Jewish Time Jump: The Immigrant Experience (Module #1)
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Jewish Time Jump: The Immigrant Experience (Module #1)

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Lesson Summary:

The Jewish Time Jump: New York lesson plans were created by Jewish Women's Archive in partnership with ConverJent: Games for Learning. There are four modular lesson plans for 5-7 grade that can be used on their own, or in conjunction with the place-based augmented reality game Jewish Time Jump: New York which is currently available on iPhone and iPad.

The four lessons include:
The Immigrant Experience in NYC, 1880-1920 (Module #1)
Strikes and Unions (Module #2)
Judaism, Text Study, and Labor (Module #3)
Contemporary Labor Issues (Module #4)

In this module, students will consider the economic and social forces that shaped Jewish immigrants everyday lives and meet real-life workers and factory owners.

Enduring Understandings:

1. Individuals flee countries of origin to escape social, economic, religious, and political oppression.
2. While some immigrants were able to fulfill their dreams in America, others discovered that the opportunities they were searching for in the United States were not readily and equally available to all immigrants.
3. Access to work and a sustainable income were essential for immigrants to lead happy, healthy lives.

Essential Questions:

1. What motivated Jewish immigrants to move from their home countries to the United States?
2. What was it like to be a garment factory worker in early 20th century New York?
3. What was it like to be a garment factory owner in early 20th century New York?
4. How did employees’ and employers’ experiences differ from one another?
5. How did some young immigrants’ experiences differ from the experiences of young Jews today? 6. What aspects of work did immigrants find rewarding and what did they find challenging?

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


(accessible via link below, in "procedure" section)

  • Photos for Photo activity
  • Observations and Impressions Worksheet
  • Writing Letters Home Worksheet
  • A Day in the Life of a Teenager Worksheet
  • copies of primary sources for document study
  • white board or butcher paper
  • paper
  • pens/pencils


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

• Students will know and be able to describe the reasons why some immigrants choose to leave their countries of origin.
• Students will be able to explain the benefits and challenges of moving to a new place to pursue freedom and economic opportunity.
• Students will be able to begin to articulate the different priorities and interests held by workers and employers.
• Students will know details about the experiences of immigrants living in New York tenements at the turn of the century.


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