Kijek, Kamil. “Was It Possible to Avoid ‘Hebrew Assimilation’? Hebraism, Polonization, and Tarbut Schools in the Last Decade of Interwar Poland.” Jewish Social Studies 21.2 (2016): 105-41.
This article examines the problem of the chasm between Zionist ideology, Jewish cultural reality in interwar Poland, and the praxis of Zionist education of this period, manifested in the activities of the Tarbut school network. According to the Zionist idea of monocultural nationalism, the process of acculturation to which interwar Polish Jewry was subjected was conceived as assimilation, which threatened the possibility of the existence of Hebrew culture and Zionist activities in the diaspora. In this article I present reactions to acculturation (or assimilation) through the prism of the polemic of Polish- and Erets Yisrael–based ideologues and educators and through the dissonance between Tarbut educational ideology and praxis, as manifested in the Hebrew educational journal Ofakim, in other publications, and in school programs. I also analyze recollections of Tarbut pupils, their educational experiences, and accounts of how they were perceived in those schools.