One - Fifty Minute Class Period
- describe the work of selected individuals in honoring the divinely-created humanity of others.
- define the values inherent in the described efforts of identified people and organizations
- detail and explain their personal commitment to support one of the programs.
Optional - as identified in Extensions below.
Write the word TOLERANCE on the display board or wall chart paper. Ask each learner to contribute to a working collective definition of tolerance, by sharing what it might look like in “real life”. Record their responses as they are being shared. The following questions can be used to provide prompts to initiate learner responses, i.e. What does it look like on the school bus or in the lunchroom or on the ball field? What does it look like in the classroom with students with varied needs and backgrounds? What does it look like when you are approached by a beggar or a person who seems to be behaving unusually?
- Following the allotted time for this activity, pointing to the recorded responses, engage the learners in a whole class discussion centered around the question: “If we truly are tolerant of other people, what does that mean we have to do?” or “If you consider yourself a tolerant person, what do you do to demonstrate it?”
- Share with the learners that it can be very helpful to watch and learn from those “who have been there and are doing that”. Tell students that the activity of this lesson is to learn from people who have found amazing ways of demonstrating the highest form of tolerance – considering people with empathy and dignity.
- Distribute a copy of Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories to each learner and assign one of the organizations listed there to each student (or small group of students) asking them to develop a value(s) statement(s) related to their organization-- how those involved in the organization demonstrate the dignity with which we would want to be treated.
Teacher Note: It is important that as many of the listed organization be “researched” and reported on as possible in order to provide a broader awareness of the existence of such organizations.
- Following the “research” of the chosen or assigned organizations and the written completion of the values statements, have those who “researched” and responded to the same organization share their writings.
Teacher Note: The value statements might be duplicative, which is alright, but they should emphasize the ethical treatment of others, based upon fulfilling the emotional and physical needs of others in ways that are tolerant and empathic.
- Those not involved in the actual “research” of the particular organization being presented, should utilize the Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories to take notes so that upon completion of this portion of the activity, each learner has some understanding of each organization.
- Distribute Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work and tell the learners that they have now all heard and made notes concerning each of the organizations that appear on Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories Tell the learners that their homework is to select one of the organizations (it does not need to be the same one on for which they did original “research” and report) and respond to the questions found on Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work
- Identify and share a completion date for this assignment at which time each learner will be required to briefly share their selected organization and response to the question - What will you do and how will you do it? - followed by a question-and-answer whole group reflection.
- Optional - Assign a time frame in which the learners are to implement their proposed plans (See Attachment Two, last question) and report back to the class on the results of their implementation.
Learner involvement in total and small group discussions, the depth of thought and understanding evidenced in the learner’s responses to Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work and the manner and seriousness in which the learner presents his/her homework assignment, will form the basis for assessment in this lesson.
Lesson Developed By:Shira Hammerman
The Rambam taught that loving one’s neighbor as oneself meant that what we wanted for ourselves is what we should want for others.
The following people and groups demonstrate their caring for others in ways that are creative and inspiring. Each fulfils the Rambam’s definition of love for others by understanding peoples’ needs and attempting to fulfill them.
Read about each person/ group and the work they do. Select one that most appeals to you and indicate how they demonstrate the empathy with which we would want to be treated.
The act, the mitzvah, they do
What is there about what they do that you would want for yourself? Your answer should be in terms of the values* provided. Second Wind Dreams
Make dreams come true for people in nursing homes. Gift of Life Foundation
Run bone marrow testing drives and make matches. Songs of Love
Provide personalized songs for children with life-threatening and terminal illnesses. Rock & Wrap it Up!
Collect leftover food from major events and distribute them to hungry people. Shoes that Fit
Provide shoes for children who can not afford a new pair. A School for Iqbal
Middle School students who fight child labor. Ground Swell Mural
Encourages people to use their talents and combine them with community activism. Locks of Love
Provides wigs for children with permanent hair loss. Mayaworks
Provides employment and microloans for Mayan women.
*Remember that these value statements should not be about possessions (clothes, money), but about values such as understanding, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, respect, tolerance, etc.
Select one of the organizations that you heard about in this lesson.
• Which did you choose?
• What does the organization do?
• What can you learn about caring for people from what they do?
• What can you learn about your ability to do similar work?
• Is there a local group that does similar work?
• How can you connect to the national or local group to help support their work?
• What do they need? Money? Goods?
• What could you do and how would you do it?
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