Shavuot Prayers – Roman Jewish Community 1450


How was Shavuot celebrated in the oldest European Jewish community? This resource offers learners a window into the life of 15th century Rome, where an illustrated machzor depicts the receiving of the Torah at Sinai with an Italian spin. (The link in the Expanding your horizons section is particularly helpful for unpacking the image.) After studying the image of the machzor, students will choose a Shavuot related text, Consider its message and create an interpretive illustration to accompany the text.

Lesson Attachments​

The learner will:

  1. understand the ways in which an illustration can impact prayer 

  2. know what can be learned about a community and time period through an historic illustration

be able to draw an interpretive illustration to accompany a text related to Shavuot

About the National Library and its educational materials:

The mission of the National Library of Israel is to provide a home for items of national, historic or cultural significance. Each of these primary sources serve as unique entry points into the collective memory of the people of Israel as well as the Jewish people worldwide.

The education department at the library curates the collection of primary sources and uses them as windows into the past; to foster a deeper understanding of Jewish history, and to enable learners to personalize and connect to earlier events.


When you click on the National Library of Israel resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. A group activity to open the lesson and engage the learners.

  2. Discussion ideas and/or questions that are designed to get the learners thinking more deeply about the content.

  3. A creative activity that gives students the opportunity to go beyond learning and analyzing, to crafting something new, that personalizes how they relate to the  primary sources featured in the resource.

  4. The primary sources in this resource have individual links (listed in Expand your horizons below) that provide expanded information. In addition there are nuanced discussion questions that will enable students in small groups to engage independently and effectively in the process of  observing, interpreting, and connecting to the primary sources.

Student handouts, computer, projector, art supplies

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