Most teachers think US Jewry studies important

Survey: 70% - vital to teach religious makeup, nearly 50% - focus on role of Jews in American politics.

pro-israel support US298 (photo credit: AP)
pro-israel support US298
(photo credit: AP)
Most high school teachers feel it is important to teach their students about US Jewry, yet according to a new study by researchers at the Levinsky College of Education in Kiryat Hahinuh, students are generally not taught about the politics and history of the American Jewish community. In a survey of 154 high school teachers in Beersheba, 60 percent of respondents said that the subject was not taught at all in their schools, and 26% "weren't sure." Of the remaining 14%, three-quarters said the topic was dealt with only one to four times in a school year. In contrast, most Israeli teachers felt that US Jewry was an important subject for Israeli high-schoolers to study. Of those surveyed, 70% thought it was important to teach about the religious makeup of US Jews, 60% felt that the history and culture of US Jews was worthy of class time, and nearly 50% thought it was important to study the role of US Jews within American politics. Dr. Sara Shimoni, former head of Levinsky College's research authority, explained that lack of time was the reason the subject didn't get covered, despite teachers' positive attitudes towards incorporating the material into the curriculum. "Just like high schools everywhere, there are many subjects vying for time in the Israeli high school curriculum - not just the usual math, science, and history like schools worldwide, but also Jewish history, English and Hebrew," said Shimoni. In an interview Wednesday with The Jerusalem Post, Shimoni said she believed the clearest conclusion of the study was that high school teachers did think that "US Jewry deserves to be studied in schools... in part because of the influence of US Jews in American and Israeli politics, but also because of the art, literature, music and film that community has produced." Not all teachers thought there should be a heavy US focus in the curriculum, added Shimoni. She said some felt that Israeli history, economics, and politics should come first and foremost.