Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Heder: header, Cheder
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
And Heder who was first discovered in the brilliant Napoleon Dynamite, fits into Jimmy's unforgiving costumes with expertise.
UNITED SKATES: No comedy stone left unturned; DOUBLING UP: Ferrell and Heder
To give the toothy Heder a moremacho image, they give him a feeble romantic sub-plot .
WAITING: Jenna Fischer; GO FIGURE: The best of enemies Jon Heder, left, and Will Ferrell are forced into an unlikely partnership after being banned from all skating competitions
Ferrell is perfect as the swaggering, chunky sex-addict macho skater, while Jon Heder (of Napoleon Dynamite fame) initially comes over as camp as a row of tents before ending up as the one romancing the beautiful but oh-so innocent Katie (Fischer).
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.
PAINT BALL WIZARDS: Scoudrels get a grounding in warfare; LIFE LESSONS: Billy Bob Thornton on how to get ahead and inset Jon Heder
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.
Ferrell sullied the good work he did in Elf and Anchorman with the manifestly unamusing Kicking & Screaming, while Heder's been even worse with flops like School For Scoundrels and The Benchwarmers.
Heder told Frieda he should not be out of his seat but the hairdresser raised his hands to the steward's face and went inside the cubicle.
The DVD also boasts an hilarious, off-key commentary with Hess and Heder, along with some stills from the film.