Waves Sharon Tarbut

  • Issue: June 1994
  • Designer: M. Pereg
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 222
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

The goal of the "Tarbut" schools was to inculcate Hebrew culture into the Jewish people in the Diaspora. The movement arose at the end of World War 1, after the stabilization of the border lines in all of Poland, Lithuania and even in parts of Rumania. The central enterprise was the wide-ranging net of kindergartens and Hebrew schools. Tarbut helped the Jewish children acquire the treasures of the Jewish heritage of all generations as well as the blossoming new culture of Eretz Israel.

Hebrew elementary schools shot up and spread in the large cities and the small towns. The language of instruction in all subjects, except Polish, was Hebrew. The latter fact was a revolution in Jewish education.

The idea of "conquering the school" was conceived by Ahad Haam, the spiritual guide of that generation. He was later joined by M. Ussishkin, Z. Jabotinsky, J. Klausner Zlatopolski, etc. Among the first teachers in Tarbut were Sh.L. Gordon (Shalag) - the well known interpreter of the Bible, ltzhak Alterman (the father of the poet Nathan Alterman), Tsharno, Kahanshtam, Leebosheetsky etc.

Most of the Tarbut elementary schools were founded in Eastern Poland, in the districts of Wilno, Nowogrudek, Polessie, Bialystok, Wolyn and Galicia.

At the same time Hebrew high schools were also established. In 1926-1927 there were 16 Hebrew high schools in Poland. In the early twenties, three Hebrew teachers' seminaries were established in Wilno, Grodno and Lwow respectively. In 1937-1938 there were 42,976 pupils in the Tarbut schools and 1400 teachers in 267 institutions. This number amounted to 42% of the total Jewish pupil population in the non-government schools. The financial burden of maintaining the schools was on the parents' shoulders, practically without any government support. The teachers' salaries were meagre. However, their spiritual satisfaction was enormous.

The Tarbut school was unique in its educational content as well as in the subject matter proper, modern in the spirit of Eretz-lsrael, based on practical work, self-governed (by the pupils) and co-educational.

The emphasis was on developing the child's intellectual, moral and aesthetic potential. The schools also included such subjects as music, drawing, physical training and various crafts.

In the Teachers' Seminaries much attention was paid to the principle of illustration, both in the laboratories and in the nature studies, by way of outings. It was the objective of the seminary to train teachers of high moral values.

The Tarbut schools educated the children in the spirit of humanitarian values which are implanted in Judaism as well as in the teachings of the great humanitarians of international culture at large.

Emphasis was placed on Zionist, constructivist principles by introducing a series of practical precepts, such as collection for the J.N.F which became a highly valuable educational project. Cooperation between the schools and the Zionist Youth Movements brought the children spiritually close to the ideals of building up Eretz Israel. The ideals of labour and the revival of Hebrew were acquired through work and play.

The basic approach was in the spirit of "Train the lad in the way he ought to go" (Proverbs 22.6) and the emphasis in the educational process was directed towards the child's soul, his character training and his senses.

The Tarbut schools also housed 425 Hebrew public libraries, courses in the study of Hebrew for adults, drama circles and other cultural projects such as publication of a magazine for children named "Olamee" and a pedagogical magazine of a very high standard named "Ofakim". The Tarbut school with the support of parents, the Zionists and their youth movements during the period between the World Wars was a stunning achievement in its vitality. It became a sort of minor sanctity, a source of light and warmth where the pride and hope of large parts of Polish Jewry focused and they bore its burden with devotion on their shoulders to the very end. The graduates of these schools held a prominent position in the Halutz Aliyah (in the 30's they represented 60% of the Halutz Aliyah). They held a most unique position in the underground and Uprising during the Holocaust through its leadership and the partisan movement (Abba Kovner, ltzhak Zuckerman, Haika Grossman).

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Tarbut - Hebrew educational and cultural organization