A Nice, Jewish Teacher: How American Elementary Education Became “Women’s Work”

A webinar with Dr. Shira D. Epstein, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education and assistant professor of Jewish education.

Part of our series “Six Days Shall You Labor”: Perspectives on Work in Jewish Text and Tradition

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This session was generously sponsored by Jane and Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein in honour of Dean Shira D. Epstein.

Early 20th century elementary school teaching became synonymous with being female, and particularly in NYC, with being the right kind of Jewish young woman.

In this session, we explore the sociocultural and historical forces that shaped this image of teachers, and how many of the discourses of what makes for an “effective teacher” have endured in Jewish settings.