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The Exodus Narrative as an Inspiration in Modern History

Abstract

In the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “The Pesach story has been the West’s most influential sourcebook of liberty.”  How has the story of the Exodus affected other nations and their struggle for freedom? This resource features Bob Marley’s song Exodus and Martin Luther King’s I’ve Been To The Mountaintop speech, which will spark student interest in the Exodus’s impact on our times.  Learners will study a selection from Natan Scharansky’s autobiography as well as additional contemporary texts, and discuss how the Exodus has been the source of and inspiration for many modern Jewish and non Jewish liberation movements and events. (See background for teacher for additional information.) Suggested activities include an in-class presentation by a former Soviet refusenik, a student-prepared video presentation on Martin Luther King’s speech and student selection of passages from the Pesach Haggadah which they feel most powerfully convey the messages of the Exodus.

The learner will:

  1. Understand the national and universal messages that emerge from the Exodus story

  2. know specific examples of how the Exodus and its messages continue to resonate in our contemporary world, not only in social-political arenas but in the arts as well.

  3. be able to create a presentation about the use of the story of Exodus as a source of inspiration for freedom in more contemporary history

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

Student handouts, computer, projector

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