Jewish Social Action Maps

This lesson, which can be adapted for 5th-12th graders, helps students explore discrimination and how Jewish values can help us to pursue social justice. Students pick a Jewish value to help guide them towards an issue of social justice. Students also design a campaign to address a cause that has meaning to them.

June 25, 2019

By Rebecca Weiner

Jewish Social Action Maps

Author: Rebecca Weiner
Content Areas: Activism & Civil Rights, Ally, Bullying or Harassment, Jewish Law, Jewish Values
Grades:  5th —12th grade

Objectives: This lesson helps students explore discrimination and how Jewish values can help us to pursue social justice. Students pick a Jewish value to help guide them towards an issue of social justice. Students design a campaign to address a cause that has meaning to them.

 

Ice Breaker: Sit down, Stand Up

Read off this list of questions and ask students to stand up if this applies to them:

  •          Have you ever been discriminated against because you were different in some way?
  •          Have you ever heard someone make a racist, sexist or homophobic remark?
  •          Have you ever stood up and protested when you heard someone use hate language?
  •          Have you ever been on the receiving end of hate language?
  •          Has anyone ever stood up for you, or someone you know when they were being oppressed in some way?

 

Activity 1: Jewish values and social change.
Have students pick a Jewish value out of a box.

ACTIVISM, SOCIAL  —  TIKUN OLAM
ACTS OF LOVINGKINDNESS  — GEMILUT HASADIM
AIDING THOSE IN DISTRESS  — HAKEM TAKIM IMO
ALL OF ISRAEL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE  ANOTHER   —  KOL YISRAEL AREVIM ZEH BASEH
BEHAVING PROPERLY WITH GOOD MANNERS  —  DEREKH ERETZ
BRINGING PEACE BETWEEN PEOPLE — HA VA’AT SHALOM BEIN ADAM
CHOOSING BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG  — BECHIRAH HOFSHIT
COMMUNITY  —  KEHILLAH
COMPASSION   — RACHAMIM
CRITICIZING CONSTRUCTIVELY  — HOCHEACH TOCHEEACH
DECENT PERSON —  MENSCH
DECENT SPEECH —  LASHON TOV

Each group should present their Jewish value and a cause that is about fighting discrimination in some ways.  You can help the students develop topic areas such as:

  •          Fighting Homophobia
  •          Fighting Racism
  •          Fighting Sexism
  •          Fighting Anti- Semitism

 

Activity 2: Action plans.
Students should develop an action plan to address one of these issues that relate to the Jewish Value.

 

Activity 3: Posters for change.
Each student should be given poster board and art supplies to create a poster that relates to their topic.

Discussion Questions:

  •          Why is it our responsibility as Jews to address oppression when we see it?
  •          What have you learned about creating a strategy for social change?
  •          What are some of the obstacles that you might face in your Tikkun Olam action?
  •          What have you learned from your classmates today?

 


When reproducing this lesson, please give credit to the author and Keshet.

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