Traditions That Ring a Bell


This is a lesson plan provided by the National Library of Israel.

Jews have lived scattered across the world for thousands of years, resulting in traditions with underlying similarities yet are often unrecognizable from one another. What are some of the similarities and differences between different Jewish communities’ life cycle and holiday events? Is it important to preserve the diversity and differences of Jewish culture as they manifest in various communities? In this lesson, learners will listen to recordings from Jewish holiday and life cycle events across time and place. They will have the opportunity to categorize and organize the musical data presented through primary sources by matching recordings to traditions (country of origin and life cycle event). In addition to listening to the melodies and prayers of communities unlike their own, students can explore the history behind their own community tunes and traditions.

The learner will:

  1. understand the role and importance of cultural traditions in maintaining the life of a Jewish community
  2. know some of the cultural similarities and differences among Jewish communities

be able to present a melody, prayer, or song that is special or unique to them and their family or community

About the National Library and its educational materials:

The mission of the National Library of Israel is to provide a home for items of national, historic or cultural significance. Each of these primary sources serve as unique entry points into the collective memory of the people of Israel as well as the Jewish people worldwide.

The education department at the library curates the collection of primary sources and uses them as windows into the past; to foster a deeper understanding of Jewish history, and to enable learners to personalize and connect to earlier events.


When you click on the National Library of Israel resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:


  1. A group activity to open the lesson and engage the learners.
  2. Discussion ideas and/or questions that are designed to get the learners thinking more deeply about the content.
  3. A creative activity that gives students the opportunity to go beyond learning and analyzing, to crafting something new, that personalizes how they relate to the  primary sources featured in the resource.
  4. The primary sources in this resource have individual links (listed in Expand your horizons below) that provide expanded information. In addition there are nuanced discussion questions that will enable students in small groups to engage independently and effectively in the process of  observing, interpreting, and connecting to the primary sources.

    Link to the lesson plan:
    Traditions That Ring a Bell

Student Handouts, computer, projector

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