Teaching about Jewish holidays while we sit in classrooms with our students can make them seem abstract and irrelevant. This is especially true when our students' families may or may not observe each holiday. Mitzvot (literally 'commandments' but also used to mean Jewish good deeds) and middot (values) are woven into the fabric of each holiday and into all aspects of Jewish living. When we anchor holiday lessons in middot and mitzvot, we open a new entry point for our students' Jewish experiences and identity. Uncovering the meaningful aspects of the holidays make them more compelling and relevant. This may also have an impact on how their families celebrate throughout the year.
This pluralistic exploration of middot and mitzvot will teach us where and how they are embedded in specific holidays. Together, we will explore how designing holiday lessons with Jewish values at the forefront can spark more creative and engaging ways to approach the task of teaching each holiday. You will design holiday lessons that are fresh and dynamic, allowing your students to form deeper connections to both Jewish holidays and Jewish values.
We will focus on the fall holidays, but the framework will be applicable year-round. The content is appropriate for all teachers.