Activity : Linking Jews

The aim of this activity is to begin to raise basic questions about the links between the students and the wider Jewish world.

• Start by asking the students to write down ten significant things that they can remember about the student from the other country with whom they were twinned. Ask how many of them feel or felt any connection to the person.

• Now ask the group to think about their own community. How many of them feel that there is a connection that unites Jews that differs from that between Jews and non-Jews? Divide them up into small groups in which all the people have given the same answer to the previous question, either yes or no. If everyone said the same thing, divide them up and give them the same set of questions. If they said different things give the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ groups the following different questions.

For those who said ‘yes,’ ask them if that connection holds for all Jews in their own national community. Are there certain types of Jews with whom they feel a connection in their community and others with whom they feel no connection? If so, what are the criteria for closeness that they feel?

For those who answered ‘no,’ ask them if there are any circumstances in which they feel a special connection with Jews in their own national community. When they hear about oppressed Jews, or Jewish victims of violence in their community, is their response different from their response to similar situations in which the victims are not Jewish? When they hear about the achievements of Jewish writers or sports players, is their response in any way different from their response to similar achievements by non-Jews?

• If there were separate ‘yes’ and ‘no' groups, now mix them together in different small groups to hear and discuss each other’s answers. Then bring everyone back together and summarize their feelings and responses. If there were no ‘yes’ and ‘no’ groups, skip the stage of the mixed groups and bring everyone together to summarize this part of the activity.

• At this point examine the same questions for Jews from other countries. Refer back to the first part of the activity when they were asked whether they felt a connection. Among those who did, how many of them think that part of the feeling of connection was because of the Jewishness of their partner? Would they have felt exactly the same thing towards a similar boy or girl who had the same interests but was not Jewish?

• If there are those who said that they feel a connection to (some) Jews in the community but not to the Jew that they were partnered with, explore why this may be so. Is it because of the individual partner, or is it because they feel that the other person was too foreign - too different - and they found it hard to relate to them? Examine this dynamic. If people felt a connection to Jews in the community and abroad, explore this dynamic too. Why is it true? If there are differences in the class over the question, try and find the ‘border’ between people taking different positions. What makes one person feel one way and another person feel differently on this particular issue?


 

 

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10 Dec 2006 / 19 Kislev 5767 0