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Raising Awareness

  1. Pose the following questions to students to stimulate interest in and get a sense of what your students know about the lesson’s content. Some students may know a great deal about the topic and others very little. Give students time to write their answers to the questions, solicit their responses, and put the students’ responses on the board.

    1. What kinds of working conditions might be considered unfair, unjust, or abusive?
    2. What does Jewish tradition teach about why we should we be concerned with those who suffer unfair working conditions?
    3. Do unfair working conditions affect you personally even if you’re not the worker experiencing those conditions? Where do you interact with workers in your daily life?
    4. In what ways do unfair labor practices violate basic human rights and what methods are currently being used to abolish them?
    5. Who are some of the workers who may be most vulnerable to unfair conditions?

    Allow students to share their responses without having judgments made about them, either by the teacher or fellow students. Responses may include such statements as “I don’t care about unfair working conditions” or “I’m not responsible for working to abolish unfair labor practices.” Students are more likely to see a role for themselves in solving these societal problems, or at least to come to appreciate society’s responsibility for fair labor practices, if they are not put on the defensive for making such statements early in the lesson.

  2. Have students read the Lesson 8 introductory essay and/or do an internet search for more information on the topics of domestic work and the activism of Jewish organizations on behalf of domestic workers and on the topic of the living wage. They can start by visiting the websites of Jews For Racial Economic Justice, and looking at A Living Wage Teshuvah by Rabbi Jill Jacobs. Be sure that students gather and understand the following information:

    1. Summary of the problems that domestic workers experience or of the issue of a living wage
    2. Why Jewish organizations are working on these social problems or what Jewish organizations are advised to do regarding paying a living wage
    3. What the organizations are doing to help workers and what adopting Rabbi Jacobs’s recommendations would do for low-paid workers in Jewish organizations

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Raising Awareness." (Viewed on November 26, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/14903>.

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