From Generation to Generation


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, when explaining what being Jewish means to him, said, “To be a Jew is to be a link in the chain of the generations. What does this mean? How is it done? One way to accomplish this is by adding our voices to the ongoing commentary and interpretation of the Torah; to transmit and add to what we have been taught and pass it onto the next generation. This Shavuot themed resource features the famous first mishna in pirkei avot (The ethics of our fathers) which describes  how the Torah is passed down from teacher to student in a never ending chain. After studying the text, learners will discuss how this process impacts the Jewish people and why it is essential for Jewish continuity. Creative learning activities such as participating in an exercise that illustrates  the path of Torah transmission over the centuries, (see attachment below) and invites students to to add commentary of their own, demonstrates how they too are vital links in the chain of the generations.

Lesson Attachments​

The learner will:

  1. Understand how being a link in the chain of generations is essential to what it means to be a Jew

  2. know the content and significance of the first mishna in pirkei avot

  3. be able to articulate specific knowledge and/or traditions that they plan to transmit to the next generation

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

Student handout

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