Alper, Michael

views updated


ALPER, MICHAEL (1902–1955), U.S. rabbi and educator. Alper was born and educated in New York City, receiving his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Columbia University as well as rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Institute of Religion. Early in his university career, Alper became the director of Jewish Education for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. His tenure in this position coincided with a period of rapid growth and modernization in Jewish education in America. Advances in the field of general education were applied to Jewish schools and adult classes. Alper was a leading participant in this process of professionalization, writing textbooks and articles on educational topics, overseeing the publications of the American Association for Jewish Education and the Jewish Education Committee, and editing the journals Jewish Education and Adult Jewish Leadership. For the last nine years of his life, Alper taught at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, specializing in the training of teachers of religion. He was also involved in the nascent Reconstructionist movement, editing the Reconstructionist magazine for 15 years. Alper wrote The Bible Retold (1930), Outline in Jewish Education (1950), and Reconstructionism and Jewish Education (1954).


American Jewish Year Book, 57 (1956); New York Times (Jan. 31, 1955); Who's Who in American Jewry (1938–39).

[Adam Mendelsohn (2nd ed.)]