Activity: Two Jews, Three Opinions – by Rachel Cooklin.

Aims:

  • To encourage discussion and debate of unique and individual opinions.
  • To celebrate diversity of opinion
  • To encourage tolerance and active listening.

Age: This programme could work for all ages, amended questions per age group below.  

Resources Needed: 5 or more A5 envelopes, post it notes, pens.

Method

 ‘Two Jews equals three opinions’ this famous joke embodies us as Jews - an opinion on everything. Although many see this as a destructive way to be I believe it can be a truly beneficial way to bring us together - the value of the individual. This activity aims to encourage discussion and debate of unique and individual opinions.

Question

Key Stage 1

(School Year 1-3)

Key Stage 2

(School Year 4-6)

Key Stage 3

(School Year 7-11)

Key Stage 4

(School Year 12-13)

Who is your role model?

Who is your hero?

Who is your hero?

   

What is the best part about being Jewish?

What makes you happy?

     

Would you rather have feet for hands or hands for feet?

       

How many hours a day do you feel Jewish?

What is your favourite part of the day?

What is your favoirite part of the day?

   

Do you think that the Jewish State should have been in Uganda?

What is your favourite place?

What is your favourite place?

   

 

 

Please feel free to add/remove/alter these questions as appropriate for your groups age / ability / applicability etc.

Method: Key Stage 1-2

Print out the sheet below and give to each child in groups of 3-5.

Ask each child to draw/write their answer

Once they have finished, in small groups ask them to share their answers.

Point out any differences or similarities.

Ask children if they are happy to share some of their choices for each question. Once each question has been discussed, ask if anyone has changed their minds.

 

Method: Key Stage 3+

Tape 5 (or more if you feel it will enhance the activity for your group) envelopes to the wall at different points around the room, on each envelope write a different question.

Once these envelopes are on the wall give each participant post-it notes and a pen . Get them to write their answer to each question on the paper and then post it in the envelope - don't write your name on the paper!

Then gather everyone together as a group again (depending on the size this is also effective in smaller groups where each group gets a different envelope and then switch envelopes once they have been discussed - this may require altering the discussion points to be written down so the participants can do this independently)

Elaboration points and discussion on these questions (this may work better if the questions are directed to the group as a whole, this forces the participants to understand another person’s point of view. For further development of tolerance you may want to consider getting a participant to argue for the opposite perspective):

    1. Why is this person a role model? What quality makes them a leader? What quality would you change about them and why?
    2. Why do you feel that way? Do you think another group of Jews would value the same thing as you? (e.g chareidim, unaffiliated, modern-orthodox etc - please ensure no bashing of other groups occurs here!)
    3. What would have more impact on your life? Do you need your feet or your hands more?
    4. Why this number? Does sleep count? Does work count? For example, being nice to everyone etc.
    5. Why? Separation of ‘church’ and state debate. Can lead on to further discussion about Zionism if the madrich/a feels it is appropriate for the group

 

Conclusion – Key Stage 1-2

Ask the children if they enjoyed the activity and if they enjoyed telling everyone else their answers.

Then ask if they enjoyed hearing the answers from the other children.

Discuss how they felt when people agreed or disagreed with them.

Talk about the importance of listening to others, how sometimes more than one person can be right and how important it is to accept other people’s thoughts and ideas.

Either show a real lulav or etrog, or a picture and talk about how it is made of 4 different species, which you wouldn’t think to put together – but when they are together they complement each other and allow us to fulfil the Mitzvot of Sukkot. Together, they are much stronger than they would be separately.

 

Conclusion – Key Stage 3+

Think about these quotes:

  • “The Rabbis of the Mishnah say, “An argument which is for the sake of Heaven will have a positive outcome, and an argument which is not for the sake of Heaven will not have a positive outcome.” – Avot 5.20
  • “These and these are the words of the living God." – Eruvin 13b
  • “Every human being is different. Each has his own needs, wants, desires, passions which serve to complement an influence our own experiences. This realisation not only heightens our empathy towards each other but sets each person a mission.” Yoni Jesner

Discuss the value Judaism places on debate and discussion, how important it is to both have the courage of your convictions but also be able to actively listen to other’s view points.

 

About Rachel Cooklin

Rachel Cooklin was the Yoni Jesner Scholar 2017-18 and spent her gap year at Midreshet HaRova with Bnei Akiva on Torani. She went to Yavneh College and next year will be reading History at UCL. Rachel loves playing netball and being part of her local community in Mill Hill.

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