Persistent identifier:
image: of 130
must be raised. It would, unfortunately, be more correct to say, with regard to only too many of them, that education to some useful purpose must be initiated. The majority of the Talmud Tora schools for the reception of the poorest children are, as sources of instruction, worthless and inefficient. The teachers themselves are in most instances ignorant on even the most elementary subjects, hardly pretending, indeed, to teach anything beyond Hebrew; whilst such knowledge of this language as they are able to impart is conveyed in an antiquated, and, for all practical purposes, obsolete form. And yet it is into the hands of representatives of such a system that the " education " of three-fourths of the children of the Jewish community at Constantinople, and generally throughout the East, is confided!
But these Talmud Toras not only fail to impart any useful instruction themselves—their influence combats, and, to a considerable extent, neutralises that of the schools subventioned by the Anglo-Jewish Association and the Alliance Israelite; and, unless checked, will, it is to be feared, prove an insurmountable obstacle to the progress of the Jewish race in the East. It is, in fact, a struggle between enlightenment and darkness; between education and ignorance.
Whilst, however, no less unfavourable a judgment can honestly be pronounced on the Talmud Tora schools, it is, unfortunately, an important factor in the question that one principal cause of the evil arises from the disinclination of the parents themselves, to allow their children to be instructed in anything but in Hebrew. That such a disinclination, in fact, exists, I was able to assure myself, having personally visited some of the parents and discussed the subject with them. I gathered, however, as the result of my interviews, that it only needed the active intervention of a few energetic persons, either acquainted with the language or assisted by an interpreter, to impress upon them with effect the necessity of the children receiving at least the rudiments of a more modern education. The inducement was that by this means their children would acquire practical knowledge enabling them to follow some profitable trade, and thus early to become self-supporting.
Technical education—the practical instruction of the children in trades and industries—is one of the most important features in the schools subsidised by the Anglo-Jewish Association, and the results actually realised have been partially satisfactory and encouraging. My visits to the various schools at Constantinople, to which I shall recur, convinced me of this.
Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Delicious Digg RSS