RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

One of the most famous yeshiva's in Lithuania - the Telzh yeshiva.

The religious education of boys began when they were 3-5 years in a religious primary school - cheder. They studied, first of all by reading the Torah, under the supervision of their teacher - melamed. Girls usually did not attend schools, however, they learnt to read Torah and other religious books in Hebrew or their translations into Yiddish at home. At seven some of the boys would continue their studies in a higher religious school - yeshiva, where they studied mostly Talmud. 

Children with their melamed (teacher) in a cheder. 1924.

The most gifted continued in yeshiva until marriage. Since in the traditional Jewish environment boys married early, most of them carried on with their studies even after wedding. Bride's father would for a few years maintain the young couple. A son-in-law Talmud scholar meant more fame than son-in-law rich man. The heads of yeshivas were scientists-rabbis. Rabbis were also the spiritual leaders of a community, as well as the heads of community's court.

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Jews in Lithuania, Vilnius, 1999-2000