The Three Sons

Activity

Aim:
To engage participants in a discussion of Jewish Values.

Age:
14 and older.

Time needed:
90 minutes --- 2 hours

Group size:
20-25

Materials needed:
Invitation to the reading of the will (duplicated for each participant); copy of the will/first solicitor's statement description of each of the three "sons" (duplicated for each participant); one copy of the solicitors' statements to the committee/court; preparation of a fourth "son"'s profile.




Procedure

  1. It advisable to conduct this program with a group no larger than 25 people, unless the group is broken up before the actual discussion, with a moderator for each discussion sub-group. If done in this way, the groups may come together at the end to compare their findings.
  2. There should be no introduction or explanation at the start of the meeting, which should open immediately with the first solicitor's statement about the will. The solicitor may also act as the chairperson or discussion leader, or a madrich may be selected for this purpose.
  3. The group divides into 3, each with the profile of a different "son". They study the text, choose a representative to fill the role and prepare the presentation.
  4. After coming back together, the three representatives speak for a couple of minutes each, acting as the sons (or daughters) in order to justify their claims to the money. The audience is then asked to vote on their first impressions of which "child" is a "good" Jew.
  5. The solicitor then throws the discussion open to the floor either in the form of discussion, or as direct questions and cross-examination of the three claimants in order to determine who is the "good" Jew. To prevent confusion, it is best to interview the three siblings one at a time. No more than 15 minutes total should be allowed for this part of the proceedings, after which time a final vote should be taken and the decision announced to the audience.
  6. Change of Scene: A British courtroom, four claimant siblings - the fourth with a profile identical to Joseph's - three British judges. Another solicitor speaks (see below).
  7. The senior judge asks the 2 solicitors and their clients to prepare an explanation of who would be considered a "good Jew" in the estimation of the late Morris Goldberg.
    The group splits into 2, each half with a solicitor. Each group reexamines the will and the descriptions of two of the claimants, Henry and David or Joseph and Solomon, and has to prepare a several point profile of a "good Jew". If sub-groups are large, they may also be divided. Allow 15 minutes to establish a consensus.
  8. Reassemble the courtroom. The solicitors read out the profiles to the judges, who may ask questions of the groups.
  9. The judges vote or the group votes, according to conscience.
  10. The moderator or rabbi/guest speaker leads the review of the real case and the simulations. You may use the questions and points below:
      • What were your options in the decision?
        [Hint:
        1. one or any number of the claimants inherits
        2. all of the claimants inherit equally
        3. none of the claimants inherit - the money goes to charity, or the State.]
      • Why did you vote the way you did? How did you feel about the claims?
      • What does "being a good Jew" mean
        to you?
        in terms of the Jewish People?
    1. What happened in the British Court of Appeal?
      • When the judge asked the sons to prepare profiles, they actually started and then decided to meet and discuss their case. The conclusion was that no-one had the right to decide who was or was not a "good Jew", and especially not to judge their siblings. Therefore, they decided to divide the inheritance equally and returned to the judge with an out-of- court settlement, to withdraw the appeal.
      • How do you feel about the real case? What are the implications?



Acknowledgments
Editors, Menachem Persoff, Zehava Albert, "Sukkot", Youth & Hechalutz Dept., WZO (Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education), Jerusalem. Revised Edition.


 

 

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08 Jun 2005 / 1 Sivan 5765 0