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MFS – Additional Resources



Optional Lessons and Additional Resources

These lessons, while not mandatory, can add a great deal of depth to your My Family Story program. They can be paired with an existing lesson, be a stand-alone lesson, or can be sent home for an at-home family assignment.

Students write down family recipes to put together a class recipe book. Students should think of a special dish they enjoy that is eaten in their family for events or holidays. This dish can have a Jewish significance (Hanukkah latkes or Passover haroset), or it can be a dish they eat on holidays or birthdays, that doesn’t have a specific Jewish connection. Encourage students to think of the story behind the recipe, and print out the recipe and story on the same page, along with their name. The story they write can include:

  • When they first had this dish
  • What special occasion they eat it
  • Who makes it? Did they learn how to make it?
  • What is unique about this dish that makes it special
  • Photos of them making or eating it, or of previous generations making and eating it
  • Ask a family member what the origins of this dish are, and when their family first made it

All students should submit to the teacher, who will combine the recipes in a class cookbook to share with families. 

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Diverse Families: Ruth Explores Her Roots

Lesson PDF available here

Through the My Family Story lessons and activities, students may become sensitive to the diversity of children of Jews by choice, or children of interfaith marriages. Students will explore the Jewish imperative to treat those with varying Jewish backgrounds with sensitivity and respect. Students will understand that the story of every Jew, irrespective of their background, is part of the greater story of the Jewish people.

The reality for many Jewish American/ Australian/ South African [replace with the country in which you live] families today is that their family story is not straightforward. Some students may have parents who are Jews by choice, or have maintained their religious affiliations outside of Judaism but support their children receiving a Jewish education or upbringing. This is a unit specially designed not just for teachers who feel that additional material is necessary for addressing the conflicting emotions some of their students may feel, but for teachers who wish to emphasize the need for sensitivity on the part of all students when interacting with other Jews who have backgrounds different from their own. Using both of the texts as well as the comics in this lesson along with the discussion questions can provide greater meaning and understanding for all types of Jewish families.