Civic Responsibility 2020

The Jewish Education Project

A roll of I Voted stickers

As we approach this year's presidential elections, we offer the following selected resources about Civic Education and Engagement in Jewish Education. Our goal is to shine a spotlight on a few non-partisan resources being offered through Jewish organizations and others that we believe can be of value to educators and families at this time. These materials build off our resources and recordings from the Jewish Futures Conference 2017: For Which It Stands, in partnership with the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, which focused on civic values and engagement. 

We hope that these resources and your efforts to engage your students and your children will further foster our belief about civic responsibility and the democratic process, that every citizen has the right to vote and that every citizen should vote. 

As David Bryfman, our CEO said leading up to our 2017 conference, "For Jewish education to be meaningful and relevant in today’s political climate, we must clearly commit to applying our tradition and wisdom to the greater society in which we live. To do this, we need to bring together voices, some familiar, others less so, who will push us to address the big questions that all Americans are being called to answer."

This is a changing and growing resource. Please let us know how you use it. Send your comments and recommendations of other educational resources to onlineresources@jewishedproject.org.

Updated 10-29-20

From The Jewish Education Project

ALL EDUCATION IS POLITICAL. JEWISH EDUCATION SHOULD BE, TOO. | David Bryfman | Forward

"For 21st century education to be relevant and meaningful, then it must empower our youth to be active and vibrant members of the societies in which they live.

The same holds for Jewish education."

Dr. David Bryfman is the CEO of The Jewish Education Project

 

AND YOU SHALL TEACH YOUR CHILDREN… Civic Responsibility, Leadership, and Civil Discourse | Ellen Rank, Educational Consultant | The Jewish Education Project

This guide through Jewish texts focuses on three critical themes at this time. Divided by grade level (K-4, 5-8, 9-12) with discussion questions for each text. Prepared especially for parents who are often the frontline educators for their children, especially now. Also helpful for educators looking to engage with the questions and possible answers from our tradition.

 

INTRODUCING YOUNG CHILDREN INTO THE CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY AND CITIZENSHIP | Sasha Kopp, Community Educational Consultant for Early Childhood and Family Engagement | The Jewish Education Project

A guide for Early Childhood educators which provides practical ideas (including a mock election) to explore themes and concepts relating to elections from both a universal and Jewish lens. Also recently published by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) as part of their "Our Votes. Their Futures" campaign.

 


Featured Resources

FREE & FAIR: OUR DUTY TO DEMOCRACY | Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah

Free and Fair - Our Duty to Democracy logo

Powered by Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah in partnership with ignite: action, a new initiative and campaign to empower the Jewish American community to navigate this extraordinary election cycle. Designed to serve as a clearinghouse of trusted resources that the Jewish community can turn to in the following three areas:

  1. Educating the community about rules and procedures uniquely relevant to this election cycle;
  2. Promoting trainings that will prepare communal leaders in ways that put democracy before partisanship;
  3. Encouraging Jewish organizations to close and offer paid time off on Election Day.

 

VOICE YOUR VOTE | BBYO - B'nai Brith Youth Organizations (BBG & AZA)

Voice Your Vote logo

A non-partisan campaign for BBYO communities to help ensure registration, plans, and fair access to vote on election day with roles and responsibilities for Jewish teens, including those not yet able to vote. Also includes events to learn more about the issues. 
 

 

ELECTION 2020: THROUGH JEWISH EYES, A RESPONSE CURRICULUM | Jewish Education Center of Cleveland (JECC)

Jewish Education Center of Cleveland logo

Designed to help educators identify and explore with their students three main concepts within the context of the upcoming general election: Jewish views on leadership, Jewish views on good government, and Jewish activity in the political system. Originally developed in 2016, updated in 2020, and appropriate for Middle and High School Students.

 

MAHLOKET MATTERS: NAVIGATING INNER CHALLENGES AND SOCIETAL DISCORD THROUGH JEWISH TEXTS AND SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING | Pardes

How to argue constructively

Mahloket Matters integrates Jewish text study and Social Emotional Learning to equip students with cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal skills to better manage internal and external conflicts, which have been intensified in today's toxic environment of political polarization and demonization of the other. In partnership with The Jewish Education Project, the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators is sharing Unit 1 of this curriculum free of charge (after you complete a short form). The three lessons, geared for 5th-8th and 9th-12th graders, can be used individually or in sequence, with a class or at home. The full curriculum is also available in exchange for feedback - contact Sefi Kraut for more information.  

 

Civic Spirit Logo

Civic Spirit is a growing coalition of eleven Jewish and Catholic independent schools in the New York Metropolitan area committed to teaching civic virtues and building civic leadership. Civic Spirit takes a three-pronged approach to education for engaged citizenship, consisting of (1) professional development for teachers, (2) high-level academic classes for students, and (3) a community-based “action civics” project for the school.

Dr. Tamara Mann Tweel, a Co-Founder of Civic Spirit, was one of our keynote presenters at our Jewish Futures Conference. You'll find a video recording of her presentation further down on this page.

  • Developing Civic Agency: Leadership and Personal Responsibility (grades 5-8)
    Jewish, historical and contemporary sources provide the backdrop to uncover and examine key components of leadership and personal responsibility. Adapted from Civic Spirit's Civics-Learning-in-a-Box and is suitable for class and home settings. 
  • Civil Discourse: Love Thy Neighbor (grades 5-8)
    Adapted from Civic Spirit’s Civics-Learning-in-a-Box model, includes texts and tools designed to enhance student understanding and engagement in civil discourse through the lens of Jewish texts. Also provides a 5-Step Framework that will support young tweens in developing civic agency.
  • The First Amendment (grades 9-12)
    Case studies, sources, and discussion prompts to gain a fuller understanding of the First Amendment. Designed for class use and can be easily used at home.
  • Media Literacy Challenge; Can You Trust Your News Feed? (grades 9-12)
    Many of us are primarily exposed to articles, messages, and posts that reinforce our existing way of thinking. There is tremendous power in understanding the logic of "the other side" for the purposes of problem-solving. This lesson guides students to create a newsletter reflective of multiple perspectives on a civic issue.
  • Restoring Faith in Democracy (grades 9-12)
    A guide to developing individual and group prayers for America and Democracy, drawing on examples of liturgy from Jewish and other traditions. 

 

CIVILLY SPEAKING: A CURRICULUM ON CIVIL DISCOURSE | Covenant Foundation

The Covenant Foundation logo

A six-lesson curriculum, commissioned by the Covenant Foundation in 2019 and written by master Jewish educators Joel Lurie Grishaver and Ira J. Wise, on the topic of teaching civil discourse, with Jewish and general material appropriate for 6th/7th grades, 8-10th grades, and 11th grade-adult students.

 

JEWISH TEXTS ON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT | Religious Action Center (RAC) and NFTY (Reform Youth)

Religious Action Center 2020 Civic Engagement Logo

A varied collection of eight different Jewish texts and commentaries, traditional and contemporary, each with a set of discussion questions. Appropriate for teen and adult learning.

 

 

TEACHING KIDS ABOUT VOTING AND ELECTION DAY | PJ Library

PJ Library logo

This collection of books and family activities can help teach young children about the importance of elections, voting, forming their own opinions, and even arguing (or dialogue and discussion with others:). There are also PJ Library book suggestions that relate to issues and the Jewish values that may be represented on the ballot.

 

TEACHING RESOURCES FOR THE 2020 US ELECTION | Facing History and Ourselves

Facing History and Ourselves logo

Facing History offers a number of Teaching Ideas, resources, and workshops divided into six areas including "Understand Voting Rights" and "Make Informed Decisions." All materials include appropriate grades and settings.

 

TEACHING ABOUT ELECTIONS | ADL

Anti-Defamation League logo

A collection of education resources including lesson plans, tools and strategies, family resources, and other election-related content, for middle and high school student, designed to assist teachers and parents teach and talk about before, during, and after elections. 

 

REMOTE LEARNING TOOLKIT FOR FAMILIES | iCivics (Be sure to look through the rest of the site as well.)

iCivics logo

 

This set of non-partisan games and resources for younger children and families is designed to increase knowledge, interest, and engagement in issues relating to government and promoting civil conversation. iCivics was founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

 

 

Other resources:

  • MitzVote: Jewish Civic Education Resources | Hillel International | Designed for College students but may be appropriate for High School use
    MitzVote has developed resource modules to infuse civic engagement and voting into your Jewish education and programming. Each topic module includes Jewish, historic, and contemporary texts along with discussion questions. Each also includes recommended next-step action items for participating students. 
     
  • Vote by Design | Voting By Design
    A free immersive, non-partisan, digital learning experience designed to promote more civic engagement, agency, and action among all voters, and particularly next-gen voters. The project was incubated and launched in the fall of 2019 by an interdisciplinary team of educators at the Stanford d.school. The curriculum has since been delivered in high schools, universities, and community organizations across the country. Includes:
  • My Political Autobiography | Essential Partners
    This is a workbook designed to help students (and adults) think through and inventory the values and beliefs that shape their political views. It can be a meaningful opportunity for students to engage in dialogue with their parents about voting.
     

Remote video URL

Details

Area of Work

  • EC - Early Childhood
  • FE - Family Engagement
  • DS&Y - Day Schools and Yeshivas
  • CL - Congregational Learning
  • AS&B - After School and Beyond
  • T - Teens

Resource Type

  • Guide

Resource Topic

  • Civic Education

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