Ray Frank on the Importance of Belief
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Ray Frank on the Importance of Belief

Lesson Summary:

In this session, students (and their parents) will consider their beliefs about God and Judaism and reflect on the purpose of obtaining (or providing their children with) and Jewish education. Using a quote from a speech by Ray Frank, the first American Jewish woman to preach publicly from a pulpit, think about the relationship between education, community, and identity.

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 keeps us from seeing the elements that unite us.
3. Communities that understand differences, and that learn about and celebrate their shared values, are more cohesive.
4. Hearing about or confronting opinions that differ from those which we hold often helps us understand our own values and beliefs more deeply.

Essential Questions:

1. How do individuals beliefs and values affect their communities?
2. How should we approach others when our beliefs conflict with theirs?
3. What is the relationship between values and education/learning?
4. How can communities help us learn about ourselves and others?

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)

  • Copies of Ray Frank s sermon or the selected quotation
  • paper
  • pens/pencils 
OPTIONAL: Invite your rabbi as a guest speaker.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

•Participants will know and be able to articulate why Ray Frank thought it was important to educate children.
• Participants will be able to articulate their own ideas about the goals and purpose of Jewish education.
• Participants will share ideas openly with one another, even if they conflict or disagree.


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.