THE EFFECT OF JEWISH RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ON THE MORAL REASONING AND SOCIAL INTEREST OF YESHIVA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

SEYMOUR ISRAEL FRIEDMAN, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of gender, varying types of religious instruction, and religious conservatism on the moral reasoning and social interest of 117 male and female high school seniors.^ Three curricula were compared: (a) "Traditional Orthodox Yeshiva" for boys, in which a major portion of the curriculum is devoted to the intensive study of Talmudic texts, (b) "Traditional Orthodox Yeshiva" for girls, in which the curriculum is evenly divided between religious and secular studies and in which the Talmud is not taught, and (c) "Modern Orthodox Yeshiva," a co-educational program in which the curriculum is evenly divided between religious and secular studies and in which the Talmud is taught but for only one to two periods a day.^ Moral judgment was measured by Rest's Defining Issues Test and social interest was measured by Crandall's Social Interest Scale.^ The results indicated that gender, curriculum, and religious conservatism were not factors in influencing moral reasoning. It is suggested that there are certain common fundamental and overriding principles of Jewish heritage that have a greater effect on moral reasoning than curriculum and individual differences in religiosity.^ Social interest, however, was affected by both gender and curriculum, but was not affected by religious conservatism. It was found that the Traditional Orthodox Yeshiva for boys had significantly higher social interest than their male counterparts attending a Modern Orthodox Yeshiva. It appears that the intensive study of Talmudic texts positively affects the degree of one's social interest. Gender affected social interest when curriculum was held constant, i.e., in the case of the Modern Orthodox Yeshiva females scored significantly higher than their male counterparts. Religious conservatism was not a factor related to social interest in that when female students attending a Modern Orthodox Yeshiva were compared to female students attending a Traditional Orthodox Yeshiva no significant differences were found.^ Moral reasoning was also found to be unrelated to social interest. It was suggested that moral reasoning taps skills in the cognitive domain while social interest is related to attitudes within the affective domain. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

SEYMOUR ISRAEL FRIEDMAN, "THE EFFECT OF JEWISH RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ON THE MORAL REASONING AND SOCIAL INTEREST OF YESHIVA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS" (January 1, 1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8326171.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8326171

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