Jewish Family Life - Traditions, Holidays and Values for Today s Parents and Children (Abramowitz & Silverman, p.139)

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1 Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education CG-EDUC-545: The Jewish Calendar - A Tapestry of Holidays and Celebrations Instructor: Susie Rodenstein Spring Semester ONLINE: February 1 May 20, 2016 Contact Information: Phone: (Best time to call: 8 10 PM) Skype: susie6765 Course Description: This course will explore the Jewish Holidays, across time and space. Participants will study Biblical, Rabbinic and contemporary sources to uncover the central themes and values, symbols, rituals and practices associated with each holiday. After reaching a deeper knowledge of their origins and central messages, we will develop a repertoire of resources and strategies appropriate to our individual educational settings and target audiences. Particular attention will be paid to the cycles of nature and the agricultural seasons, the historical milestones of the evolving Jewish People, and the ways in which our celebrations of the holidays enhance our relationships with the Divine. The special days of the festival cycle are not random moments scattered over the year, but purposeful occurrences that draw their power from multiple sources the natural world and its seasons, myth, religious traditions, folk customs, and decisive historical events in the life of our people. The Jewish Holidays A Guide and Commentary (Strassfeld, p.1) For 4000 years, the Jews have been weaving the fabric of their religious life, expanding it, restyling it for the times, and adding new strands of meaning for each holy day of the year. The Bible and other sacred Jewish writings describe in detail how the holidays should be observed. Rabbis, sages and ordinary people through the ages have sought to make each holiday speak to the sensibilities of their particular time while still leaving it grounded in its origins. Jewish Family Life - Traditions, Holidays and Values for Today s Parents and Children (Abramowitz & Silverman, p.139) Learning Objectives: Students will - Deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Jewish holidays as adult learners through the exploration of central themes, texts, rituals and practices; Develop a repertoire of resources and strategies for teaching the holidays in ways that foster understanding and personal meaning for students and/or families.

2 Required Texts: 1. Teaching Jewish Holidays History, Values and Activities by Robert Goodman. Denver, Colorado: A.R. E. Publishing, Activities/dp/ X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid= &sr=1-1&keywords=Teaching+Jewish+Holidays+ +History%2C+Values+and+Activities+by+Robert+Goodman Choose one of the following for purchase: 2. The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays by Irving Greenberg. Greenwich, CT: Touchstone, Holidays/dp/ /ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top OR 3. Seasons of Our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays by Arthur O. Waskow. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, Holidays/dp/ /ref=pd_cp_b_0 Highly Recommended, Especially for Those Working with Families: 4. The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events by Nina Beth Cardin. Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, Cycle/dp/ /ref=pd_ybh_3 All other required readings will be provided electronically, within the body of each lesson. Students are strongly encouraged to print out all of the articles and handouts provided for note-taking and future reference. Additional Recommended Resources: Goodman, Philip. The Passover Anthology (Just one of the JPS Holiday Series). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Sabbath. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Kitov, Eliyahu, The Book of Our Heritage (Vol. 1, 2, 3). Jerusalem/New York: Feldheim, Klagsburn, Francine. Jewish Days, A Book of Jewish Life and Culture around the Year. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Knobel, Peter, Ed. Gates of the Seasons: A Guide to the Jewish Year. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis Press, Mishkan Moeid: A Guide to the Jewish Seasons (Newly revised and updated version, 2013) Kosofsky, Scott-Martin. The Book of Customs: A Complete Handbook for the Jewish Year. New York: Harper San Francisco, Steinberg, Paul. Celebrating the Jewish Year The Fall Holidays. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, Strassfield, Michael. Guide to the Jewish Holidays. New York: William Morrow Paperbacks, Reissue edition, 1993.

3 Rush, Barbara. The Jewish Year Celebrating the Holidays. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, More to follow within the body of each individual lesson! Assignments & Assessment: Students are expected to 1. Participate actively in the online discussions and interactive study exercises, integrating the learning gleaned from the assigned readings, in a timely fashion. 2. Choose a holiday or theme as the focus for a Children s Literature Review to be presented during the semester. 3. Complete a final project as described in greater detail below. Final grades will be determined is as follows: Your active, timely participation is an essential component of the course. Therefore, Discussion Board postings and responses to colleagues, will account for 40% of your final grade. Your Children s Literature Review and Oral Presentation will account for 20% of your final grade. Your Written Final Project, Oral Presentation, and feedback to fellow students will account for 40% of your final grade. Course Accommodations for Disabilities: Hebrew College is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in programs. Accordingly, if a student has a documented disability, and as a result, needs a reasonable accommodation to attend, participate or complete course requirements, then he or she should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. For further information, see the Student Handbook at If you require course accommodations because of a documented disability or an emergency medical condition, please your instructor as soon as possible. We are happy to work with you on any issues you have to ensure that you can participate fully in the class and complete the course requirements. Please do not wait until the assignments are due for a retroactive accommodation, but discuss the situation with your instructor before you experience difficulty. Course Structure: Lesson 1: Monday, February 1 Sunday, February 7, 2016 The Jewish Calendar Lesson 2: Monday, February 8 Sunday, February 14, 2016 Biblical Holidays, Part I: The Gift of the Sabbath Day of Delight Presidents Day Vacation, Monday, February 15, 2016 Lesson 3: Tuesday, February 16 Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Biblical Holidays, Part II: Introduction to the Pilgrimage Holidays Passover Lesson 4: Wednesday, February 24 Sunday, March 6, 2016 Passover Feasting for Freedom Lesson 5: Monday, March 7 Tuesday, March 15, 2016

4 Shavuot Revelation & Ethical Commandments in Action Lesson 6: Wednesday, March 16 Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Lesson 7: Wednesday, March 23 Tuesday, March 29, 2016 Biblical Holidays, Part III: Rosh HaShanah & Yom Kippur: Days of Awe Returning Anew Lesson 8: Wednesday, March 30 Tuesday, April 5, 2016 Rabbinic Additions: The Messages of Purim and Hanukkah Lesson 9: Wednesday, April 6 Wednesday, April 13, 2016 Modern Celebrations: Yom Ha atzmaut Symbols of a Sovereign Nation Lesson 10: Thursday, April 14 Sunday, May 1, 2016 Mourning Loss and Preserving Memory in the Jewish Holiday Cycle Passover Break: April 21 April 30, 2016 Lesson 11: Monday, May 2 - Sunday, May 8, 2016 Tu B Shevat, Tu B Av and other Minor Holidays Final Presentations Begin - Utilizing Audio and/or Video - on Discussion Board Lessons 12/13: Monday, May 9 Friday, May 20, 2016 Final Presentations Continued - Utilizing Audio and/or Video - on Discussion Board Written Project is due on May 20, 2016 Written Course Evaluations may be submitted online. Your input is greatly appreciated in helping me evaluate and refine my practice!

5 Final Assignment: Written Project, Oral Presentation, and Feedback to Colleagues Develop a three-session learning unit on a holiday or a theme of choice, e.g. mourning and memory. Be sure to include the following elements in your written paper: A description of your target audience and the projected length of each session An introduction to include: The various names of the holiday and their meanings A number of big ideas/values/themes associated with your holiday, A sense of how this holiday connects to the cycles discussed in our course (natural, historical and/or spiritual) Origins and connections to other Jewish holidays Rituals and traditions associated with the holiday A determination of "What Enduring Understanding/Big Idea is desired" among the many possible choices, along with a rationale for your particular target audience, and a listing of the "Essential questions that will guide you in crafting the learning." A minimum of three complete lesson plans, fully fleshed-out with all texts, stories, worksheets and audio-visuals, as they would be presented to your target audience, and/or shared with parents later on. A fully annotated resource packet including a complete bibliography - must be included in your written paper, which would allow a colleague to both replicate your own process of research and preparation, and recreate what you have done. In addition to the written final project, students will present one element of their work to their colleagues for feedback that may help them extend their thinking, and/or refine their work. Written Final Projects are to be submitted on May 20, Many thanks to all of my teachers from the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute Network for the ongoing textual learning I ve been privileged to enjoy, and to colleagues Noreen Leibson at Brandeis University s Delet Program & Allison Cook at Hebrew College for their generosity in sharing both m

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