Jewish Heritage Around the World
Lesson Plan Sections
0 Ratings
Add to Favorite  

Jewish Heritage Around the World

Lesson Summary:

Preserving Jewish culture, religion, and art as well as remembering and learning from the past, are a paramount concern to the Jewish community. This lesson exposes students to the art and artifacts found around the world. They bear witnesses to the Jewish traditions and culture of a people with a rich past and strong identify.
This lesson can be easily be integrated into Jewish Heritage Month activities in May.

Enduring Understandings:

  • One can travel many places through the world and discover evidence of Jewish life, culture, and history is evident through the art and artifacts left behind.
  • Through a study of Jewish art and artifacts we can gain knowledge, respect, and pride for those who came before and learn of the challenges faced and contributions made. 
  • Jewish art and artifacts are a part of Jewish cultural and religious identity.

Essential Questions:

  • Where can one find important Jewish art and artifacts (i.e.architecture, landmarks, synagogues, and monuments ) around the world?
  • What general and historical information can be gathered from the Jewish art and artifacts discovered?· --What places locally can one visit that are culturally significant to the Jewish People ?

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


Internet connected devices
Digital Slideshow program
Graphic Organizers
Jewish Heritage Online Resources


1) Introduction:

Introduce the term diaspora: a scattered population whose origin lies within a smaller geographic locale; the movement of the population from its original homeland. You may wish to have students locate some of these geographic areas on a world map.

Discuss how the Jewish people have had to move from one place in the world throughout throughout the millenniums. From a history of fleeing captivity in ancient Egypt, to escaping Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and early 40’s to the natural relocation of people in our global society, they have left behind evidence of Jewish life and culture.

Explain to students that they will be researching locations around the world where they can find Jewish art, architecture, and artifacts to augment understanding of Jewish life, culture, and history.

2. Research
Students will be researching areas where Jewish people have settled (other than Israel) to locate examples of Jewish art. As a result of their discoveries, students will create a digital presentation to share their findings and what these findings tell them about Jewish life, culture, and history.

Place students into groups of 2-4. Assign or allow each group to select a specific continent or from the list of “Online Resources” provided at the end of the lesson and then focus on a specific area in which examples of Jewish art ( monuments, architecture, paintings, etc.) and/or artifacts ( objects related to Jewish tradition and ritual) can be found.

Have student research to find out information about the area and the art/artifacts being analyzed. The questions below can be used to guide them in their research and encourage them to come up with questions of their own.
Have student integrate their findings into their project ( digital presentation presentation, song, etc. )
Sample Questions:
Type of Jewish artifact/ art:
-- Which of the following apply? (i.e.: art/sculpture/painting.; architectural; textile/clothing; monument/museum piece ; historical district; synagogue; other )

--Was this inspired by a Jewish person/or group of Jewish people? Explain the significance and connection.
--When was it created?
--What is the cultural, religious, or historical relevance?
--What makes this artifact “Jewish?”

2. Logistical Information:
--In what country is the artifact located?
-- How large or small was (and is ) the Jewish population in this area?
-- Does the artifact tell you anything about the community that it came from?

To facilitate research, involve students in using a graphic organizer to help with note taking. The following options can help you and/or your students select the graphic organizer most appropriate to the topic and to student skills:
Note Taking Graphic Organizer
Research Planning Chart
Research Paper Scaffold

Research Based Project: After completing their research, students will create a digital tour* containing photos, videos, music, text, audio and/or video to reflect the significance of the art/artifacts researched in terms of Jewish life, culture, and history. Below are several of the many programs that can be accessed to help in the creation of the slideshow:
· Picovico
· Movavi
· FreeMake Video Converter
· Microsoft PowerPoint

*As an alternative, students may be given choices as to how they wish to convey the significance of the art/artifacts. For example, they may use their findings as the inspiration for a song, they may wish to act out a story, or create a picture book. You may also give students the opportunity to determine their own avenue to share their findings as long as it meets the criteria established of of providing background into the art/artifacts and the significance of each in terms of Jewish life, culture, and history..


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

Student’s digital presentation of the art and artifacts of the Jewish people reflect the following criteria:

  • a sensitivity and appreciation for the contributions of the Jewish people throughout the diaspora
  • reflects an understanding of Jewish culture, traditions, and history.

Student Field trip and discussion reflect an understanding of the ways in which culture is transmitted and how the Jewish people preserved and maintained their Jewish identity


As a culminating event and to practically demonstrate that Jewish arts and culture are alive and present within local communities around the world, the class may visit a Jewish landmark which is prominent in the community and visited by a wide cross-section of the local community. For example, in South Florida students may wish to visit the Jewish Historical Museum which has exhibits and walking tours to highlight the Jewish life and contributions of the Jewish people from the time they first settled in South Florida.
Involve students in a discussion of how the this museum helped to capture much of what they learned about the Jewish people over time and place.

Lesson Contributors

Katura Trapp, Hillel Community School