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Building Jewish Identity 3: The People of the Book-Our Sacred Texts

ISBN: 978-0-87441-865-1
SKU: 865
Grade level: 4 - 5
Price: $7.95 In stock
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Students will learn how a Torah is made, meet the rabbis whose commentaries make up the Talmud, and learn how our sacred texts define and enrich Jewish life.

The People of the Book-Our Sacred Texts is the third volume in the Building Jewish Identity series, a flexible two-year Jewish identity curriculum in four units.

Volume 3 explores how the Torah is our source for wisdom and justice, a guide for living an ethical life, and an inspiration for all times. Students will explore how a Torah is made, meet the rabbis whose commentaries make up the Talmud, and learn how our sacred texts define and enrich Jewish life.

Chapters and Essential Questions:

  1. Living by the Book
    • How has the Torah inspired the Jewish people?
    • What is contained in the Tanakh, or Jewish Bible?
  2. Torah: At the Heart of Jewish Life
    • How is the Torah considered a blueprint for Jewish life?
    • How does the Torah continue to influence us today?
  3. Tanakh: Prophets, Judges, and Kings
    • What was the role of prophets and how did they prophesy?
    • What can we learn from the words and stories contained in K'tuvim (Writings)?
  4. Reading Sacred Texts: A Year of Jewish Books
    • What are some characteristics of the Torah service?
    • Why are different Bible texts connected to different holidays?
  5. The Talmud: Texts of the Sages
    • What is the Talmud and why does it contain multiple opinions?
    • What is midrash and how does it expand on Torah?
  6. The Rest Is Commentary
    • What is commentary?
    • How have new texts and new technologies helped Judaism remain relevant for each new generation?
  7. The Siddur: Words from the Heart
    • What is a siddur and what does it contain?
    • How do we make fixed prayer relevant for us today?
  8. Pass It On: Being People of the Book
    • What does it mean to pray with kavanah (intention)?
    • What is our role in the chain of transmission of Jewish thought?

About the Building Jewish Identity Series:

Establish a foundation for lifelong Jewish engagement
The Building Jewish Identity series introduces students to core knowledge that is essential to developing a strong Jewish identity. It uses stories, interviews, and activities to explore the ethical teachings, laws, language, rituals, symbols, and myths that create a distinctive Jewish worldview using a journal/activity book format that invites personal reflection.

The series is designed to be used in four units over two years. Appropriate for grades 3, 4, and 5, each volume is available separately to allow maximum flexibility to fit into your program.

Enduring Understanding
Our Jewish community, our shared language, our sacred writings, our stories and history as Jews help unite us and connect us to each other and to our Jewish identity. Our experience of time and celebration of important moments provides a lifelong, emotional connection to our heritage, our culture, and our values.


The print materials include four volumes of activities, games, thought questions, texts, and profiles of real kids as well as historical figures, plus other background your students will need to explore and build their identity as Jews.

Matching Lesson Plan Manuals (each covering two volumes) provide step-by step guidelines for each class meeting plus experiential and project based learning ideas, instructions for complementary family education programs, assessments and reviews, plus ideas for teaching holidays through the building blocks of Jewish identity.

An optional digital companion for each volume can be used either in class or at home to bring a rich assortment of interactive games, videos, songs and other components to enliven your students’ exploration of their Jewish identity. Each online companion comes complete with its own lesson plans.

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