[Avodah] Dr. Leo Deutschlander - Father of the Bais Yaakov Movement

Prof. Levine via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Mon Sep 7 12:08:22 PDT 2015

The name of Sarah Schneirer is invariably associated with the Bais 
Yaakov Movement.   However,  she was not the only one who was 
responsible for the success of the movement before WW II.

Sarah Schneirer was an idealist who decided that religious schools 
for girls were needed in Poland and who set out to found such 
schools.  However,  WADR to Sarah Schneirer,  she had a very limited 
academic background and her Jewish education was quite basic. (This 
was the case for most girls who lived when she did.)  Thus others 
were needed to assist her in  the development of the Bais Yaakov 
Movement.  One such person was Dr. Leo Deutschlander.  Up until today 
I knew very little about him.  I did know that there had been an 
article in the Jewish Observer about his life,  but I did not have 
access to it.  Today a friend mine,  who has a complete collection of 
all issues of the JO, brought me a copy of the article about Dr. 
Deutschlander. I have put it at 

Note that other people who helped Sarah Schneirer with the 
development of the Bais Yaakov movement are mentioned and almost all 
of them have a Frankfurt background which means they attended the 
school that RSRH started in Frankfurt that educated both boys and 
girls.  Thus in a certain sense RSRH is to be considered the 
grandfather of the Bais Yaakov Movement.

Judith nee Rosenbaum Grunfeld played a key role in the development 
for the Bais Yaakov movement.  See her article about Sarah Schneirer 
at http://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/bais_yaakov/sara_schenierer.pdf

Anyone really interested in the history of the Bais Yaakov movement 
should read Rabbi Abraham Atkin's PhD thesis which is titled The Beth 
Jacob Movement in Poland 1917-1939.  I have put this document 

Note that the article about Dr. Deutschlander says that he never had 
children.  To the best of my knowledge,  he never married,  yet he 
taught Bais Yaakov girls of seminary age and perhaps even younger, 
something that would be considered scandalous today!

Given that Dr. Deutschlander never married,  I find him being 
characterized by Chaim Shapiro as the "Father of the Bais Yaakov 
Movement"  somewhat amusing. >:-}


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