Charna, Shalom Yonah

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CHARNA, SHALOM YONAH (1878–1932), educator. Born in Vilna, Charna studied there at the Jewish Teachers Institute. While most of the students and faculty were assimilationists, Charna chose the path of Jewish nationalism and Jewish scholarship. After graduating, he taught Russian language and literature for a short time. Apparently unsatisfied with this work, however, he moved to Berlin to pursue advanced studies. Upon his return to Russia, Charna became a leading figure at the Grodno Teachers Seminary, but with the outbreak of World War i, the school and its faculty moved to Kharkov. There, together with *Kahnshtam, he organized various education courses. In 1920, due to the anti-religious education policy of the *Yevsektiya (the Jewish section of the Communist Party), Charna left Russia for Kaunas (Kovno), where for two years he headed the Hebrew gymnasium and the Hebrew Teachers Seminary. Returning to Vilna in 1922, he was appointed head of the Teachers Institute under the aegis of *Tarbut, the organization for Hebrew culture and education. A prolific writer who wrote in Russian, German, Hebrew, and Yiddish, Charna's major works are a history of Jewish education (Le-Toledot ha-Ḥinnukh be-Yisrael, 3 pts. 1929–32) and a series of monographs on character education.


Enẓiklopedyah Ḥinnukhit, 4 (1964), 590, 691.

[Judah Pilch]