Chomsky, William

views updated


CHOMSKY, WILLIAM (1896–1977), U.S. educator. Born in Russia, Chomsky went in 1913 to the United States, where he studied first in Baltimore while teaching Hebrew in a local Jewish school. From 1922 Chomsky served on the faculty of *Gratz College, in Philadelphia, becoming its chairman in 1949. From 1954, he also lectured at Dropsie College on Hebrew language and literature and Jewish education.

His writings include hundreds of essays in Hebrew and in English that appeared in scholarly journals and in the two U.S. pedagogic magazines, Sheviley Hachinuch and Jewish Education. His articles stress the centrality of classical Hebrew language and literature in the curriculum of the Jewish school. Chomsky claims that without familiarity with Hebrew classics there can be neither vigorous creativity nor intelligence in Jewish life, for in the majority of important writings which the pupils will come to know, more than half of the vocabulary is biblical. His major books are: How to Teach Hebrew… (1946); David Kimḥi's Hebrew Grammar (1952); Hebrew the EternalLanguage (1957); and Teaching and Learning (1953). The last two Chomsky also translated into Hebrew.


Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 772f., s.v.Chomsky, Ze'ev.

[Judah Pilch]