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Tikkun Olam

2014 Theme Honors 100th Anniversary
The American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee

Four Chaplains

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Education And Resources

Teacher Curriculum

If you would like to submit a lesson plan, please email Abby Schwartz.


A Nation of Immigrants: Coming to America and Making a Home (1824-1924)
In 1824, the American Jewish community was minuscule, not only compared to the American population as a whole, but as a percentage of world Jewry.  By 1924, however, American Jews represented over three percent of the total American population and almost a third of the world Jewish population.  The story of these immigrants is the quintessential American story: coming to the New World in search of opportunity, to escape persecution, and to make a permanent home. 

Exhibit Panels: “Immigration Waves and Communal Growth;” “Quest for Success;” case with Emma Lazarus material; Timeline

Ohio Social Studies Standards:

People in Societies Standard
Grade 10
Point 5

Acts of Citizenship: American Jews and Military Service
Throughout American Jewish history, American Jews served their country in devotion and their service was painstakingly documented and widely publicized as a manifestation of their fidelity to their nation.

Exhibit Panels: “Acts of Citizenship”; “Prejudice and Response”

Ohio Standards Correlation:

People in Societies Standard
Grade 8
Point 2, 6

American Jews and Antisemitism
Identifying the roots and expressions of American antisemitism, as well as the responses of American Jews to antisemitism, allows for a better understanding of the American Jewish experience. It also provides a springboard for discussion about issues of prejudice and discrimination against other minority groups in American history and life.

Exhibit Panel Correlation: "Prejudice and Response;" "Minority Rights and Majority Rule"

Ohio Standards Correlation:

History Standard: Grade 10, Points 9-14
People in Societies Standard: Grade 8, Point 2
People in Societies Standard: Grade 10, Point 1

American Jews and Civil Rights
Over the past three centuries, American Jews have committed themselves to numerous political and social causes, both at home and abroad. In the second half of the 20th century, American Jews were particularly active in the movements associated with civil rights (at home) and Soviet Jewry (abroad).

Exhibit Panel Correlation: "Minority Rights and Majority Rule"

Ohio Standards Correlation:

History Standard: Grade 10, Points 14
People in Societies Standard: Grade 10, Point 1
People in Societies Standard: Grade 10, Point 4

American Jews and the Holocaust
What did the United States government know about the Final Solution? When and how did American Jews find out about Nazi atrocities? Could either the U.S. government or the American Jewish community have done more to help save European Jewry? These are the questions that drive discussions of American Jewry and the Holocaust.

Exhibit Panel Correlation: "Prejudice and Response;" "Minority Rights and Majority Rule"

Ohio Standards Correlation:

History Standard: Grade 9, Point 11
History Standard: Grade 10, Point 11
People in Societies Standard: Grade 10, Point 2

Jewish Immigration Out West
These new immigrants came without important business connections and were generally very poor. Many of them became peddlers in the cities and countryside, and many left the Eastern Seaboard cities to explore inland. They peddled in the South, beyond the Appalachians, in the Midwest and Far West, where Jews were among the first settlers in many towns.

Exhibit Panel Correlation: "Immigration Waves and Communal Growth"

Ohio Standards Correlation:

History Standard: Grade 8, Point 8
People in Societies Standard: Grade 8, Point 6
Geography Standard: Grade 8, Point 3
Geography Standard: Grade 10, Point 1

Jews in America at a Time of Growth and Change: Forging New Frontiers
The turn of the century in America toward the 1900s was a time of growth in population, industry and invention. The following is just a sample of some of the profound changes in America at the turn of the 20th century. The Jewish story fits into this wider context of growth and development.

Exhibit Panel Correlation: "Quest for Success;" Computer Kiosk

Ohio Standards Correlation:

History: Grade 10, Point 1
Geography: Grade 10, Point 2

Promised Lands: American Zionism
With the emergence of the modern Zionism movement in the late 19th century, American Jews, living in the promised land of the United States, wrestled with their relationship to the Land of Israel as a haven and home, possibly for themselves but more significantly for their European Jewish brethren.

The First Jews in America
The American Jewish community began as a small band of approximately two dozen refugees fleeing Brazil in 1654. They arrived in New Amsterdam, which later became New York City, and faced discrimination, most notably from New Amsterdam governor Peter Stuyvesant, in their attempts to establish their businesses in trading and commerce.

Exhibit Panel Correlation: "The Beginnings of a Community"

Ohio Standards Correlation:

People in Societies Standard: Grade 8, Point 1
People in Societies Standard: Grade 8, Point 6
Government Standard: Grade 8, Point 1

Triangle Fire and Labor Movement
The Triangle Shirtwaist Company was a factory in which Jewish owners hired Jewish workers. On March 26, 1911, the Triangle Factory fire killed over 140 young women and girls. The fire gave a powerful impetuous to the growth of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union [ILGWU].

Ohio Standards Correlation:

History: Grade 10, Point 1
History: Grade 10, Point 2
History: Grade 10, Point 3

Chaplain Alexander Goode:
The poster and accompanying lesson profiles U.S. Army Chaplain Alexander Goode, a rabbi who gave his life in service to his country during World War II. One of the famed "Four Chaplains," Rabbi Goode along with three Christian chaplains gave his life to save soldiers on board the transport ship Dorchester when it was torpedoed and sunk in 1943. Focus is on the role of the military during periods of crisis and the ultimate sacrifice that some individuals chose to make in service to their country.

Grade 7-12

Israel's Independence:
A downloadable poster features the spontaneous celebration on May 14, 1948 when eight-year-old Oren Zinder raised a new flag on Embassy Row-- the flag of the State of Israel.

Accompanying lesson materials including classroom worksheets focusing on the importance of teen social activism both then and now, and the role that teens played in rallying public support of the new State. Educational focus on the history of the creation of the state of Israel and its relationship with the United States.

Grade 5-12

Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City:
The poster tells stories of members of the Jewish community living and serving in the nation's capital during the Civil War--for both the Union and Confederacy. A Medal of Honor winner and well as a southern spy are featured.

Grade 6-12

Writing Home: A Letter from an early American Jew
We know little about Rebecca Samuel, the author of our featured document this month, outside of what her letters provide for us: a slice of her life as a Jewish woman in early America. In this letter, originally written in Yiddish in the 1790s to her parents in Hamburg, Germany, Samuel describes her life in Petersburg, Virginia. She vividly portrays the challenges of keeping a Jewish household, her wishes for her children, and her excitement about the prospect of moving to Charleston, South Carolina. Our lessons this month use Rebecca Samuel’s captivating letter as a centerpiece for interactive sessions about Jewish immigration and the development of the Jewish community in America.

For youth, family/congregational and adults

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890
Ray Frank (1861-1948), called the "Girl Rabbi of the Golden West," became the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit in 1890, when she delivered sermons for the High Holy Days in Spokane, WA. Although the language of her Yom Kippur sermon may sound old fashioned, Frank's message remains both relevant and compelling.

For middle school, high school, family/congregational, adults and adult women

"We Have Found You Wanting": Labor Activism and Communal Responsibility
A Jewish immigrant activist and a lifelong advocate for the rights of workers and of women, Rose Schneiderman shaped the American labor movement. Known as a powerful orator, Schneiderman used her speeches – such as the one she delivered in April, 1911 to protest the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire – to galvanize leaders and ordinary citizens to action on behalf of workers, immigrants, and other disadvantaged members of society. This edition of Go & Learn uses Schneiderman's speech and life example to explore our communal and individual responsibilities for the well being of others in our midst.

For youth, family/congregational and adults

Jewish American Heritage Month May 2010 Lesson
Using the Internet and other resources in your classroom and media center, research and respond to questions about Jewish American Heritage Month.

Credit: Image Courtesy of American Memory

"The Industrial Age in America: Sweatshops, Steel Mills, and Factories
About a century has passed since the events at the center of this lesson—the Haymarket Affair, the Homestead Strike, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. For some people in our nation, these incidents illustrated the unfair conditions faced by workers as the United States assumed its position as the most highly industrialized nation in the world. For others, they demonstrated the difficulty of managing industries. Such disagreements continue to this day. Where do we draw the line between acceptable business practices and unacceptable working conditions? Can an industrial—and indeed a post-industrial—economy succeed without taking advantage of those who do the work?

George Washington's Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island
Though Colonial America was more tolerant of religious diversity than Europe, it had not yet become a beacon of religious liberty. The absence of liberty weighed on the minds of people like Moses Seixas, Warden of the Jeshuat Israel Synagogue in Rhode Island.

Highlighting religious freedom from the colonies to early controversies, landmark Supreme Court cases, and current events, this resource will help your students explore the history of religious liberty in America and its ongoing importance.

Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina
This 4th and 8th grade public school curriculum prepared by the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina complies with North Carolina standards, People of North America. The material is in a pdf with lesson plans and two YouTube videos, all downloadable from the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina's website. The material can be used in any state since it covers the push and pull factors of immigration which were similar across the country.

Note: The curriculum states that all Americans came from somewhere else, except Native Americans. In fact, all Americans come from somewhere else. The latest research suggests that Native American ancestors are now thought to have come by sea to the Americas.

The pdfs and YouTube videos can be found by clicking on this link:



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