Age - 15 upwards
No. of Participants - 24 minimum
Time - 2-2 1/2 hours




1. Familiarise with and interest chanichim in the history and present situation of World Jewry, enhancing understanding of difficulties such as discrimination, persecution, assimilation.

2. Allow the participants to discover through a creative activity that except for Israel, Jewish population growth is diminishing and not ensuring population replacement.

3. Enable chanichim to discuss the issues and implications of Jewish demography.






    • 1. The group is subdivided into four. Each receives information about its specific country - but groups only know their own identity and their own data. The first three groups can be varied - such as USA, France, Mexico - but the fourth group should always be Israel.

      2. The data should include a brief history of the community, present- day situation, statistics on intermarriage, assimilation, birthrate inside the Jewish community, as compared to the general population. The group is asked to study the data of its country and figure out a scenario for the future of the Jewish population of its country.

      3. The groups now make a family portrait for their countries: a set of grandparents, parents and two children. To make the portraits, body outlines are drawn on brown paper. The format could have the grandparents at the back, parents in the middle and children in front. Alternatively, they could be drawn in a line. Since the next stage includes acting out a skit, participants may already choose their identity for the portrait.

      4. Now the real pe'ula begins! The group has to make a short play covering three generations. Each generation in turn steps out of the portrait, acts out its story - which should include the history of the Jews of that particular country in the appropriate period, together with the difficulties and challenges that faced them.


    • Issues that could be covered would be discrimination, persecution, forced conversion, outmarriage, assimilation, (im)migration.


    • Participants should make the skit as clear as possible, so that by the time the third generation acts its part, the difficulties and turmoil build up a coherent picture, and maybe even hint at the future. Since there are four groups, the sketches should not be too long.


    • If the data given to the groups was easily understood, the message of a diminishing Jewish world and Israel as the only country with a growing Jewish population, should be apparent in the first three playlets.

      5. Close the pe'ula with a discussion about Jewish demography.



    Alternative presentation


    Start the pe'ula with a talk (even a guest speaker) on the subject and close with a discussion on the role and importance of Israel today in the light of data on world Jewish demography.

    Or, in addition (older participants):

    Using the article as a basis, redivide into groups and each group has to come up with 3-5 ideas on how to change the present demographic pattern.





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    15 Aug 2005 / 10 Av 5765 0