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Minimalist Israel in the Mediterranean colours of Thessaloniki Book Fair

20 May 2014 / 19:05:22  GRReporter
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They use as evidence the Jewish example of a discussion between generations, between a parent and son, and a teacher and student. The boys from the Israeli people really are exposed to the written word at a very early age and this practice was not a privilege for its wealthy or privileged members. The ten-year studying of the scriptures was mandatory from the age of three to thirteen, when the boy enters into social and biological adulthood and becomes a member of the community. The duty was imposed on the male offspring and their parents, and the entire process was often managed and funded by the community. The intensive studying began at the earliest possible age (they gave the children sweets, while they were studying the initial aleph-bet-gimel). The authors write, "We do not have any historical evidence for illiterate Jewish communities in antiquity or in the Middle Ages."
Since the dawn of history, Jews have relied on written texts. The means by which the ancient history was handed down to young descendants were books. The great history and the categorical imperatives of Judaism were  handed down from generation to generation on tables, tiles covered with writing, papyruses, parchments, etc. "Make yourself a rabbi," advises Mishna. Rabbis and people involved in teaching are often an object of esteem in the Jewish tradition as written by the authors of "Jews and Words". Famous pairs of rabbis and their students play an important role in the tradition, including Hillel and Yochanan ben Zakai or Akiva and Meir.
Moreover, this is not a closed system of education - students are called upon  to become teachers one day too. The father-son and student-teacher pairs are of a too Freudian construct. Jewish tradition allows questioning of competent persons and encourages students to rebel against their teacher, disagree with him and even to reject him to a certain degree. Fania and Amos Oz comment on this purely Freudian point, which is quite rare for traditional cultures, stating that, to some extent, it is also the key to intellectual progress. "Paradoxical as it may sound, Jewish rabbis have taught the world to innovate and modernity in some sense, they have taught it a lesson about the benefits of confrontational training, of the rebellion of each generation against the previous one and of rethinking the established traditional truths. We assume that Marx, Freud and Einstein would put their signatures under the last three references," writes the Amos-Fania Oz tandem.

Tags: Thessaloniki Book FairHellenic Foundation for CultureModern Israeli literatureZdravka Mihayova
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