HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Teaching Jewish History

Teaching Jewish History

Is Jewish history the linchpin to Jewish identity formation, the weak link in day school Jewish studies, or perhaps both? Jewish history provides students with critical links to their past and gives them the context for their own experiences. Discover insights in this field from senior scholars and educators, and find creative new initiatives being used by teachers in day schools today.

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Integrating Jewish History Within a General Social Studies Curriculum

by Juli Kramer and Naomi Lev Dec 21, 2015 Denver Academy of Torah
RELATED TOPICS: TeachersJewish Studies

Students in Jewish day schools, even those who claim that history is boring, are curious about their heritage, and as teachers, it is incumbent upon us to fan the sparks and teach about personal and ancestral history.

Connecting Ethics and History Through a Jewish Lens

by Jan Darsa Dec 21, 2015 Facing History and Ourselves
RELATED TOPICS: Jewish StudiesTeachers

As teachers of history, we are faced with the challenge of making history relevant to our students and helping them connect history with their own lives. By using the ethics and values of our sacred texts as one lens to study Jewish history, we can make history and Jewish texts come alive, while at the same time encouraging students to examine the relationship of these studies to their own decisions and actions.

Teaching the History of Jewish-Christian Relations

by Mark Stolovitsky Dec 18, 2015 Ann and Nate Levine Academy, Dallas

We live in a world whose culture is deeply influenced by Christianity and whose populations still perceive themselves, by and large, as religiously Christian. The Jewish people has had a long, complicated and often troubled relationship with Christianity. As various forms of Christianity have wrestled with their attitudes towards Jews and have attempted to proffer hands in friendship, it is important for us to know all aspects of this relationship and the meaning it has had and continues to have for our people.

Dear Cooki

by Cooki Levy Mar 10, 2014

As a head of school, I am increasingly dependent on short-term consultants for one of the following reasons: they are more affordable than permanent staff; funders often agree to the short-term hiring of an expert but will not fund a permanent hire; the board of directors believes that this is the best possible course of action. As a result, I am working with consultants in the areas of curriculum development, servicing special needs students, and technology.

From the desk of Rebekah Farber, RAVSAK Chair

by Rebekah Farber Mar 10, 2014

Relational Judaism, Dr. Ron Wolfson states, “What really matters is that we care about the people we seek to engage. When we genuinely care about people, we will not only welcome them; we will listen to their stories, we will share ours, and we will join together to build a Jewish community that enriches our lives.” The recent RAVSAK/PARDES Day School Leadership Conference, in my home town of Los Angeles, was a wonderful example of just such connection, community and relationships. Attendees listened carefully, learned together, challenged each other, and deepened their relationships with each other as well as our network.

From the Editor

by Barbara Davis Mar 10, 2014

About thirty years ago, I developed a photographic exhibit/catalog of the Jewish community of Syracuse. Being neither a historian nor a Syracuse native, I found this a challenging undertaking and quickly realized that history is often a result not of selectivity, intention or bias, but rather of availability of materials. People who kept scrapbooks, records, diaries and artifacts guarded them jealously and often would not part with them even for the hour or so it would take me to photocopy or photograph them.

Role-Playing Between Accuracy and Creativity

by David Fain Mar 10, 2014

While acknowledging the benefits of role-playing developing student historical empathy, the author confronts challenges that this activity poses to the transmission of historical understanding.

Inheriting the Past, Building the Future: Developing Historical Thinking in Upper Elementary Students

by Lisa Micley and Stan Peerless Mar 10, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: Jewish StudiesTechnology

Drawing on an online program in Jewish history they created, the authors elucidate best practices for engaging upper elementary students and offer suggestions for designing classroom activities.

Understanding the Holocaust, as Jews

by Ann Nachbar Mar 10, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: Jewish Studies

In response to the challenge Chazan identified (p. 28), Nachbar presents a way to redesign a class on Shoah education so that students understand the victims not just as “sheep to the slaughter.”

A Case Study Approach to Integrating Jewish Values and Modern History

by Neil Kramer Mar 10, 2014
RELATED TOPICS: Jewish Studies

A course at the New Community Jewish High School in Los Angeles employed a case study approach integrating Jewish history and Jewish values, enabling students to apply Jewish values to contemporary challenges of the Jewish world. The case study approach enables students to practice solving real world problems as if they were clergy or leaders acting on behalf of Jewish communal organizations, or as Jewishly engaged citizens.