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a Jewish elementary school in which boys were taught the basic precepts of Judaism. The traditional heder, which was established in the Middle Ages, survived until recent times essentially unchanged, serving as a means to disseminate religious fanaticism and national separatism. Judaism obliged all men of the Jewish community to read the sacred books. Instruction in these writings was provided by the heder, which was maintained by the community or run on a private basis by a melamed, or teacher, who received fees.

In prerevolutionary Russia the heder was usually not a single educational institution, but separate schools representing three levels of instruction. In the first, or lowest, level children were taught the alphabet, learned how to read, and memorized prayers; at the second level they were instructed in the Pentateuch (Torah) and several texts from the other books of the Old Testament and were introduced to the Talmud. Writing was not generally taught.

The overwhelming majority of pupils went no further than the second level; only a handful devoted another two or three years to a more detailed study of the Torah. The full course of study usually lasted ten years. Boys entered the heder before school age. Lessons lasted throughout the day and ended between five and eight o’clock in the evening; classes were not held on Saturdays, holidays, and the days before holidays. Learning was based on rote memorization and the word-for-word recitation of the religious texts in Yiddish, the colloquial language of the Jews; corporal punishment was used.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries unified “reformed” heders were established, which taught general subjects in addition to the basic precepts of Judaism. The new schools admitted girls. Traditional heders still exist in some capitalist countries. The heders in Russia, which were usually located within the Jewish pale of settlement, were abolished after the October Revolution of 1917, when a unified system of elementary education was introduced.


Bramson, L. M. K istorii nachal’nogo obrazovaniia evreev v Rossii. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Spravochnaia kniga po voprosam obrazovaniia evreev. St. Petersburg, 1901.


References in periodicals archive ?
The jokes in this movie are spot-on - naughty but not too smutty - and are deftly delivered by Ferrell and Heder.
To give the toothy Heder a moremacho image, they give him a feeble romantic sub-plot .
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as the all-male ice dancing couple; Black is back.
Heder is huggable and Thornton brings a roguish twinkle to the eye of his suave teacher, but Barrett is a tad insipid.
Blades'' originally paired Heder with Ben Stiller, but scheduling forced Stiller to drop out.
Jared had always wanted to make a feature film, but he wasn't planning on doing it on that,' says Heder who, in the flesh thankfully looks nothing like Napoleon.
Not only does Blades Of Glory neatly tap into our current obsession with shows like Dancing On Ice, it also features one hell of a double act in the shape of Ferrell and Heder, whose oddcouple relationship recalls the joyous camaraderie of, say, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan in Wedding Crashers.
But at least Thornton and Heder get roles they can work with.
Heder plays a loser who, too timid to ask out his neighbour (Jacinda Barrett), signs up for a class promising to turn him into a stud run by the shadowy Dr P (Thornton).
Included in the cast are: BYU students Jon Heder and Aaron Ruell in their feature film debuts, Jon Gries (JACKPOT, THE RUNDOWN), Efren Ramirez (who has appeared in series like "ER" and "Judging Amy" and in the features RACE and MISSING PIECES), Tina Majorino (WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, WATERWORLD), Diedrich Bader (OFFICE SPACE, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES), Haylie Duff (I LOVE YOUR WORK, DREAMS IN THE ATTIC) and Shondrella Avery (of the television series "One on One" and the comedy troupe Girls Behaving Badly).
What happened: Sony Pictures denied film critics any advanced screenings to its movie, "The Benchwarmers," in which Rob Schneider, David Space and Jon Heder play three grown-up nimrods who decide to take on a group of bully Little Leaguers in an act of revenge and to build their own self esteem.