What does it mean to be a part of the Jewish people? What are examples of other “peoples”? How are those different or the same as the Jews?
Is it a geographic determination or a genetic one? Based on a sacred task?
Are ‘the Jews’ a family you are born into? Or a group that you choose to become a part of? And this: Can you opt out?
Debate: Who are the Jewish People?
- What does it mean to “look” Jewish?
- While there are not physical characteristics that all Jews share, are there other kinds of characteristics? A certain set of experiences?
- The Hebrew Mamita refers to the Holocaust as an experience that defined the Jewish people… what are positive experiences that bind the Jews together as a people?
- Why do you think “You don’t look Jewish” was meant as a compliment? How does that make you feel?
- Define the word “bond.”
- What are the bonds that make you feel connected to the people on the list?
- Is the family bond stronger than the bond of an acquaintance or even a best friend?
- What would make them feel close to that distant cousin (a family crisis? a family celebration?)
- Does one feel more connected to a distant cousin or to a best friend?
- What makes [some] family ties strong? (Shared personal history? Other?)
If in a group setting, gather kids in a circle and have each participant hold on to the end of a ball of yarn and throw ball to the other (creating a web). Convey idea that Jewish people is a Jewish family, interconnected in many ways (language, custom, culture, history) no matter how distant from one another.)
- According to Rabbi Roly Matalon, being a Jew is about “going through life in a meaningful way as a part of a community and as a part of a people.” – –
Is being a part of a people a constituent part of being Jewish? Is this sense of community the only way to ground a Jew in all the other aspects of Jewish?
- What are the most salient parts of Jewish life for you? Where does your connection to peoplehood fit in? Where does personal responsibility / identity fit in?