What Is The Jewish Identity?
Group Size: 6-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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This is the place!
Goals: To pass on the message that Judaism is both a religion and a nationality – that’s our essential body of our identity.
Materials: special puzzles.
Step 1: Remind your chanichim about your discussion about Identity -- about how Identity is built off of many different things and is interior qualities more than exterior qualities.
Step 2: Turn your way towards discussing the difference between your nationality and religion.
Nationality -- the country you live in; the government you send your taxes to, includes more then just a country though, and doesn't even necessarily include a piece of land; it includes your culture, folk, background, your whole life style; how it's external effects on a person - your nationality can change when ever you move.
Religion - your form of worshiping G-d; your mission in the world; the way you are supposed to act.
Step 3: The Puzzles
Puzzle 1: The puzzles that no matter what you do they fit together -- On each puzzle piece there is a different symbol of a nationality or religion and all of these can fit together.
Puzzle 2: The puzzle of different aspects of the Jewish Nation and Jewish Identity. These pieces have to fit together in the right places because that is what makes the Jewish Nation -- specific aspects that tie in Nationality and Religion.
Discussion: Discuss the different Nationalities and Religions your chanichim came across in the puzzle. Ask them what they know about the different Nationalities and Religions. Do they fit together? Do they have to? Can they fit with more than one possible piece?
Some examples are:
Islam - completely created by Muhamed who heard the "voice" god telling him to start a new religion. This religion believes that they have to convert everyone to Islam, they believe in prayer 5 times a day. It believes in chesed. There are many aspects to the religion but it doesn’t include a nationality especially because it wants to convert every one to the religion it could care less about were the people actually live.
Christianity - Was created by Jesus’ followers after Jesus died. His followers claimed he was the messiah, and the son of god. This religion also believes in conversion, and chesed, and very much like Islam could care less about nationality; this religion like Islam solely focuses on the religious aspects of life.
American - The US has many different cultures and religions encompassed within the country borders. You can originally be from a different country, but when one moved from that country they left their nationality behind, and took on the American nationality. For example after the Soviet Union broke up in 1992 many Russians migrated to America because they wanted to leave their nationality behind. (Nationalities can be both good and bad!)
* The same thing with all other countries there are certain aspects to a nationality like a certain culture -- like in china they use chop sticks and in france they speak french but all of these aspects only apply to a person while they are living in the country.
On the other hand....
The Jewish Identity is different! It encompasses both Religion and Nationality to fit perfectly in a world of mitzvot, morals, culture and so on and so forth. The Jewish Identity is your religion and nationality and as long as you are part of the Jewish religion you are part of the Jewish nation/nationality and vise versa. You can’t run away from your Jewish nationality as long as you are Jewish. You are always Jewish you can’t convert out of Judaism; once a Jew always a Jew because even if you don’t identify with the religion you are part of the nationality, and if you are part of the Jewish nation they you are part of the religion. When a Jew doesn’t live in Israel a Jew has two nationalities; what ever the country it is the Jew is living in and the Jewish nation. Jews are the only nation that also has a religion.
Note: Israeli and Jewish Nationality are two completely different things. One can be one with out the other!
[do this part ONLY if you have time at the end]
Goals Of Religions:
The goals of Christianity and Islam are completely physical their ultimate goals are to convert every one to their religion.
Goals Of Nationalities:
No real goal just to live and have a comfortable life.
Goal of Judaism:
The combination of nation and religion give us completely different goals from everyone else our goal that has an end is to be a dugma ishit to the other nations of the world and to bring mashiach. The never ending goal is to immerse ourselves in torah.
*If you have time at the end of the peula you can play dag maluach but this is only if you have finished your discussion. Tie the game into the peula by saying that for dag maluach there is an end goal like other nations but the unique thing about the Jewish nation is that for them there would be an ending point because there is always a goal the Jewish people have to work towards.