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Birchot Hanehenin – Blessings of Enjoyment

Abstract

How can our prayers affect the way we observe and appreciate the world? In this resource, learners will study the blessings that are recited over all sorts of things that we enjoy, as well as those said upon experiencing unique and extraordinary things in the natural world. An engaging way to begin this lesson is by showing pictures (see attachment below) of things that inspire wonder,interest,or enjoyment and inviting students to describe the different feelings the pictures evoke for them. Students will then engage in thought provoking questions such as why we recite blessings over these things and how these blessings strengthen our “muscles” of appreciating the world and its wonders. Additionally, an outing to a nature area will sensitize students to the beauty and wonder of our environment. Students can incorporate a “tourist”- guide” sensory experience and/or a photography activity (see suggested activities for more details) to further enhance the learning experience.

Lesson Attachments​

The learner will:

  1. Understand why Judaism emphasizes the centrality of appreciation of and gratitude for the natural world

  2. know the various blessings of enjoyment traditionally recited in Jewish prayers

  3. be able to to create a “Wonder Journal”, in which they document items they observe over the course of a day for which they are grateful and then choose one item from their list and compose a bracha that expresses their appreciation for it.

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. Further Study options linked to JEBD materials and related links

Student handout, computer, projector

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