Activity: What do I Care? Isaac Leib Peretz as Prosecutor

The aim of this activity is to examine issues of moral behavior and values of caring for others, and to reflect on these values in the students themselves.

We now suggest choosing one of the two Peretz stories mentioned above, Poor Boy or Bontshe Shvayg, as the focus of an extra activity.

  • Choose the story and get the students to read it. Make sure that the story is clear to all the students, emphasizing the points that we have outlined in our above description.
  • If the first story is chosen, we suggest putting the narrator on ‘moral trial.’ The charge is one of moral indifference and neglect of Jewish values. Prosecuting and defending teams, each composed of about half of the class (who will delegate the actual presentation to a couple of individuals) will prepare the case. If the second story is chosen, the class should put the community officials on trial for neglect of their duties. Once again, there should be a prosecuting and a defending team.
  • Hold a trial with the narrator and the poor boy in the first case and Bontshe and the community officials (plus other possible figures such as the parents) in the second one. In both cases, offer testimony before the class (now the jury) discusses the case. The students should reach a verdict and suggest a fitting punishment, if the narrator or the community officials are found guilty.
  • As the last stage of this activity, ask each individual in the group to write a letter to themselves discussing whether they, too, are guilty of moral indifference and neglect, and if so, what a fitting ‘punishment’ could be.


 

 

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10 Dec 2006 / 19 Kislev 5767 0