Are there situations when it is important to remain true to oneself while also trying to be accepted or fit into a group? Through engaging activities such as the jigsaw technique learners dive into the history of the Haskalah movement and discuss the realities of antisemitism in the past and today.

All you need to end antisemitism is reason, equality and tolerance.  At least that’s what a group of Jews in 19th century Europe believed. This movement, led by Moses Mendelssohn, is known as the “haskalah”; the European Jewish enlightenment. The “maskilim” believed that when Jews integrated socially, culturally and economically into non-Jewish society, they would gain acceptance, and this in turn would bring an end to anti-Semitism. To what extent did the enlightenment movement succeed? What were the positive and negative aspects of this movement?   In this resource, learners will explore the complexities and tensions that arise when trying to balance remaining  true to one’s core identity while also trying to be accepted and fit into a group. Through engaging learning experiences such as the jigsaw technique, students will dive into the history of the Haskalah movement, confront their own “multiple identities”, and discuss the realities of anti-Semitism past and present .

Lesson Attachments​

The learner will:

  1. understand the challenges that arise when Jews enter the wider society

  2. know the basic ideas of the Haskalah and its impact on the Jewish community. 

  3. be able to write about the pros and cons of the Haskalah and the ways in which Moses Mendelssohn and his ideas changed the European Jewish community

Unpacked for Educators materials include:

  1. An educator’s guide that  contains many rich components. These are organized under the following titles: 

  • review (questions that relate to the video)

  • discussion

  • activities

  • reflection

  • further learning

  1. A video designed to spark interest in the topic.

  2. A lesson plan (link in the attachment above) that incorporates additional building blocks for the construction of an engaging and interactive lesson.

Student handouts, computer, projector

The website link includes a “further learning” section in the educator’s guide.

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