Monday, December 23, 2013

Contemporary Jewish Issues -- Then and Now

How do you –help students understand the concept that many of the 21st century's contemporary Jewish issues were also Jewish issues with which Jews who lived 2000 years ago grappled as well?

One unique assignment that the students of Kadima High School in St. Louis are presently completing involves researching a contemporary Jewish issue to examine how it affects the Jewish world of today and how it manifested itself in the Jewish world of the 1st and 2nd centuries C.E. This assignment has demonstrated to the Kadima students  that some issues of importance to Jews who lived in the time of the Tannaim have not lessened in importance  over the last 20 centuries.
Galilean Home
 The students were asked to create a game, skit or visual presentation that would clearly delineate an issue of concern to the Jewish communities who lived in the years following the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, and that continue to concern today's Jewish communities. They were required to ensure that each presentation include relevant quotes from texts and sources, visual images reflecting both periods in history, and written or oral explanations and comparisons of the two time periods. 
Israel technology then and now
Rubrics were established so that the students would understand exactly how their work would be assessed. The rubrics include standards for how well the students covered the material, the depth of the source material cited, creativity and originality in the project's creation, and the method of delivery. The rubrics are designed to ensure that the students fully understand the material and are able to convey it to their peers. 
Jewish Streimels Then and Now
The students chose the following subjects (and some have shared their projects here):
Hadassah,  Kosher Animals, Then and Now 
Bella, Female Power
Yoni, Charedim in the Army
Yonatan, Israel's Enemies, Then and Now
Eitan, Warfare then and Now 
Yoneena and Elisheva, High Tech in Israel Then and Nnow
Jake, What Kind of Hat is That? Jewish Hats Throughout History
Sammy, David vs. Goliath today
Eliana -- Galiean House

Part of each student's grade involves responding to questions their peers' projects.
Strong Jewish Women Then and Now
As the students presented their projects, it was clear that they helped them more fully understand the topics that they studied, to gain experience in examining data from primary sources, and to develop imaginative methods for sharing information with others.  
Warfare then and Now

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