Judaism in a Nutshell



Prior to a chapter on Jews in Medieval Europe (England for me, France and Germany for my history colleague), I tought it would be wise to revise or introduce a few basics about Judaism.

I have settled on a matching exercise: the students will have to match 31 terms and their definitions. I have also added a few pictures. I realize however that it is not easy to select the words and notions I want them to understand and remember.

If you were in my shoes, what terms would you have chosen?

24 thoughts on “Judaism in a Nutshell

  1. Petit clin d’oeil chalonnais, hein ?
    En tout cas, bonne idée, l’un des “basics” pour moi c’est évidemment “shabbath”, la base de tout.

  2. In addition to the aforementioned (Torah, kosher, Shabbat, and mitzvah), I would also include Eretz Yisrael; Yerushalayim; prayer; tzedakah; and maybe something about the festivals (especially Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Pesach).

  3. Chesed, galut/diaspora – in the sense that all Jews have common origins but have spread all over the world, shul/bet knesset/synagogue, rabbi, Ashkenazi/Sefaradi…

    Is this for English class? I’m a bit confused…

    • It is an English class but we focus on civilization a lot, or/and literature.
      Since part of their history curriculum focuses on the Middle-Ages, I thought they could learn about Jews at that time (in England for me).
      As you rightly pointed out, they need to understand what “diaspora” means, among other concepts (shabbat and kosher too to understand why Jews live in a community). I hope this answers your question.
      I have already included all the terms you mention, ususally favoring the English one.

  4. Ooo – everyone’s come up with such great terms, I think the core terms are mentioned already. Here are a few peripheral terms that I might include:
    tefillin, tallis, candles, blessings, study, learning partner, custom, unique dress (I was thinking that’s more applicable to English Jews in the medievel era), hats, beards (!).

    31 terms is a lot, it seems. Your students will be very knowledgeable after this unit. 🙂

    • I had already included tefillin and tallit. I should perhaps mention Shabbat rituals when we actually mention and explain the term. I should do the same with study and learning partner when we see Torah and Talmud.
      I think there are 34 terms now!
      As for being knowledgeable, I’ll let you know. We are supposed to start tomorrow.

  5. Pingback: Judaism in a Nutshell – Part II | Ilana-Davita

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