Lesson 5 – Kabbalat Torah

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Lesson Objective:
Understand the importance of Kabbalat Torah to Liberal Jews
Compare and contrast B’nei Mitzvah and Kabbalat Torah
Consider what groups or communities they are a part of

Lesson Outcome:
By the end of the lesson, the children will have learnt about the importance of Kabbalat Torah and thought about the different groups they belong to

Resources:
Community Tree Template

 

Introduction

  • Brainstorm: What is Kabbalat Torah? Children to think about what Kabbalat Torah is and what it means to them. List on the whiteboard different thoughts and opinions. Prompt by asking questions such as: At what age does this event happen? What does it involve? Why do they think it happens at 15, not at 13?


Main Teaching

  • How does Kabbalat Torah compare to B’nei Mitzvah? – Ensure that the children understand that a significant difference between B’nei Mitzvah and Kabbalat Torah is that Kabbalat Torah is an event which you celebrate with your class and as part of a group. Why is celebrating with a group particularly special?
  • History of Kabbalat TorahWhen Kabbalat Torah was first introduced, most participants had not had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony and this was an important recognition of the students’ affirmation of Judaism. It was important for the individuals, the class and the community. Kabbalat Torah is regarded as the embodiment of our emphasis on Jewish education for Liberal Jewish boys and girls in order to encourage them to make Judaism part of their adult lives. It is also about Jewish boys and girls being free to choose what Judaism means to them. Emphasis is given on choice, where classes are given a lot of freedom to choose the make-up of their Kabbalat Torah classes and ceremony.
  • Importance of Groups – State that an important part of Kabbalat Torah is belonging to a group within the synagogue. Ask children to think about all the different groups they belong to. Examples could include: family, synagogue, school, school clubs, sports club, scouts / beavers / brownies, youth club etc.


Activity

  • Option 1: Create a Community Tree – Show children how to create a Community Tree, creating branches and fruit, where each piece of fruit represents one group or community that they belong to. Children can write the names of the groups on the fruit or around the branches. Each branch can grow leaves to show other members / friends who belong to the same groups as them. (Children may like to use the templateor draw their own version and decorate it the way they wish).
  • Option 2: Write a Poem/Rap – Children to write a poem or rap about a special group that they belong to and why it is important for them to belong to it.


Plenary

  • What comes next? – Children to make a list of the different groups that they might belong to in the future. Discuss why these groups might change as they get older.