Re: This week's Yizkor Book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #ukraine #yizkorbooks

David Harrison

This delightful story is written as if the Cheder died in Eastern Europe and is an outmoded word.  Certainly within the congregation to which I belong Cheder is the word which we use for our Religion School.  We have different classes for children of different ages and at present run it at the time of the Sabbath morning service,  before 50 to 15 years ago it used to be on Sundays.  My understanding of the Yizkor Book is that the writer thinks of it as an outmoded word.  What is the normal title in the USA for the religion school within a congregation? Adult study is different.
David Harrison
Birmingham, England

From: main@... <main@...> on behalf of Bruce Drake <Bdrake100@...>
Sent: 18 June 2021 15:17
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Subject: [] This week's Yizkor Book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks #ukraine
The cheder (or heder) was an institution of Jewish shtetls that you come across in just about every Yizkor book. Jewish children started learning the Hebrew alphabet at the age of three and then went on to the cheder where they would study the Torah and the Five Books of Moses.
The cheder experience could be inspirational and an indispensable part of Jewish education, not to mention where boys met, interacted, and made friends. But it could also be a terrifying and less-than-optimum learning experience. Much of that depended on the melamed, or instructor, who could be learned and skilled — or an ill-trained teacher who might also be eking out a living as a butcher or gravedigger.
In “My Educators” from the Yizkor book of Mikulince, Ukraine, Haim Preshel’s experience had a shaky start. How could he think otherwise when he heard his teacher mutter under his mustache that he had a “goyisher kop” (a Gentile's head). He would wonder as his lessons went on, why the teacher kept him in the cheder, and while he speculated on the Rebbe’s reason, he also thought, as he kept at his lessons, that “Perhaps I myself changed as I grew, and my head ‘opened’ suddenly.” As he later remembered his days in school, he wrote “Rebbe Yitzhak Moshe, what I have written here was written in your honor.”
There is some wonderful dialogue in the chapter.

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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