For Communities Curriculum 2013
Information concerning the Global Day 2013 curriculum is on it’s way! The theme is Creating Together, Jewish approaches to creativity and collaboration. As in 2012, there will be 6 curricular units geared towards adults, and one each for elementary and middle school students. The curricular materials will be available in English, Hebrew, Spanish and Russian. There will also be an early childhood curriculum, created in partnership with the PJ Library. Stay tuned for more information!
2012 Theme: Blessings and Gratitude
The 2012 curriculum will feature six units that include excerpts from the new Steinsaltz English edition of the Koren Talmud, a class on expressing gratitude through art, and programming lesson plans for youngsters from early childhood through high school. The curriculum is provided free of charge to registered communities. Units incorporate old and new Jewish texts, provide modern-day examples and offer participants opportunities for self-reflection.
Global Day 2012 Curriculum Units: Titles and Brief Descriptions
1. Finding God, Finding Gratitude: How to Appreciate our Everyday Lives
What are you grateful for in your life? What is the connection between gratitude and prayer? Through shared text study, this unit explores the idea that it is gratitude that connects us to ourselves, our community and God.
2. Gratitude and Birkhat HaMazon (Grace after Meals)
Most cultures are thankful before the meal; Judaism emphasizes the blessings that we say when our plates are cleared. This unit centers on Birkat HaMazon, and explores the value of expressing gratitude both for the gift and to the giver of the gift.
3. Is There a Recipe for Prayer?: A Lesson in Picking the Perfect Words
Some prayers are read from the book; others are spontaneous cries from the heart. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches?
4. Blessing the Bad: How do We Relate to Bad Things?
David, a well-known lawyer, is badly hurt in a car accident. Should he say a blessing? Must we believe that “everything is for the best”? This unit looks at the philosophical, religious and textual responses to the existential question of blessing the bad.
5. Celebrating Differences: An Artistic Interpretation of Blessing Those Who are Unique
The Bible tells us that we are all created “in the image of God.” Yet we all look so different. How do blessings deepen our ability to appreciate the world around us? What are the differences between respect, honor and love? This unit includes texts and a graphic design art piece to explore celebrating the differences that surround us.
6. Exploring Blessings: A Look at Some of Our More Creative Blessings
Our sages believed that every unusual sight deserved its own blessing – it was their way of savoring the moment. Did you know that when you hear thunder or see a beautiful view, traditional Judaism offers up different blessings to say? This unit helps us to appreciate how blessings can help us to slow down and appreciate the world around us.
Middle School Curriculum Unit: The Wonderful World of some Wacky Blessings
How do you truly appreciate a moment? Judaism offers some fairly unexpected blessings. Did you know that there is a blessing to say when you see a rainbow? hear thunder? There is even a blessing to say over a beautiful view! This unit introduces us to some of the more unique blessings we say. With activities, discussion and chevrutah study (paired learning), students will be encouraged to slow down and appreciate the world around them.
Elementary School Curriculum Unit: Experience a Blessing!
There are blessings we say over food and blessings we say over experiences. In this class, we will explore different blessings that involve taste, sight, hearing, touch and smell. Our five senses can help us learn about blessings! Students are encouraged to think about when and why they say blessings. The idea of slowing down to appreciate the world around them will be explored through activities and class discussion.
A Taste of the 2012 Curriculum: Curricular Excerpt from the Unit “Blessing the Bad”
Rav Huna said that Rav said that Rabbi Meir said; and so it was taught in a baraita in the name of Rabbi Akiva: One must always accustom oneself to say: Everything God does, He does for the best.
The Gemara relates: Like this incident, when Rabbi Akiva was walking along the road and came to a certain city, he inquired about lodging and they did not give him any. He said: Everything that God does, He does for the best. He went and slept in a field, and he had with him a rooster, a donkey and a candle. A gust of wind came and extinguished the candle; a cat came and ate the rooster; and a lion came and ate the donkey. He said: Everything that God does, He does for the best. That night, an army came and took the city into captivity. It turned out that Rabbi Akiva alone, who was not in the city and had to lit candle, noisy rooster or donkey to give away his location, was saved. He said to them: Didn’t I tell you? Everything that God does, He does for the best.
- In light of this story, how does the Gemara think we should relate to bad things?
- Do you agree? What about the bad things that happen to the people of the city?
PJ Library Family Programming Lesson Plans
The Global Day of Jewish Learning is delighted to partner again this year with PJ Library, a Jewish family engagement program implemented throughout North America that mails free, high-quality Jewish children’s literature and music to families. PJ Library offers family programming lesson plans to the Global Day, aligned with this year’s theme- blessings and gratitude. These four units are now available to registered communities in the Toolbox section of the Global Day website.
Four PJ Library book-based family programs will be a part of the official Global Day family curriculum: 1. It Could Always be Worse & Terrible, Terrible by Margot Zemach and Robin Bernstein 2. All of Me by Molly Bang 3. Boker Tov! Good Morning by Rabbi Joe Black 4. Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Holly Meade.
Reminder: Family Programming webinar on Thursday, August 23 at 1 p.m. EDT. PJ Library’s Early Childhood Educator, Vivian Newman, will present a newly created family program exploring the value of “being content with what you have”- based on two books: It Could Always Be Worse and Terrible, Terrible. Join us even if you are not a PJ Library community. Click here to register for this webinar.