Ray Frank on Klal Yisrael
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Ray Frank on Klal Yisrael

Lesson Summary:

A lesson plan from the Jewish Women's Archive: Ray Frank (1861-1948), called the "Girl Rabbi of the Golden West," became the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit in 1890, when she delivered sermons for the High Holy Days in Spokane, WA. Although the language of her Yom Kippur sermon may sound old fashioned, Frank s message remains both relevant and compelling.

Enduring Understandings:

  1. Though Jews share a common religion and text (the Torah), Jews connect with and practice Judaism in a variety of different ways. 
  2. Focusing on the things that make us different sometimes keep us from seeing the elements that unite us.

Essential Questions:

  1. What does it mean to be united? 
  2. When is it important to try and reconcile differences within a community, and when is it better to be different from one another?

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)

  • Copies of "A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady" 
  • copies of Talmudic excerpts 
  • images of Jews from around the world for Klal Yisrael project
  • white board or butcher paper


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

  • Students will be able to explain the benefits and challenges of following the same traditions or rules inside a community or group of people. 
  • Students will be able to articulate a time in their own lives when they witnessed or addressed disagreement in the communities of which they are a part. 
  • Students will be able to explain how and if Ray Frank s suggestions are relevant to issues they see in their communities today.


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 jwa.org 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 jwa.org.