Introduce the divided kingdom and the exile
Develop an understanding of the covenant
Learn about Jeremiah and his times
By the end of the lesson, the children will have learnt about the journey of the Children of Israel from Jacob to Jeremiah and written a modern day covenant with God.
- Covenant – Ask children if they know what a covenant it. Inform them that a covenant is a binding agreement. In Jewish history, we talk about covenants between a person (or people) and God. Can children think of any examples? What agreements have they made with their friends or family?
- Lesson Context – The first half of the lesson will focus on this historical background and then focus on Jeremiah’s ‘new covenant’.
- History of the Children of Israel – Take a walking tour around the classroom, synagogue or wherever there is space. Explain that the children will be taking a long journey, tracing the steps of the Children of Israel. Read the story of the Children of Israel, showing what happened to the Jews from Jacob’s offspring, the Exodus, the Tribes settling, the Kings and the conflict, the separation and the Assyrian conquest of Israel and the lost tribes and finally the Babylonian conquest and exile of the two tribes in Judah. As you walk, ask the children to recall key facts and create a timeline in their heads so that they understand the links between Jacob all the way to today.
- Jeremiah – Jeremiah came from a priestly family who lived in a village just north of Jerusalem and was born about 645 BCE. He became a prophet when he was young and never married. Much of what is written in the book of Jeremiah is related to known events leading up to the fall of Judah and the destruction of the first Temple. Read Jeremiah 30: 31-33 to the class and discuss the need to make a new covenant.
- Option 1: Making a Covenant – Using the Parchment Template, children to think about the agreements Jews need to make with God in today’s society and the agreements they would like God to make with them. This can be completed by any age, as the children need to think about things that are important to them, what they wish God to do for them and what they feel they should do for God.
- Option 2: Covenants in Time – Children to read through the story of the Children of Israel again and complete the sheet comparing the times of Moses, Jeremiah and Jews today. Teacher may wish to work with the children to fill in some or all of the boxes. Children then consider what covenant they would make with God and the people if they were a prophet.
- Class Covenant – Working with the teacher, children to come up with a class covenant – a list of agreements made between the children and also between the children and the teacher.