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Building Jewish Identity 4: Jewish History and Heritage

ISBN: 978-0-87441-867-5
SKU: 867
Grade level: 4 - 5
Price: $7.95 In stock
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Students will explore the themes of exile and return, and learn how the values and traditions that have defined our people for countless generations help us to understand our world today.

Jewish History and Heritage is the fourth volume in the Building Jewish Identity series, a flexible two-year Jewish identity curriculum in four units.

Volume 4 examines the influence of Jewish history on North American life today. Students will explore the themes of exile and return, and learn how the values and traditions that have defined our people for countless generations help us to understand our world today.

Chapters and Essential Questions:

  1. Welcome to Your World
    • How does understanding the evolution of Jewish history help us to understand ourselves?
  2. Biblical Times: Becoming Am Yisrael
    • What is the difference between Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and M'dinat Yisrael?
    • How does understanding our biblical history affect Judaism today?
    • What characterized Am Yisrael's evolution from a family into a nation?
  3. Jewish Life with or without the Temple
    • What was life like during the Second Temple period?
    • How did the destruction of the Second Temple and our subsequent exile affect the Jewish people?
  4. Creating Jewish Community: From East to West
    • How did living in the Diaspora affect Judaism during medieval times, and how do we know?
    • How did the rise of other faiths affect Jews during the Medieval period?
  5. Crossing Continents, Starting Over
    • What was the influence of the Spanish Inquisition on the Jews of Spain?
    • How did varying levels of freedom affect Jewish life under different rulers?
  6. Winds of Change: New Opportunities and Responses
    • What are some ways Jews responded to new opportunities in America?
    • How did Jews navigate their newfound freedoms in western Europe?
  7. On the World’s Stage
    • How was Jewish life affected by the Holocaust?
    • What is the Law of Return, and how does it enable Jews from all over the world to become Israeli citizens?
  8. North American Jews: Charting Your Own Path
    • How have Jews balanced their Jewish heritage and their North American one?
    • How is the arc of Jewish history relevant to our lives today?

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 from 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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