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Go and Learn

Photo by Gordie Earle.

Primary sources bring Jewish voices to life

Go & Learn

Go & Learn features versatile lesson plans for three different audiences—youth, families, and adults—that include background information, primary source documents, discussion questions, and program extensions. Challenge and inspire students to explore identity and action through the stories and experiences of American Jewish women.

Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964

Sing a New Song: Jews, Music, and the Civil Rights Movement

Using the letter of a Jewish civil rights activist and several freedom songs, explore how music is able to cross racial and religious boundaries and build community.

Cookbooks That Tell Stories

Jewish Diversity and Innovation: The View from the Kitchen

Discover how recipes can tell stories about Jewish history and its ever-changing rich cultural diversity.

First Front Cover of "American Jewess," April 1895

The American Jewess on Liberation and Freedom

Investigate what it means for American Jews to celebrate Passover and the Fourth of July in the context of religious and national freedom, by reading an editorial from the April 1897 issue of The American Jewess.

Israeli Five Lira Note circa 1976-1984

Henrietta Szold on Saying Kaddish

In a 1916 letter, Henrietta Szold (the founder of Hadassah) defied Jewish tradition and challenged rituals that exclude women by asserting her right to say Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for mourners).

Self Portrait by Helène Aylon

Wrestling with God and Jewish Tradition

Learn about Jewish immigration and the development of the Jewish community in America through a 1790s letter, originally written in Yiddish by Rebecca Samuel to her parents in Hamburg, Germany, describing her life in Petersburg, Virginia.

Beth Elohim Synagogue, Charleston circa 1812

Writing Home: A Letter from an Early American Jew

Learn about Jewish immigration and the development of the Jewish community in America through a 1790s letter, originally written in Yiddish by Rebecca Samuel to her parents in Hamburg, Germany, describing her life in Petersburg, Virginia.

"The Jewish Woman" Magazine Cover, October 1921

Benevolent Societies and Tzedakah

Examine different ways that American Jewish women historically—and we today—fulfill the obligation of tzedakah (charity) and gemilut chesed (acts of loving kindness).

Ray Frank in San Francisco, circa 1897

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890

Read the 1890 Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit, and consider what unites and divides the Jewish people both historically and today.

Sally Gottesman's Bat Mitzvah Invitation, 1975

Taking Risks, Making Change: Bat Mitzvah and Other Evolving Traditions

The letters from one girl's campaign to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah in her congregation in 1974 serve as a case study for exploring how we confront controversial issues and make change in our communities.

Rose Schneiderman

"We Have Found You Wanting:" Labor Activism and Communal Responsibility

After the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, labor rights activist Rose Schneiderman made a famous speech which provided the basis for investigating our communal and individual responsibilities for the well being of others in our midst.

Zippy Porath and other American students, 1947

A Young American Jew in Israel, 1947-1948

Learn about the founding of the State of Israel from the perspective of Zipporah Porath, a young American woman who joined the Zionist effort in 1947.

Tefillin Barbie

Tefillin Barbie: Considering Gender and Ritual Garb

Using the provocative image of "Tefillin Barbie"—created in 2006 by soferet (ritual scribe) Jen Taylor Friedman—examine the relationship between gender, body image, and ritual garb.

"Burney Relief" or "Queen of the Night"

Lilith Evolved: Writing Midrash

Interrogate the notion of midrash using "The Coming of Lilith" by theologian Judith Plaskow as an example of how contemporary Jewish feminists have created their own midrashim—retellings of biblical stories—to incorporate women's viewpoints into the traditional texts of Judaism.

Henry Street Sidewalks

Immigration and Generations: Anzia Yezierska's Children of Loneliness

Children of Loneliness, a short story by immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska, illustrates how one young woman's struggle to find her own place in American society tears her from her parents and their way of life.

Bella Abzug at a New York Press Conference, 1972

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Discover how two remarkable Jewish women: The biblical figure, Esther, and the historical figure, Bella Abzug, both fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them achieve their goals.

Object #662, "Tzedek Means Justice," from Katrina's Jewish Voices

Hurricane Katrina: Community Responsibility and Tikkun Olam

Explore Hurricane Katrina as an example of how Jews respond to catastrophe. Gail Chalew, a Jewish reporter from New Orleans, tells the story of Haley Fields, a thirteen year old girl from Los Angeles, who came up with her own unique way of helping those in need.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Go & Learn." (Viewed on September 28, 2016) <http://jwa.org/teach/golearn>.

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