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Distributed for Brandeis University Press

Raising Secular Jews

Yiddish Schools and Their Periodicals for American Children, 1917–1950

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

Raising Secular Jews

Yiddish Schools and Their Periodicals for American Children, 1917–1950

This unique literary study of Yiddish children’s periodicals casts new light on secular Yiddish schools in America in the first half of the twentieth century. Rejecting the traditional religious education of the Talmud Torahs and congregational schools, these Yiddish schools chose Yiddish itself as the primary conduit of Jewish identity and culture. Four Yiddish school networks emerged, which despite their political and ideological differences were all committed to propagating the Yiddish language, supporting social justice, and preparing their students for participation in both Jewish and American culture. Focusing on the Yiddish children’s periodicals produced by the Labor Zionist Farband, the secular Sholem Aleichem schools, the socialist Workmen’s Circle, and the Ordn schools of the Communist-aligned International Workers Order, Naomi Kadar shows how secular immigrant Jews sought to pass on their identity and values as they prepared their youth to become full-fledged Americans.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations • Foreword by David G. Roskies • Preface • Acknowledgments • The Rise of Secular Yiddish Schools • Children’s Magazines: From Cover to Cover • Farband’s Kindervelt: Living in Two Cultures • The Sholem Aleichem Schools’ Kinder zhurnal: Yiddish for the American Child • The Workmen’s Circle’s Kinder tsaytung: A More Beautiful and Better World • The Ordn Schools’ Yungvarg: A Progressive Jewish Education • Writing the Holocaust for Children • The Child Hero and the Uses of Fantasy • Folklore and Jewish Folk Heroes • Almost at Home in America • Notes • Bibliography • Selected Biographies: Educators, Writers, and Artists in Children’s Yiddish Magazines • Index

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