This Is the Moment I Trained for in Hebrew School

Resource Kit by
Jessica Kirzane

Module Content



Hebrew School is an iconic institution of American Jewish communal and religious life, representing the desires and struggles of American Jewish communities, especially those affiliated with non-Orthodox movements, to transmit their beliefs, values, knowledge, and culture to the next generation. From its beginnings with the establishment of the Philadelphia Hebrew Sunday School Society in 1838 until the present moment, Jewish supplemental education has revealed much about what Jewish communities value and which elements of Jewish identity they want to transmit.

In Jewish American literature and popular culture, Hebrew School has come to epitomize the upwardly-mobile, suburban Jewish experience, perhaps because, for many non-Orthodox Jews, Hebrew School was their primary childhood encounter with a Jewish institution. Through historical and literary resources, this kit encourages teachers to examine with their students the roots of supplemental Jewish education, how it has changed over time, and its central role in the Jewish American literary imagination.