Know what Shavuot is and why we celebrate it
Learn about the stories and significance of Shavuot
Understand the importance of the story of Ruth and Naomi
By the end of the lesson, the children will have understood the meaning and importance of Shavuot
- Brainstorm about Shavuot – recap prior knowledge about Shavuot. Encourage children to name any customs or traditions we have and do on Shavuot.
- Read the The Story of Shavuot – Read through the story of Shavuot, explaining why it is an important festival.
- The Torah – Discuss the importance of the Torah and why it is important during Shavuot. Shavuot is the festival when we celebrate receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. Prompt the class to explain what the Torah is and why it is so important to the Jewish people. Focus on the idea that it gives us rules to live by and it is the word of God.
- Shavuot Information Sheet – Read through the sheet with the class so that they have a good grasp of the meaning of Shavuot.
- Option 1: Make a Torah Scroll – Children to make their own / class Torah scrolls depicting the scene where Moses receives the Torah from God. Remind children that as Jews we do not show or draw the image of God with human attributes. Encourage the children to design their Torah scrolls and think about what they will use to complete the project (i.e. paint, pens, tissue paper etc…)
- Option 2: Decorate a Torah Page – Same as option 1, but drawing or writing about the scene where Moses receives the Torah on the Torah Template.
- Option 3: Make a Shavuot Cheesecake – Explain why Jews eat dairy-based foods at Shavuot and make cheesecakes to help the children celebrate Shavuot. You may wish to send out the suggested poster to the cheder parents or provide the ingredients yourself. Or if you are short on time let them decorate a finished cheesecake or make Mt Sinai muffins – see this website for inspiration:
- Option 4: Ruth and Naomi Storyboard– Read The Story of Ruth and Naomi with the children and discuss its importance. Discuss the fact that Ruth is considered to be the first person to convert to Judaism. Children to use the storyboard template to retell the story of how Ruth went with Naomi back to the Land of Israel.
- Option 5: Ruth and Naomi Debate – Read The Story of Ruth and Naomi with the children and discuss its importance. Discuss the fact that Ruth is considered to be the first person to convert to Judaism. Split the class in two and ask them to present the arguments for and against Ruth accompanying Naomi to Israel. Encourage the groups to debate this topic and come to a decision as to whether Ruth should go with Naomi or stay in Moab.
- Singing – Teach the song 613 Commandments(Debbie Friedman) to the class
- Conversion – Discuss conversion and how it is considered an important topic within Liberal Judaism. You may wish to read the information on the Liberal Judaism Website before discussing this with the children. http://www.liberaljudaism.org/life-cycle/conversion-status.html