Rituals From Afar: Lag BaOmer, Yom Yerushalayaim, Shavuot, Memorial Day

By: Rachel Levitt Klein Dratch
KC Topics: 
Coronavirus, Judaics/ Kodesh

Thurs. May 7, 2020
For more information contact Rachel Dratch at racheld@prizmah.org 


  1. How can we honor these fun moments of celebration and connection while keeping it “fresh” and less “zoom”?
  2. What are the key values and goals we have in each program?
  3. What elements of these programs should be in small groups, in medium groups, in larger groups and maybe open to the larger community?
  4. How can we create feelings of community and connection?
  5. What role, and in what contexts, should learning take place, and how will that relate to other forms of activity and celebration/commemoration?

Ideas from the field:

  1. The School-wide siyyum challenge
    • For younger students- color each parsha and tape together for a sefer Torah
    • Buddy project- older and younger students study Pirkei Avoth together and share their advice 
    • Community wide
  2. The school-wide class KAVOD challenge (Lag BaOmer)
  3. Color war with bingo, talent show, etc. cake decorating, obstacle course
  4. Minute to win it: teachers versus students
  5. Cake war: everyone displays their cake on zoom
  6. The UnSung Hero Awards for Lag BaOmer: students nominate other students or teachers who might feel unseen and make others feel seen. Can even deliver real cakes to them.
  7. Send out info to families about Lag Ba’Omer and invite them to create a presentation with a skit, video, poster, song, etc. The school chooses ten and displays them on a zoom gathering. Ask students to prepare s’mores ingredients using any type of fire they have, some singing, etc. One teacher can have an actual bonfire and students zoom in to hear stories.
  8. I went to Har Sinai and I brought with me… alphabet memory game
  9. Teacher dressed up as MOshe Rabbeinu with the luchot visits the students before the chag to deliver cheese cake
  10. Memory game for Jewish concepts and ideas in the Torah- the class designs and then creates - one for each family and one to donate
  11. Minecraft or Lego challenge: design Yerushalaim’s gates 
  12. Interview soldiers from the 6 day war
  13. Yerushalayim shel zahav lessons
  14. Yerushalayim in tefillah
  15. Give them an image from Jerusalem but something is missing and they have to find what it is.
  16. Connect their longing to return to their normal lives to the Jewish People’s longing for Jerusalem
  17. Song festival: each class performs a song about Yerushalayim with movements. Maybe it can be done through a lip dub. 
  18. Create a newspaper from Har Sinai on the day we received the Torah, complete with interviews, ads and articles
  19. Car parade: everyone is given a midah and decorates their car about that. Swag can be given out too. 
  20. Pre-tikkun leil Shavuot before the holiday begins: learning, cooking demonstration, panel with communal leaders
  21. Partner older and younger students or parent/grandparents and children to learn something together. Ask them to create something from it: a meme, find a famous quote that represents it, etc. 
  22. Create your own bow and arrow and ??? video physical challenges (minute to win it type of games or long ones) or create an obstacle course
  23. Hot seat game and other drama games that get us into the mindset of characters from Jewish History
  24. Choose your own adventure game
  25. Move-a-thon: students choose a type of exercise (running, biking, jumping, pogo sticking), and raise money for an organization based on how long they do that activity.
  26. Compliment picnic lunch: each kid emails in one compliment about someone in their class and one about someone outside. At the picnic, they are all read. This fits the Lag Ba’Omer theme of ואהבת לרעך כמוך. 
  27. Escape room- virtual- OR send the package in the mail with answers online
  28. Comic-Con: Create your own comic books of famous moments in Jewish History- like Ruth- questions about the characters and how they are depicted, bring in artists
  29. For Ruth- discuss conversion and related issues and how amazing converts are
  30. For Memorial Day- we have a lot of ideas for Yom HaZikaron that apply. In addition, considering why this date was chosen and how we show gratitude to those who protect our freedom.
  31. Mad libs online (with an artist in residence?)
  32. Creative scavenger hunts- find something that shows resilience, commitment, hope, or items related to Yerushalayim.
  33. Goosechase is a great app! Can use koshertroops.com to connect with troops and put them onto teams with the students. 
  34. Make a commercial for your mitzvah or holiday
  35. Mitzvah challenge
  36. Virtual Tours
  37. Lessons on Memorials and Statues (The Idea School has an amazing PBL unit on this) Facing HIstory and Ourselves has a nice lesson plan on this
  38. Math lesson connected to counting the omer?
  39. Why do we count UP and not DOWN? Because we build upon each small thing. What are small things that have made up this year?
  40. Master Chef challenge
  41. Give out maps of Jerusalem and challenge the students to find the fastest route from one place to another (like the shuk to the kotel) can be a game like the train board game 
  42. Write a version of Canterbury tales but on alia or oleh regel to yerushalayim, with each student as a character in costume, accent etc. Or have “guests” in character from your school
  43. Send families a discussion guide to help deepen connection to classic Jewish stories and texts
  44. Invite a storyteller to share stories in front of a bonfire
  45. Talent show- with the finalists to have a live show
  46. Pre-tikun leil Shavuot (PREKUN) with coffee, hot chocolate sent in advance and famous people or people with super cool jobs sharing their stories of choosing Judaism.
  47. Recreate places in Jerusalem either online or in your homes- give the students some guidelines and rules and see what happens when they take the class on a tour

Resources for Omer and for Lag BaOmer
Blog Baomer
Olami: from counting to articles, program ideas and more
Inspirational quotes for Lag bamer, from NCSY
On food waste, composting and more, during the Omer
Open siddur project on counting the Omer
The Mussar Institute learning program
Lookstein: https://www.lookstein.org/holiday-resources/lag-bomer-resources/
Sefaria Lag BaOmer source sheets 

Resources for Shavuot
The Jewish Education Project resources on Shavuot, including games and videos
Olami games, programs, recipes and more 
Bim Bam resources
OU shul games and activities for Shavuot
Jewish Agency for Israel collated a TON of resources (examples: 10 commandments games, situation cards, Ruth lesson plans etc.)
Shavuot lesson plans, videos, and articles created by The Lookstein Center
JTeach Shavuot social story lesson online
Project Aseret

Resources for Yom Yerushalayim
Prayer for Yom Yerushalayim 
“The Temple mount is in our hands” To listen to a recording of Motta Gur saying these famous words, click here.
Video and educational materials by Unpacked
JI studio lesson plans for Yom Yerushalayim (example- take a selfie at the kotel)
Lookstein Center resources for Yom Yerushalayim
Berman House mini lessons on Yom Yerushalayim
From Babaanewz: Tell your students the story of the writing of the song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” and teach them about the songwriter, Naomi Shemer. Through this song, your students will be able to gain a better understanding of Israeli history and the Israeli psyche. Teach the song and sing it as a class. For information about the song, its lyrics, and translations
Israel’s Dept. of Education resources on Yom Yerushalayim (includes Kahoot and A to Z on Jerusalem)

Resources for Memorial Day
Kosher troops is an amazing Jewish group that support service men and women 
National Education Association lesson plans for memorial day
Education World lesson plans for Memorial Day
Edutopia resources for Memorial Day