Bread and Roses
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Bread and Roses

Lesson Summary:

This lesson makes a great kick-off to a community service or social action project. Rose Schneiderman was a women s and workers rights activist who shaped the American labor movement. Schneiderman used her speeches to inspire leaders and ordinary citizens to take action on behalf of workers, immigrants, and other disadvantaged members of society. Read a quote from Schneiderman, examine other historical and traditional Jewish texts, and explore how we take responsibility for others.

Enduring Understandings:

1. Humans have spiritual and social needs, as well as physical needs.
2. We have a Jewish and a human responsibility (as individuals and as a community) to help others.

Essential Questions:

1. What do humans need to live? How is this different from what we need to survive?
2. Do Jews have a special communal responsibility to help oppressed people or make the world better? Why or why not?

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore


(documents available via link below in "procedure" section)

  • Large piece of paper with Rose Schneiderman s quote written out on it
  • copies of Maimonides text
  • copies of Rose Schneiderman s speech
  • quote from Shevuot 39a written out on large paper
  • computer/tablet/etc for research
  • pens and paper


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

• Participants will be able to explain the difference between physical needs ("bread") and spiritual/social needs ("roses")
• Participants will articulate an opinion on the responsibility of Jews to take responsibility for others. • Participants will be able to apply the concepts from the traditional Jewish texts (kol aravim ze ba zeh and tzedakah) to their own lives.


Lesson Contributors

The Jewish Women’s Archive is a national public history organization dedicated to telling the stories of Jewish women and inspiring change and inclusivity in communities everywhere. The collections and encyclopedia on invite learners of all ages to connect with role models from history and today. Nearly 100 lesson plans for kids, families, and adults help Jewish educators weave stories about identity and activism into programs about Jewish values, holidays, and ritual. And, JWA’s professional development programs and trainings encourage educators to connect with one another to create new ways of engaging the communities they serve. As we say at JWA, “You cannot be what you cannot see,” so check us out anytime, anywhere, at