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Ray Frank on Giving in a Voluntary and Sincere Way - Lesson Plan for Adult Women

This lesson is perfect for a d’var torah before a board meeting or a short learning session for women volunteers. This lesson plan is part of a larger Go & Learn guide entitled “Ray Frank’s Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890.”

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Advance Preparation

Collect stories of inspiring Jewish women to post around the room, on tables or walls. In addition to using Hadassah calendars and local news articles, you can also search the following resources on JWA’s website:

For an alternative to this part of the activity, read “The Women Who Inspired Us”

Giving in a “Voluntary and Sincere” Way

Read Ray Frank’s biography or describe her life and achievements.

Read her sermon and then return to the following quotation:

Whatever you do for religion, or whatever you give, must be voluntary and sincere.

Discuss:

  • This line could be a motto for many of our committed Jewish volunteers. How did Ray Frank model this position in her life and achievements?
  • What happens when religious observance or other acts on behalf of religion are not voluntary or sincere?
  • Traditional Jewish Text Study

    Read and discuss the following Talmudic text (from Kiddushin 31a). You can read the Hebrew text online at Sefaria.org.

    Rabbi Chanina said: the merit of someone who is commanded to perform a mitzvah [commandment] and does so is greater than that of someone who is not commanded to perform a mitzvah and does so.

    Discuss:

    • This much-discussed opinion holds that doing a mitzvah out of obligation is more worthy than doing one without any obligation. Do you agree that this can be true?
    • Do you see your community work as something you are obligated to do, or something you choose to do? Why? Which do you find more meaningful?
    • Do you think Ray Frank would agree or disagree with Rabbi Chanina’s statement? (Can both of their statements be true?)

    Ask the women to walk around the room and look at the articles about other inspirational Jewish women. Then discuss:

    • What strikes you about these women’s lives and work?
    • Can you tell whether their work is/was motivated from a sense of obligation/commandedness?
    • Did they act in a “voluntary and sincere” way?

    The Women Who Inspire Us

    Ask the women to think of other women who inspired them, who have acted in the name of, or on behalf of, their religion, and discuss:

    • What strikes you about these women’s lives and work?
    • Can you tell whether their work is/was motivated from a sense of obligation/commandedness?
    • Did they act in a “voluntary and sincere” way?

    This can be done instead of or in addition to looking at the postings of inspirational Jewish women.

    Conclusion

    Ask participants to discuss how the texts by Ray Frank and Rabbi Chanina influence how they see their volunteer work or the work of other volunteers.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ray Frank on Giving in a Voluntary and Sincere Way - Lesson Plan for Adult Women ." (Viewed on July 28, 2014) <http://jwa.org/teach/golearn/sep05/adultwomen>.

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