Unit I. Through a Jewish Lens

This unit introduces the essential tools and methods of The Jewish Lens curriculum. Throughout the remainder of the program, students will be exploring Jewish values and community by studying and taking pictures. So we recommend beginning your course with activities that get students comfortable looking at photographs and looking at their world through a camera lens. This will help create a foundation for everything they do later on. As a hands-on, student-centered activity, camera-work is also motivational. It will get students excited about the project.

In this unit, students also examine the relationship between image and text as they discover what it means to look through a “Jewish lens.”

Lesson 1: Reading a Photograph

Students practice their close-looking and visual literacy skills by making objective and subjective observations of a photograph and then responding to the image through creative writing.

Lesson 2: Image and Text / Text and Image

Students see how text can illustrate a photograph and how photographs can illustrate a text. First, they observe a photograph and select a traditional text that resonates with the image. Then they take their own photographs that...

Lesson 3: What’s a Photograph For?

Students consider the uses of photography as they find examples of different kinds of photographs and discuss the multiple motivations of photographers.

Lesson 4: Tzelem / Tzilum

Students consider the relationship between the Hebrew words tzelem (image as in “the image of God”),tzilum (photography), and matzlema (camera). They then take pictures to reflect “the image of God.”

Lesson 5: Your Jewish Lens

Students consider the different “lenses” we all use to see ourselves and the world and take self-portraits using these different lenses.

Lesson 6: What Makes a Good Photograph?

Students examine the formal elements of photography as they consider what makes a good photo.

For Further Exploration

Some additional ways to extend this unit or explore its themes in greater depth.