'A tale of two cultures' : a dialogical study of the cultures of a Jewish and a Catholic secondary school
Topics: Main Topic: Education, Jewish Schools, Jewish - Christian Relations, Dialogue, Comparisons with other communities, Ethnography, Interfaith Dialogue
Abstract: Interpreting culture as symbols, stories, rituals and values, the thesis explores the culture of a Jewish and a Catholic secondary school in a dialogical way. The survey of the literature in Chapter 1 identifies relevant school-based research and locates the chosen case-study schools within the context of the British 'dual system'. Chapter 2 draws on the theoretical and methodological literatures of inter-faith dialogue and ethnography to develop and defend a paradigm for the research defined as open-inclusivist and constructivist. The main body of the thesis (Chapters 3-5), based on field-work undertaken in 1996 and 1997, presents the two schools in parallel with each other. Chapter 3 describes the details of the case studies at 'St. Margaret's' and 'Mount Sinai' and my developing research relationship with each school. In Chapter 4 many different voices from each school are woven into two 'tales' about the schools' cultures. This central chapter has a deliberately narrative style. Chapter 5 amplifies the cultural tales through the analysis of broadly quantitative data gained from an extensive questionnaire administered to a sample of senior students in each school. It is the only place in the thesis where views and values from the two schools are directly compared. The final two chapters widen the horizon of the study. Chapter 6 presents voices which were not part of the original case studies but which relate, in different ways, to the culture of the two schools. Chapter 7, with theoretical ideas about Jewish schools and education, and Catholic schools and education, provides resources for further dialogue about culture within Judaism and Catholicism and for Jewish-Christian dialogue. The thesis ends with some reflections on possible implications of the two cultures for discussions about the common good in education.
Bagels, schnitzel and McDonald's—‘fuzzy frontiers’ of Jewish identity in an English Jewish secondary school
Topics: Jewish Schools, Jewish Education, Children, Kashrut, Youth, Jewish Identity, Main Topic: Education
Abstract: Using data gathered during a case study of the ‘culture’ of a Jewish secondary school, this article explores the indeterminate boundaries of Jewish identity. By examining the mechanisms that control what and who comes into the school, and what is approved and disapproved of in the school, a picture emerges of what and who is counted as ‘Jewish’. There is detailed consideration of the admissions policy, the rules about kosher food, the explicitly religious symbols in use, the importance of Israel and the contested issue of McDonald's. Sometimes the boundaries are very clear‐cut, but in some cases there is ambiguity and disagreement that make the frontiers of English Jewish student identity decidedly fuzzy.