Abstract

Maimonides said that the shofar is an antidote for the “slumber” of everyday life. Why do people have a tendency to “sleepwalk” through their daily lives? How does the sound of the shofar “awaken” them?  In this resource  learners will discuss why it is vital to engage in the process of cheshbon nefesh (soul searching) before making changes in one’s life, and will also delineate the underlying causes that interfere with this process. Learning activities such as responding to the prompts on a deck of “Old year, New year” cards, as well as brainstorming what the shofar awakens within themselves (see attachments below), jump start the cheshbon nefesh process, and will add meaning to the shofar experience.

The learner will:

  1. Understand why soul searching is a valuable tool for self-improvement, while also being a process that can be daunting and challenging 

  2. know that the purpose of the shofar blasts is to jump start the process of cheshbon nefesh 

  3. be able to articulate a number of specific things that they would like to change or improve upon in the upcoming new year. (See “wake up” attachment above)

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. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

  6. A How to do it link to a video of how a shofar is blown and what it sounds like

Student handout, shofar or computer and projector, alarm clock

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