Unit III. Exploring Peoplehood and Community - Lesson 15: World Jewish Communities


50 minutes


World map or Googlemaps
Thumb tacks or sticky notes
Copies of all photographs by Zion Ozeri
Peoplehood Worksheet 3A: Diverse Jewish Communities
Research materials and/or Internet access 


Have a world map available as well as prints by Zion Ozeri. Make copies of Peoplehood Worksheet 3A (one for each student). Arrange ahead of time to bring students to the school library or have research materials available in the classroom.


In this lesson, students examine images of diverse Jewish communities as shown in Zion Ozeri’s photographs and begin to conduct research to learn more about them.

Big Idea:

Each local Jewish community is but one of thousands of local Jewish communities around the world. Each has its own customs, traditions, and unique institutions.

Introduction (5 minutes):

  1. Remind students that their local Jewish commuity is just one of thousands of Jewish comminities around the world. Ask students:
    Where are some other Jewish communities you know of?
  2. List students’ answers on the board.
  3. Ask students to come up to the map of the world and find the locations of these communities on the map. Mark the spots with tacks or sticky notes. Alternatively, have students find the locations on a projected image of Google maps.


Exploring Communities (20 minutes):

  1. Explain to students that they will be examining in greater depth some of the world’s diverse Jewish communities reflected in Zion Ozeri’s photographs.
  2. Make all of Zion Ozeri’s photographs available to students. Give students time to examine the photos; then have each student choose one that he or she would like to know more about. It could be a photograph that the student has already seen or one with which the student is unfamiliar.
  3. Once each student has chosen a photograph, hand out copies of Peoplehood Worksheet 3A and have students work on it individually.
  4. Circulate among students and offer assistance and guidance as needed.


Researching Communities (25 minutes):

  1. Students will conduct research and prepare presentations about the communities depicted in the photographs they have selected. They should be guided by the questions they listed on Peoplehood Worksheet 3A. Students can also explore such questions as:

    – How is this community similar to or different from your community?
    – How do people in this community connect with Jewish life and practice?
    – What unique traditions, customs, clothing, music, etc., do they have?
    – How are Jewish values reflected in the activities and customs of the community?
    – How is the community influenced by the cultures around it?

    Student presentations can include not only photographs and information about the communities but also foods, clothing, customs, music, etc. If students have family or friends who come from the countries they are researching, the students might conduct interviews with these people as part of their research and take pictures of them or objects from their culture.

  2. Have students go to the library or look online to begin collecting resources for further research. 

For further information on some of the communities depicted in Ozeri’s photographs, see the World Jewish Communities file as well as the suggested books and websites.



Students will need to finish their research projects for homework and/or during additional class periods.