Consider how Jewish experiences and values – in both conscious and unconscious ways – informed the actions of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, and inform our own allegiances and behaviors.
Assume the roles of Southern Jews participating in a Temple board meeting on whether or not to support Northern Jewish activists staging a protest in town.
Study several traditional Jewish texts and apply the concepts in these texts to the stories and characters in the game. Think about the lessons Judaism teaches about the responsibilities of workers and employers.
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.
Explore and interrogate the identification between Jews and African-Americans against the backdrop of the Passover seder.
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.
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.
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.
Consider what contemporary civil rights and social justice issues matter to us today, and how Jews and African Americans determine their priorities and responsibilities to effect social change.
Use images, artifacts, and audio clips to develop a more nuanced understanding of the March on Washington.
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.
Unpack the roles, motivations, and challenges of Southern and Northern rabbis during the Civil Rights Movement.
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).
One of the most famous stories in Genesis is the Binding of Isaac by his father Abraham (the Akeidah, in Hebrew). Sarah, Isaac’s mother, is noticeably absent from the text. Here we consider Sarah’s perspective, and how this foundational event in the Jewish origin story might have affected her.
Examine different ways that American Jewish women historically—and we today—fulfill the obligation of tzedakah (charity) and gemilut chesed (acts of loving kindness).
Learn how Ruth changed her life by making a series of bold choices, and examine how taking risks, small or large, might lead to positive transformations in your own life.
Learn how Hannah attempted to change her life by calling on God for help, and consider the power of asking for what you need or want in your own life.
Act out, through tableaux vivants, the ways Jews took what they had learned from the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements and used these insights to change the Jewish community.
Examine modern labor justice issues to allow students to consider their own stance on events like the 2013 collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh or the reports of poor working conditions in Chinese factories that produce iPhones and iPads.
Consider Miriam’s experience of exile and investigate the parallels between her story and moments of alienation and isolation in your own life.
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.
Explore the complexities of our own identities, and how these identities shape the way we view and act in the world.
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.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Lesson Plans." (Viewed on June 3, 2020) <https://jwa.org/teach/lessonplans>.