
4OS 1-5 Ledgers 1927-1930, 1951-1958
BoxFolderTitleDate
5OS 1-5 Ledgers 1921-1923, 1944-1960
BoxFolderTitleDate
6OS Ledgers 1921-1926
BoxFolderTitleDate
7OS Ledgers 1920-1921, 1926-1939
BoxFolderTitleDate
8OS Ledgers 1926-1947
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Series V: Functions and Activities, 1967-1968

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 9.
Scope and Content:

This series contains one folder with the report, "Functions and Activities," detailing the work done on behalf of the Bureau of Jewish Education.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 9 General 1967-1968
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Series VI: Hebrew Teachers and Principals Association/United Hebrew Schools of Metropolitan Boston, 1966-1968

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 10.
Scope and Content:

This series contains the Code of Practice for the United Hebrew Schools of Metropolitan Boston, and salaries, regulations and reports from the Joint Code Committee.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 10 Joint Code Committee Materials 1966-1968
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Series VII: Publications, 1983-1992

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folders 11-13.
Scope and Content:

This series includes a variety of publications, such as "Ideas on Jewish Education," "The Power to Lead," catalogs and brochures for programs sponsored through the Bureau, teaching guides, newsletters, curriculums, and music scores.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 11-13 General 1983-1992
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Series VIII: Studies and Activities, 1948-1968

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 14.
Scope and Content:

This series contains one folder with a blank progress report, and summary sheets of annual achievement test data and workshops data.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 14 Miscellaneous Materials 1948-1968
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Series IX: Glass Plate Negatives, undated, 1919

Box 9.
Scope and Content:

There are 54 glass plate negatives in this series, and most of them contain an image of a Hebrew school in the greater Boston area, including Ohabei Shalom, Kadimah Hebrew School, Hebrew Educational Alliance, and Adath Jeshurun. A complete listing is in the box list. Please be aware that glass plate negatives are fragile and must be handled with care.

BoxFolderTitleDate
9 1-2 Adath Jeshurun, Blue Hill Avenue, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 3 Ahavath Zion Hebrew School, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 4-8 Beth El Hebrew School, Dorchester, Massachusetts undated
9 9-14 Dorchester-Mattapan Hebrew School undated
9 15-16 Evrio Hebrew School, West End, Boston, Massachusetts undated
9 17-18 General Summer Outing, A.B.H.S., 1919 (2) undated
9 19 Grace Aguilar Religious School, West End, Boston, Massachusetts undated
9 20-21 Hadrath Israel (Mattapan Religious School), Woodrow Avenue, Dorchester, Massachusetts undated
9 22-23 Hashachar, Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester, Massachusetts undated
9 24-27 Hebrew Educational Alliance, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 28 Hebrew Kindergarten 1919
9 29-31 Hebrew Teacher's Training School, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 32 Hecht House, Dorchester, Massachusetts undated
9 33 Herbert Samuel Religious School, West End, Boston, Massachusetts (West End Young Men's Hebrew Association) undated
9 34-36 Mishkan Tefila Hebrew School, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 37-38 Jehudah Halevi Religious School, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 39-41 Kadimah Hebrew School, Dorchester, Massachusetts undated
9 42 Kindergarten Class Playing Hebrew Games undated
9 43 Menorah Institute, 24 Elm Hill Avenue, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 44 Metal Tubs undated
9 45-46 Ohabei Shalom, Brookline, Massachusetts undated
9 47 "Show Him Your Loyalty…" (Color) undated
9 48 South End Hebrew Free School, 8 Lovering Street, Boston, Massachusetts undated
9 49 Tel Oviv Hebrew School, 65 Wayland Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 50-51 Temple Israel, Boston, Massachusetts undated
9 52 Unidentified Assembly Hall undated
9 53 Yavneh Hebrew School, 99 Crawford Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts undated
9 54 Yeshivah, 87 Poplar Street, West End, Boston, Massachusetts undated
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