Jewish Diversity: Travels of Jewish Foods and Jewish Families
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Jewish Diversity: Travels of Jewish Foods and Jewish Families

Lesson Summary:

Learn about the history and geographic diversity of ingredients in this recipe for Moroccan Pumpkin Soup. Explore how immigration and culture impact culinary traditions through text study, skits, and discussion.

Enduring Understandings:

1. There is much diversity within the world-wide Jewish community.
2. The concept of "Jewish food" was created from the multitude of cultures that Jewish families have experienced and lived in over centuries.
3. Jewish traditions expand when Jews weave in conventions and experiences from their other cultural identies as well as from the many places where Jews have put down roots.

Essential Questions:

1. How do cultural and culinary traditions evolve or change over time?
2. How does cuisine reflect cultural heritage or history?
3. How does where you live influence or impact the kinds of food you eat?
4. How can food tell our family story?

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


(materials available via link in procedure section, below)

  • Copies of Numbers/Bamidbar 11:1-6 for small groups
  • large world map
  • copies of recipe for "Moroccan Pumpkin Soup with Chic-peas in Massachusetts," signs with ingredients listed-one per piece of paper
  • information about different ingredients printed out for actors 

NOTE: This activity requires participants to mark their families journeys on a map. You may want to us a laminated map that can be drawn upon with dry erase marker, or a hand-drawn map on paper that can be drawn on directly. You could also use string and tape to mark the journeys.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

• Participants will be able to illustrate or explain how culinary traditions (and other cultural practices) follow patterns of immigration and movement of people.
• Participants will be able to explain the connection between cuisine and heritage, and use specific examples from their families or communities.
• Participants will be able to identify elements of food they know and recognize, and connect them to various cultural traditions.


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