Judaism In The New Millenium

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 6-13
Group Size: 5-30
Estimated Time: 90 minutes

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Resource Goal

Tofocus on Judaism and its connection to the technological aspects of the new millenium. We want the chanichim to realize that all the new cool technology that is now available to the world can actually be used lshem Shamayim.

This week we can help the chanichim realize that everything ultimately comes from Hashem, even Nintendo!

Required Props & Materials
  • 2 Paper Bags (or more depending on amount of chanachim) - one labelled 1000 C.E. another labelled 2000 C.E.
  • Items found in 1000 C.E. ie from nature
  • Items found in 2000 C.E. ie more modern items
  • Story (attached)

Resource Contents

Introduction: This weeks snif will focus on Judaism and its connection to the technological aspects of the new millenium. We want the chanichim to realize that all the new cool technology that is now available to the world can actually be used lshem Shamayim.

This week we can help the chanichim realize that everything ultimately comes from Hashem, even Nintendo!


A good peulah that is appropriate for all ages is paper bag dramatics. This peulah

requires a bit of preparation, though.

The group is first divided into at least two smaller groups and each smaller group is given a paper bag filled with items that they must incorporate into a little skit about a given topic.

Heres how to PREPARE the bags:

One team will get a bag labeled 1000 C.E., which will contains only items that could be found in that time period. For example, a lot of items from nature (but be careful not to use anything mukse!).

The other team will get a bag labeled 2000 C.E., which will contain items of the latter part of the millenium (ie: everyday items from today).

And heres how to RUN the peulah:

The groups should prepare two skits (appropriate to their time periods!!).

One should have nothing to do with Judaism, for example, going to school or planning a party.

The other skit should be about Judaism, for example, a Jewish wedding or a shul scene.

What should happen is that each groups skit #1 will be very different, their second skits (Judaism ones) will contain many of the same themes. This will emphasize that no matter what age we are in, the basic themes of Judaism remain the same. (Well discuss this later in the sicha, but you can feel free to note it during the game. Doing so will help the chanichim better understand the point.)


Cunning Against Greed

ONCE UPON A TIMEthere was a cunning man Who Came to his rich neighbor and asked him to lend him a silver spoon. The rich man gave it to him. A few days later, the borrower returned the spoon and with it a small spoon.

"What is that for?" the rich man asked. "I lent you only one spoon." "Your

spoon," the borrower replied, "gave birth to this little spoon, so I have brought

you back both mother and child, because both belong to you." Although what the

man said sounded foolish, the rich man, who was greedy, accepted both spoons.

A while later the cunning man again came to his rich neighbor and asked that he

lend him a large silver goblet. The rich man did so. Several days later the borrower

returned the goblet and with it a little goblet. "Your goblet," he told him, "gave

birth to this little goblet. I'm return- ing them because both belong to you."

After a while the cunning man paid a visit to his rich neighbor for the third time

and said to him: "Would you mind lending me your gold watch?"

"With .pleasure! " answered the rich neighbor, thinking to himself that it would be

returned to him together with a small watch. So he gave him his watch which was

set with diamonds.

One day passed, and another, and still another, but the borrower failed to show up

with the watch. The rich man became impatient and went to the house of his

neighbor to make inquiry.

"What about my watch?" he asked.

The cunning borrower heaved a deep sigh.

"Alas! " he said. "I am sorry to tell you that your watch is nebich dead! I had to

get rid of it."

"Dead? What do you mean dead?" cried the rich man angrily. "How can a watch


"If a spoon can bear little spoons," answered the cunning man, "and if a goblet

can bear little goblets, why should it surprise you that a watch can die?"

What is the point of this story? Well, first of all, I got it off the internet, which attests to the fact that the internet can be a great resource for Torah.

But also, This story is about human nature and how it remains constant throughout the ages.

This story could have taken place at the beginning or end of the millenium, but the moral is the same- greed is destructive.


Grades 1-3:

Start the sicha by talking about how different the world is today, at the end of the millenium, than it was at the beginning of the millenium.

What type of things that we encounter or use everyday were not even invented in the early part of this century?

What about the millenium?

What was the world like in the year 1000 C.E.?

(Here is a timeline, just in case you dont know!)

1000-1200 C.E.:

- The horizontal loom appears in Europe in the 11th century, and in mechanized form in the 12th century.

- The first artesian well in Europe was dug in Artois (hence the name) in 1126.

- Percussion drilling was first used in 1126 by the Carthusian monks.

- Tidal mills first appear in Europe.

- Rat traps are seemingly well-known by the 1170's.

- Windmills first recorded in 1185.

- Spectacles are invented in Italy in 1285.

- Arabic numbers (1,2,3as opposed to I, II, III, IV) start being mentioned in manuscripts around the start of the 13th century.

- Cakes of hard soap (not Ivory, but close) enter general use.

1100-1300 C.E.:

- Paper is first mentioned in Europe in the early part of the 12th century.

- Knowledge of magnets and magnetism available in Western Europe by 1140.

- The compass is in use in Western Europe by the middle of the 12th century.

By mentioning some of the above facts, you will be able to give the chanichim some idea of what the world was like back then.

What do you think they did without paper? What did they write on? How did this affect Judaism?

How did they learn Torah without books? What you want to do here is to emphasize what a different world it is now than it was a thousand years ago.

For this age group, you can also tie it in to Judaism by emphasizing how even though the world has changed so much, the Torah is the same Torah that our forefathers had a thousand years ago.

Grades 4-5: (First, see the above sicha and timeline)

This sicha can be a bit more advanced. Let the chanichim try and come up with a picture of what the world was like a thousand years ago without you telling them facts from the timeline. Discuss more in depth how the changes in technology have affected Jewish practices.

For example, before there was paper, not everyone could have a siddur in shul because each shul probably just had one manuscript of a siddur. This is one of the reasons why we have a shaliach tzibbur- a chazan.

In the Middle Ages, only the chazan had a copy of the tefilot and he would daven on behalf of the congregation, who would listen and follow along orally. This is, of course, in contrast to the way we follow today, at the end of the millenium, where each member of the congregation has their own copy of the tefillot in a siddur.

Also, name some of the newest technology and how it can be used in a Torah way. For example, computers and the internet can actually help us as Jews! How many Jewish web sites can your chanichim name?

This Sicha can go on and ontry to bring out anything you think the chanichim would be interested inbut remember, like any peulah you must stop this one at its PEAK (i.e. before anyone gets bored-and dont say theyll be bored before you startif you get this one going right they WILL get into it!!)

Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Current Events > General

» All > Judaism > General

» All > Judaism > General

» All > Judaism > Jewish Culture

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