A case study of the modern orthodox and ultra orthodox sectors of Johannesburg Jewry with special reference to their educational institutions

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The study aims to portray the way of life and culture of the Modern Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox sectors of Johannesburg Jewry. It strives to show how this is translated into educational systems, and examines the attitudes and values of pupils at Johannesburg Jewish religiously orientated schools both towards their own education, as well as towards elements of Jewish and secular culture. An overview of Johannesburg Jewry is presented, and Jewish educational systems in Johannesburg are outlined. Although much of the study is descriptive and ethnographic, the focal point is the statistical analysis and discussion of the responses to a questionnaire which was administered to 159 pupils of four religiously orientated high schools. An overriding conclusion is that the samples exhibit a common pride in their Jewish heritage. The general level of religious practice and belief of the pupils of each school corresponds with that subgroup of Johannesburg Jewry with which the school is aligned. Thus the Ultra Orthodox are more comprehensive in religious practice than the Modern Orthodox. The level of religious practice of the pupils often exceeds that of their parents. This implies that the schools are, in certain cases, operating contra parentem.

Bibliography: pages 346-384.