Individual and Society
11 Unit(s), 45 Resource(s),
Purim: Customs and Values
Unit on values related to Purim and how they relate to the customs of this holiday
Purim: The Story of the Megillah
Unit on the story of Megillat Esther, the different subjects that appear in that story and the values we can learn from it: characters in the megillah and their development, features of the plot, etc.
The Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is read in the synagogue on the holiday of Shavuot. The story told in this book is linked to the holiday of Shavuot in terms of the time of year at which it takes place — the time of the wheat harvest. This is also the time of year at which we celebrate Shavuot. In addition to the timing, the content of this book is also related to the holiday of Shavuot.
The How of Shabbat
In this house the “how of shabbat observance” will be explored in all its complexity and diversity among the Jewish people today.
This unit on Shabbat focuses on the songs and melodies that accompany Shabbat – during rituals and prayers, as well as modern-day songs.
Passover: Slavery and Freedom
This unit examines the theme of freedom on Passover and its implications for our lives even beyond the Passover seder.
Topics in Prayer
There are several aspects of traditional Jewish prayer that relate to the development of prayer as a fixed ritual, and some that are related to prayer as a ritual that takes place with others. This unit deals with the topic of praying in a minyan (a quorum of ten people), prayer formulas and the importance of intention in prayer.
The Exodus from Egypt as a Jewish Calling
This unit explores the centrality of the Exodus from Egypt in Jewish life. It suggests several reasons for its importance, and discusses the moral lessons from it that have guided human behavior throughout history.
Chosen People, Chosen Purpose
This unit explores the concept of chosenness, and what it means when Jewish tradition says the Jewish people are a “Chosen People”.
Saying Sorry and Forgiving
A unit approaching Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur which focuses on saying sorry: the importance of saying sorry, the difficulty in saying sorry, and the command to forgive others.
Characters in Megillat Esther
In Megillat Esther, the plot of the story and the processes that the different characters undergo over the course of the story are both important. We will study the story of Megillat Esther by examining the experiences and characteristics of its main characters.
Vashti and Esther: Women in Action
The actions of Vashti and Esther in Megillat Eshter teach us about feminine activism. We will study the story of these two women from a feminist perspective.
Leadership and Responsibility in Megillat Esther
In Megillat Esther, Esther exhibits strength and leadership, acting out of a sense of responsibility that leads her to act to save her people. In this resource, we’ll learn about leadership and responsibility, inspired by Megillat Esther and by a Jewish figure from the modern era — Hannah Senesh.
Self-Defense and Revenge
The saving of the Jews described in the megillah is described as an event that included the Jews killing those who hated them. We can see this as an example of self-defense or as an example of revenge. We will learn about the different aspects of this event and address situations in our own lives that involve elements of defense and revenge, as well as the relationship between personal ethics and social norms.
Power in Megillat Esther
The story of Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther) presents the various power relations that exist between the different characters. We will learn about the power that each character holds, and the importance of deciding how that power should be used.
Megillat Rut (The book of Ruth) – Being a Jew
Megillat Rut (The Book of Ruth) tells the story of Ruth’s choice to become part of the Jewish people. In this lesson, we will discuss the significance of Judaism for us and the choices we make surrounding this topic.
Kindness (Chessed) in the Book of Ruth
In the Book of Ruth (Megillat Rut), kindness (chessed) is expressed in several different ways. This unit discusses the meaning of kindness, how we can be kind, and the importance of kindness in society.
Contemporary approaches to divine providence and free will
This lesson looks at several contemporary thinkers’ approaches to the issues of divine providence, divine foreknowledge, and human free will.
Human Responsibility and Divine Providence
This lesson explores the tension between the concepts of divine providence and human free will and therefore responsibility to self well-being. If there is divine providence at an individual level, does this mean we can rely on God’s protection if we are worthy or do we still have a responsibility to look after ourselves?
Free Will and do we really have it?
This unit will explore Jewish perspectives on free will in light of the Jewish belief of hashgachah, divine providence. Belief in an all-knowing God that controls the universe complicates a belief in the existence of free will. Yet, free will is a critical component in determining sin or its opposite, the fulfillment of a mitzvah. If there is no free will, how can one be responsible for their actions?
Hashgacha – Divine Providence
This lesson explores the concept of divine providence. Texts will examine the role of God in the world following its creation, exploring themes including what hashgacha is, natural law, relying on divine intervention and does human behaviour matter.
In the Beginning, One Being
In this unit we will look at several sources that explore the uniqueness of the human being and what that means for Judaism’s approach to diversity.
Adam and Eve
In this unit we will look at how the torah provides two accounts of the creation of Adam and Eve and consider approaches to what we can learn about the Torah’s approach to gender from this.
In God’s Image
In this unit we will consider what it means that humans are created ‘in the image of God’, and what that tells us about the Torah’s approach to the nature and purpose of humankind.
Shabbat as a Taster of the World to Come (the afterlife)
In this block we will look at three sources that compare the experience of observing shabbat to the World to Come (the afterlife).
Shabbat and Creation
In this block we will consider the connections between Shabbat and the Creation of the world.
Shabbat is the heart of Jewish life
In this block we will look at the historical, cultural, and sociological impact of shabbat observance on the Jewish people.
Shabbat and the Exodus
In this block we will consider the connections between Shabbat and the Exodus.
Shabbat is being in the present
In this block we will look at several sources who all approach shabbat as a means to pause and take stock, be present in the moment, and focus on ourselves.
The Spirit of Shabbat
In this block we will explore the overall theme of “rest” on shabbat as a way to maintain the spirit of shabbat.
Contemporary Approaches to Shabbat
In this block we will explore contemporary approaches to shabbat observance from various streams of Judaism that differ in some way from Orthodox observance.
“There Is a Certain People” — To Live as a Minority
Life as a minority is challenging in any society. Jews have faced many challenges in the form of anti-semitic worldviews and in light of their unique customs, which make them stand out. In this resource, we will explore different approaches to coping with this challenge.
Zachor – the “dos” of Shabbat
In this resource we will consider the positive aspects of Shabbat observance, including the positive mitzvot involved in an active Shabbat observance.
Shamor – the “do nots” of shabbat
In this block we will consider the classic Biblical and Talmudic sources for the prohibitions involved in shabbat observance.
The Four “Memim”: Purim Customs and Traditions
This resource deals with the four main customs on Purim – mishteh (a feast), mikra megillah (reading Megillat Esther), matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor) and mishloach manot (gifts to friends) – and the values of mutual responsibility reflected in them.
Loyalty to Our Principles
On Chanukah we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks, who tried to force the Jews to refrain from keeping Jewish practices and leave their religion. In the resource, we will learn about the decrees of Antiochus and the Jewish opposition to them, and we will consider what principles are sacred to us and how they can be maintained in the face of external pressure.
On Chanukah, we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees and the miracle of the small jug of oil. In this resource, we’ll discuss what a miracle is and the tension between human actions and relying on miracles from heaven.
Chanukah is a story of an encounter between Hellenist culture and Jewish culture. It represents the traditional worldview of preserving Jewish identity in the face of foreign cultural influences. In this resource, we will address the tension between Jewish culture and local and global culture.
Vehi She’amda – God’s promise to Abraham
This resource discusses God’s promise to Abraham to redeem the Jewish people and to help Jews throughout the generations to cope with difficulties and to maintain their hope and faith.
In Every Generation
In this resource, we’ll explore our obligation — as the descendants of those who were redeemed from slavery — toward those who are oppressed and weak within our own society and around the world.
The Seder Simanim
The Haggadah is divided into a fixed series of distinct sections. To help those holding the Seder to remember the order, “simanim” – signs or mnemonics – were devised to indicate the order of proceedings.
Jewish tradition requires a minimum of a minyan (10 Jews) for certain prayers and ceremonies. In this resource we will learn about the significance of this custom.
The Amidah Prayer (part one)
In this resource, we will learn about the Amidah prayer, including its characteristics and structure and why it is the central prayer in Judaism.
Prayer for the State of Israel
In this resource we will become familiar with the prayer for the State of Israel, which was composed just after the establishment of the State.
Blessing for Peace
The Blessing for peace is about peace between people. In this resource, we will discuss the importance of the value of peace.
The Shabbat Queen
We will read the poem “The Shabbat Queen” by Chaim Nachman Bialik to learn about the main aspects of Shabbat and the ceremonies and customs of the day, in the order of their occurrence from Friday evening through sunset on Saturday.
Oneg Shabbat — Delighting in Shabbat
We will learn about what it means to delight in Shabbat, in light of the traditional commentary on the verse “and you call Shabbat a delight.”
Shabbat – A Palace in Time
Abraham Joshua Heschel compares Shabbat to a “palace in time” – a superior and special place we come to once a week.
Shabbat – An Island in a Tumultuous Ocean
With the help of a text written by Abraham Joshua Heschel, we will touch upon Shabbat’s essence as a moment in time in which we take a break from the hustle and bustle of the week, rest and connect to ourselves and to the sublime.
The First Shabbat
On the seventh day, God rested from the work of Creation.
The seventh day of Creation was designated as a day of rest — Shabbat. From the description of Shabbat in the Creation story, we will learn about how God rested and we will explore how we rest from our weekday routines.
We will learn the Viduy prayer, in which we confess to our sins using the plural – together with Am Yisrael.
The Thinker/ Rodin
Rodin’s famous sculpture depicts a person deep in thought. We connect between the sculpture and the process of cheshbon nefesh.
I Walk Down the Street
Portia Nelson’s poem encourages us to think about the things we do automatically, and which we should change and improve, in order to prevent repeating mistakes.
Can A Thief Change His Ways?
O. Henry’s story teaches that having undergone a process of cheshbon nefesh (soul-searching), regret and teshuva (repentance), even a criminal can become a good person.