Jewish Education Scene In Los Angeles

Although the Israelis and the Jewish people have essentially been a migratory race, education has played an important role in their contribution to the world. Prior to the World Wars, some of the foremost intellectuals and academicians in Europe were the Israelis and Jews.

Israeli scientists were much respected and sought after for their knowledge and acumen. In fact, it was these Israelis who gave academia in Europe global currency. The Israelis and the Jewish people had a fine education system, which sought out, honed and produced brilliant minds. The present day Israeli and Jewish populations the world over, continue to shine in this field.

As the home of nearly half a million people of Jewish origin, Los Angeles, California has a number of Jewish and Israeli educational institutions. While there are numerous kindergartens, elementary schools, secondary schools and even continuing education schools in LA; California is also home to some exclusive Jewish colleges and universities.

Of these, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, California is probably the most famous. The history of this unique institution is well documented.

After World War II ended, the Southern area of California became the adopted home of a number of Jewish and Israeli people. In order to meet the needs of this large community, the Hebrew Union College established a part-time College of Jewish studies in 1947. This college was meant to provide the Jewish and Israeli people with access to not only adult education, but also teacher training. As the needs of the Jewish and Israeli community expanded, the Hebrew Union College set up even more schools and programs to cater to them.

In the year 1970, some land was procured adjacent to the existing University of Southern California and the College finally had a permanent center for Israeli higher and Jewish religious education.

Not only does the Hebrew Union College have the best Rabbinical program in California, its Rhea Hirsch School of Education in Los Angeles is considered one of the finest in the Los Angeles area of California. Additionally, California is also home to other Jewish educational institutions like the School of Jewish Communal Service, the Los Angeles Magnin School of Graduate Studies and the Louchheim School of Judaic studies.

One of the renowned educators of the Southern California region was Samuel Dinin, who passed away recently at the age of 103. Dinin has been publicly lauded and recognized as an individual who did more to shape Jewish education in the Los Angeles and California regions than anyone else.

He was associated with leading educational institution in the California region like the University of Judaism and the Los Angeles Hebrew High School. He was also instrumental in launching and sustaining the California based Bureau of Education of Greater Los Angeles in his early years in Los Angeles and was its first full-time director. In addition, he was a respected authority on Jewish education and a long time editor of “Jewish Education”.

It was the contribution of people like him that has made the region a hot bed of Jewish academics and learning.