Unit III. Exploring Peoplehood and Community - For Further Exploration
Here are some additional ways to extend this unit or explore its themes in greater depth:
Compare and Contrast Photographs
Have students look closely at two or more of Ozeri’s photographs that depict the diversity of the world Jewish community. Have students discuss the differences and similarities between the images. How do the photographs help students understand what connects or distinguishes various Jewish communities? For example, have students examine some of the following pairs of images:
- Nuptials and B’nai Yisrael Wedding
- Oil Pressers and Bet-Levi
- Upsherin and The Shape of Sound
- Honorable Discharge and Backpack
- Speak to God and Soccer Fan
- Basic Training and Bomba Israel
- Cave and Tell Me, What’s Your Name
The Needs of a Community
Have students create plans for a hypothetical Jewish Community Center in your local community. What kinds of facilities would they want to include? What kinds of services would they offer? Who would come? Is there anything they would include that’s not currently available in the community? What do their choices say about what they think is important to the community? Students can work in groups to develop their plans.
Community and Geography
You might choose to tie your students’ exploration of world Jewish communities to their broader studies in geography. Students can research the geographic, topographic, and climatic features of the locations in which these communities are found. Are these communities near the sea? In the mountains? In tropical climates? Near major urban centers? Do these features influence the social or religious life in these communities? How? Students can create maps of these locations to show various important features, such as population, ethnic distribution, political boundaries, climate, etc.
Tension in the Community [recommended for high school]
Unfortunately, the members of a community don’t always agree on political, religious, or social issues. A quick read through the local Jewish newspaper will often reveal such fault lines within the local or world Jewish community. Ask students to do just that—read the Jewish paper and find articles that reflect tension or dissent within the community. Discuss these articles and have students brainstorm ways to resolve the conflicts. Is it always possible to resolve them? Is it always necessary? When does a conflict become too divisive? What are the dangers of such divisions?
Insider/Outsider [recommended for high school]
Have students consider the relationship between photographer and community. For example:
- Is taking pictures of your own community different from taking pictures of a community that you’re not part of?
- Does looking at your community through a camera lens change your relationship to the community? How?
- Does the act of taking pictures pull you out of the community or the events you’re photographing?
- Is it possible to photograph a community accurately, or does the act of taking pictures necessarily change events and dynamics?
- Is there any way to lessen these effects?
As students are developing their exhibition, take the class to a nearby museum to explore how the exhibitions are organized and what kinds of information they contain. Have students read the exhibition labels to see how they are written, noting what they like or don’t like about them. Students might also get ideas about brochures, tours, placement of artworks, etc.
Visit Another Jewish Lens School
If there are other schools in your area participating in The Jewish Lens program, we encourage you to bring your students to meet the students at these other schools and view their work. Contact The Jewish Lens office for information about other participating schools.
After your class exhibition is installed, ask students to critique it. Is it accomplishing what they wanted? Is there anything they would do differently next time?
It’s also useful for students to reflect on the group-work process itself: How did their group work together? What challenges did they face? How did they solve problems that arose? How well do they think they worked within their group? Did they learn anything from the process?