The Self Study on Jewish Education was a communitywide survey of Jewish educational resources in Pittsburgh. The study made a comprehensive assessment of the funding, facilities, and teacher training at Jewish schools, as well as student and parent attitudes toward Jewish education.
The United Jewish Fund undertook the study in 1950 with the assistance of Dr. Uriah Engelman of the American Association of Jewish Education and David Bonder of the National Jewish Welfare Board as well a local committee including Walter Burke, Maurice Davis, Herman Fineberg, Louis Little, I. R. Raphael, Florence Reizenstein, Adolph Schoenbrun, Jacob Wolk, Jacob Davis, Simon Myers, and Emanuel Spector.
Some of the local Jewish educational organizations participating in the study included Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Beth El Congregation, Congregation Beth Shalom, B’nai Israel Congregation, B’nai Emunoh Congregation, Congregation Poale Zedeck, Rodef Shalom Congregation, Shaare Torah Congregation, Temple Sinai, Tree of Life Congregation, Yeshiva Achei T’mimim, the Hebrew Institute, the Southwestern District of Pennsylvania Jewish Religious Schools Program, Hillel Academy, the Irene Kaufmann Settlement House, the Y.M.&W.H.A., Hadassah, Hapoel Mizrachi, the Pittsburgh Zionist Organization, the Hebrew Teacher Association, the National Council of Jewish Women-Pittsburgh Section, and the Youth Advisory Committee of the United Jewish Fund.
The Self Study on Jewish Education created eight sub-groups charged with analyzing specific aspects of Jewish education: the Committee on Jewish School Population and School Facts, the Committee on School Buildings and Equipment, the Committee on Finances, the Committee on Personnel and Teacher Training, the Committee on Curriculum and Standards of Performance, the Committee on Community Relationships and Responsibilities, the Committee on Adult Education, and the Committee on Parent Attitudes. The sub-groups conducted research through the spring and early summer of 1950, leading to a seven-part report published in the local Jewish press between late September and early November 1950 and a full report presented to the United Jewish Fund in May 1951. The report recommended the creation of a Pittsburgh Board of Jewish Education to improve Jewish education in the Pittsburgh area.
In line with those recommendations, the United Jewish Fund created the Pittsburgh Council on Jewish Education in 1951 under the chairmanship of Judge Benjamin Lencher. Dr. Aharon Kessler was hired as its executive director in November 1951 with offices in the Triangle Building at Smithfield Street and 7th Avenue downtown. The Pittsburgh Council on Jewish Education created the College for Jewish Studies in 1953.