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Tzitzit as a Symbol

Abstract

In the book of Devarim, God says to Moshe: Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout the ages…”  What meaning is there in attaching a set of fringes or strings to the corners of clothing? What Jewish ideas/values are contained in the symbolism of the ritual object tzitzit? The opening questions in this lesson immediately draw learners into a personal exploration of how their clothing choices affect how others see them and how they see themselves. Students will then examine the ritual of tzitzit, through selected Biblical and Rabbinic texts.Hands-on activities such as tzitzit making (aided by “how to” videos) and collaborative design of T-shirts with symbolic value, further enhance the connection to “how clothing makes the person.”

The learner will:

  1. Understand how clothes can express values and ideas, both to the wearer as well as to the outside world

  2. know the Torah source for the mitzvah of tzitzit and how Jewish traidition sees the purpose of the ritual 

  3. be able to apply the idea of clothing as a representation  of one’s values to the design and creation of a personalized shirt or pair of tzitzit.

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,fabric for T-shirt design and creation, materials for tzitzit making

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