The Ideal Jew
Group Size: 15-20
Estimated Time: 50 minutes
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We start by giving each kid a half circle with one word on it. They must find the person with the other word that completes a two word phrase. For example, if the word is BNEI, they must find AKIVA.
Once this has been finished, we will divide based on color, leaving us with 7 groups. In your small group, discuss briefly with your kids the idea of Machasit Hashekel. Highlight two points:
1) Everyone gave HALF a shekel to show that they weren’t complete as individuals. Only as a community could they be a whole.
2) The reason the count of Bnei Yisrael was done by giving something shows that in order to be counted, you have to do something active. It’s not enough to merely sit by and be counted – to register you had to get up and do something.
Having discussed these two ideas, and any other machasit Hashekel ideas you deem relevant, you can move on to the second part – the ice breaker.
Start by going around in a circle and having everyone say their name and where they’re from. Next, you take the ball of yarn. Toss the yarn back and forth in the circle until everyone has touched it, calling out the name of the person you’re throwing it to. In the end the first person should have the yarn, and everyone should have touched it. Each person holds onto the yarn a bit while throwing it, so that it unravels and you’re left with a spider web in the middle. Now that you’ve established the path of the yarn, see how fast you can get it all the way throw and back to the first person. Set a time limit. Remember to keep calling out names.
I. Intro: We start with a man lying on his back in front of everyone. Someone else reads the will: “and Mr. Cohen, in his last will and testament, bequeaths all his wealth to whichever son is the best Zionist.” The three sons briefly present their cases: one is a rich jew living in NY who is the president of the ZOA, gives lots of money to
II. Break into groups again, and discuss. Who deserves the money? What makes someone a good Zionist? Perhaps defining Zionism will be necessary to answer this question. Does this change for us, being RELIGIOUS Zionists? What are our ideals?
III. Read out the following things, and have the kids decide if they are Very Important, Important, Neutral, or Not Important:
Supporting the State of Israel; Davening 3 times a day; Giving Charity; Respecting Parents; Learning Torah; Moving to Israel; Being kind to friends; Feeding the hungry in your city; keeping Shabbat; working at a homeless shelter; keeping kosher; going to shul; organizing a clothes drive for the poor; helpind oppressed jews in foreign countries; visiting the sick in hospitals; collecting food for maot chitim (pesach); protecting the environment;
Do these things divide into two categories? (Bein Adam L’makom/chavero) Which are generally seen as more important? To help stimulate conversation, you can try picking two and comparing them, saying Davening vs visiting the sick, etc. How do these things contribute to what we see as a Good Jew?
Finally, what makes someone a good CITIZEN? Civil responcibility, etc. How does this differ from our jewish values? Is there anything that would make a good citizen that wouldn’t be on the list of a Good Jew?
And last but not least, we can return to what makes a good chaver tnua. For fun, you can read the 13 principles of the chaver: 1. The chaver is loyal to the Torah of G-d, His people, and language. 2. The chaver sets aside definite periods for the study of the Torah. 3. The chaver loves work and hates idleness. 4. The chaver sees the future of the Jewish people in
If there is still time to kill, give someone an item – a paper, a shoe, a chocolate bar- and ask them where it came from – grown, sewn, designed, etc. All objects take many people, all doing jobs, to make them. The point is that everyone has a role to play in society. So what is good for one person, what makes him a productive member of society, may not be what’s good another.