Understand Ezrah’s link to the Torah
Think about mitzvot as commandments and commitments.
By the end of the lesson, the children will have understood that the Torah as we know it was put together by Ezra and that 2,500 years later many of the mitzvot that we fulfil in the Torah service were begun by Ezra
- Brainstorm – What is the Torah? – Ask the class to think about what the Torah is, what it means to them, to the synagogue, to Jews around the world and why it is important. Children to discuss its importance and meaning and any words that come to mind when they think about the Torah.
- Ezrah – Tell the class that Ezra brought the Torah to the Jewish people and instituted the weekly readings with interpretations. In the Talmud the rabbis said that Ezra was sufficiently worthy that the Torah could have been given through him if Moses had not come earlier. The class might consider whether Judaism as we know it would have survived if it had not been for Ezra.
- The Story of Ezrah – Read through both sections of the Ezrah story. The first section talks about how Ezrah brought the Torah to the people. The second section talks about the interpretation of the Torah and how it was believed that these six commandment were considered the most important to observe. Is this right today? Should Jews shop on Shabbat? What kind of donations and offerings can people make to the House of God today? What/where is the House of God?
- Option 1: Mitzvot Then and Now – Using the Torah Scroll Template, children to create a list of important mitzvot for Liberal Jews in the 21st century. Children must try to give reasons for their choices. Children could write the mitzvot and draw relevant pictures to decorate their scroll.
- Option 2: The Torah – Come and Hear It – Hand out the Poster Information and ask children to create a poster to advertise the Torah. Children to encourage members of the synagogue to attend services and listen to the words of the Torah.
- Tree of Life– Children to sing “It is a Tree of Life” and discuss the words and the meaning behind the words. Why is the Torah scroll known as the Tree of Life? Why does this have relevance to Ezrah.