Used at a Conservative synagogue as an interactive text study in place of the D'var Torah on Global Hunger Shabbat 5772.
This unit helps students begin the process of self-exploration and of identifying an issue that they care about and want to work on. It takes students through a process of identifying where they came from, of reflecting on their early tzedek memories that might have shaped them. The intent in this exercise is for students to become committed to the idea that in order to teach others to have commitments to social change, they need to do social change activities – or, if they see themselves as activists or committed to tzedek, they need to do something along those lines. Attribution: David Kasher and Beth Cousens
What is Social Justice – and what does it have to do with us? This activity will help students begin to be conscious of ideas of social justice, to have an idea of what they mean when they (over)use this word, as well as to continue to develop a commitment to making change in the world and to being responsible for others.
Who are we obligated to help – and who will we help? We cannot help everyone equally; we must prioritize among audiences. The purpose of this lesson is to clarify the audience that is of priority to us and to understand the nuanced thinking that might go into supporting various audiences.
What kind of cultural exchange takes place when one community reaches out to help another? When doing service work, in addition to the actual work that gets done, there is inevitably also a meeting of two cultures. That’s almost the more important part of service than the service itself –that’s how we come to understand issues and other people and to become part of a larger community. The people we are going to help or work with are often the ones who have the best idea of what they need and how to do the necessary work. This class teaches the benefit of listening and learning before we act. Attribution: David Kasher and Beth Cousens
We cannot help everyone. Nor can we usually give any one cause everything that they need. We have limited resources of time and money. So when we decide to engage in service work, we have to make choices of who we will help and how much we will give them. How do we make these kinds of decisions? Note: This is meant to be a post Alternative Break session, and can be a good opportunity to consider how to engage in social change. Attribution: David Kasher and Beth Cousens
At the end of the day, what is the point - are we doing this work in order to effect real change in the world, or to become better people? This session will turn our focus inward, to reflect on the internal experience of the individual who performs these acts. What kind of consciousness do we bring to this work? How does doing the work affect our consciousness? Attribution: David Kasher and Beth Cousens
By Adina Levine/Rydzinski Self-Defense in American and Talmudic Law
This source sheet shows different Jewish texts that encourage personal responsibility and action.
Text Study created for Reform Jewish Voice of New York State's "And Justice for ALL" Shabbat, looking at parshat Vayeira and other Jewish sources on homosexuality.