Dushkin, Alexander Mordechai

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DUSHKIN, ALEXANDER MORDECHAI (1890–1976), educator. Born in Suwalki, Poland, Dushkin was taken to the United States in 1901. He was associated with J.L. *Magnes' Kehillah experiment in New York City (1910–18) and with its Bureau of Jewish Education under Samson *Benderly, and in 1916 went to Europe as a secretary of the American Jewish Relief Committee. In Palestine in 1919, he was inspector of Jewish schools and taught at David *Yellin's Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem. Returning to the United States, Dushkin was appointed secretary of *Keren Hayesod (1921–22). From 1923 to 1934 he was director of Chicago's Board of Jewish Education and founded that city's College of Jewish Studies (1924). In 1934 he was called by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to organize and conduct its Department of Education (since 1952, the School of Education). He was lecturer in educational methods and administration and also the principal of Bet ha-Kerem High School, Jerusalem (1934–39). Upon his return to the United States he became executive director of the Jewish Education Committee in New York City (1939–49). In 1949 Dushkin was invited by the Hebrew University to establish and direct its undergraduate studies and to teach education and education administration. From 1962, he headed the Department of Jewish Education in the Diaspora in the Hebrew University Institute of Contemporary Jewry. Dushkin wrote the first doctoral dissertation on a Jewish educational theme (Columbia University, 1917), Jewish Education in New York City (1918), and was the editor of the first educational journal in English in the United States, The Jewish Teacher (1916–19); edited and co-edited its successor, Jewish Education (1929–35, 1939–49); was coauthor of Jewish Education in the United States (1959); edited the third volume of the Enẓyklopedyah Ḥinnukhit ("Educational Encyclopedia"); and wrote many monographs and articles. In his educational philosophy Dushkin recognized the validity of pluralism in American Jewish education, but saw its bases in common elements and values. He saw Jewish education in the Diaspora as being one of the main responsibilities of Jewish communal efforts. As a student of Kilpatrick and disciple of the progressivist concepts, he strove to base education on science and experience; he had, however, a positive attitude to Jewish tradition, seeing it as the unique force in the preservation of the Jewish people. Dushkin was awarded an Israel Prize in 1968.


J. Pilch and M. Ben-Horin, Judaism and the Jewish School (1966), 60f.

[Nathan Greenbaum and

Leon H. Spotts]