Suggested Activities for Religious Educators
The following list includes just some of the many ways you can lead your students in projects and events that expand their awareness of Jewish communities across the globe.
Please contact us when you are preparing for the activity -- we would be happy to offer support and materials. We welcome your creativity and invite you to share your ideas with us as well!
Mezuza-thon: Have the children decorate blank wooden mezuzot, or make their own from clay to send to Jewish communities in Africa, Asia or Latin America. Ask children, friends and family members to sponsor the children for the mezuzot they make to defray the cost of kosher scrolls and shipping, and to raise money for the community you plan to send the mezuzot to.
"Around the Jewish World" Party: Celebrate the many different Jewish communities of the world with different stations around a room or social hall exhibiting the food, music, culture and history of the Jewish communities Kulanu supports.
"Where in the World is Judaism?": Every week, devote a segment of the class to a short lesson on the history and culture of a Jewish community Kulanu supports (see kulanu.org/communities). Put a push pin in a world map on display in the classroom for each country/community you cover. Older children can write reports or make presentations on the communities; their research can start with the articles on the Kulanu web site.
Photo Slideshow: Show the children a multimedia slideshow from Kulanu's Phanfare website to show them a "slice of life" in a Jewish community abroad. Visit kulanu.phanfare.com to pick a slideshow of photos taken by Kulanu volunteers all over the world. You could also show this great 5-minute film about the Abayudaya schools, or check out our YouTube channel for more Kulanu videos.
Walk-A-Thon: Have the children walk around a track with markers to show the distances children in the Abayudaya Jewish community of Uganda walk to go to school ("Isaac, 12, walks 2.3 kilometers to school every day"). Have friends and family sponsor the children for a distance they choose to walk. Alternatively, have the children complete a supervised walk from a set location back to the campus to simulate how Ugandan children walk to school.
Coins for Communities: Ask children to check under the cushions of couches in their homes or to look for dropped coins in their daily lives, and collect what they find to donate to Kulanu's unrestricted fund, or a specific fund of your class's choice. You'll be surprised at how fast spare change can add up, and it's a great way to use money that would otherwise go to waste!
Tzedakah Boxes: Have the children decorate tzedakah boxes to look like the Abayudaya or Armenia synagogues; use construction paper, raffia, magic markers, or even modeling clay. You could tie this in with Coins for Communities by having children put spare change or a portion of their allowance money into the boxes.
Vocabulary Flashcards: Create Hebrew/English (or Hebrew/Spanish for El Salvador if you give the children a vocabulary list to write off of) flashcards with colorful illustrations for children in the Abayudaya community or in El Salvador to use in learning Hebrew. Be sure to laminate!
Merutz Meshuga (Crazy Race): Instead of the usual charity relay race, have children join teams to run a relay race where at each station, they have to do something silly before running to the next station. Pie-eating contests, human pyramids, doing a silly dance, and water balloon toss are all fun ideas for stations.
Personal Fundraising Pages: This new easy-to-use webpage program can help children raise money for team or individual fundraising events for Kulanu. Can be used in conjunction with the Mezuza-thon, Merutz Meshuga, Walk-A-Thon, or other events. It's also great for Mitzvah projects; check out what David Uhlfelder of Colorado is doing to raise money for the Abayudaya Elementary School here! (Go to www.kulanu.org/donate for a link to the Abayudaya Schools Fundraiser.)
Thank you for sharing Kulanu's work with your students!