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The Social Justice Torah Commentary Discussion Guide

A discussion guide for The Social Justice Torah Commentary to be used in book clubs, adult education classes, or even inspiration for sermons. Designed to foster and facilitate discussion and debate.


Capstone Project for Master's Degree in Jewish Education

Crafting a Personal Theology

Designed especially for teens and young adults, but adaptable for adult education, this curriculum guide explores various Jewish theologies to illustrate the myriad possibilities of belief. Students journey through Jewish conceptions of God that are inspired by science, tragedy, and civil rights. The unit concludes with students synthesizing their learning by crafting their own personal theology.

Family Education Lesson Plan

As an education intern at Congregation Or Ami, Rabbi Tovlev designed and wrote lesson plans for the family education program Mensch-ify. The lesson plan excerpted below was used to celebrate Women's History Month and design a Miriam's Cup for Passover. 

Selections from a Lesson Plan

Women's History Month - Miriam's Cup


Big ideas:

  • Strong women have shaped our history and culture

  • Women can be heroes/mensches

  • Gender equality is menschy



  • Students should be able to name a menschy woman from the Bible and say what made her a mensch.

  • Students should be able to give an example of a Jewish female leader and explain how she was a mensch.



  • From materials bag:

    • Wine glass

    • Mod podge

    • Print-outs (Appendix)

  • From home:

    • Printed pictures of family members

    • Paint brush

    • Scissors

    • Optional: markers, blank paper


Set Induction - Skit

Rabbi Tovlev: March is Women’s History month. Sometimes our stories from history can focus on men, so Women’s History Month was created to make sure we tell the stories of women and how they shape our history. And as mensches, we know how important it is to make sure everyone’s story is heard, and everyone’s contribution is appreciated!

Teacher 1: We have so many stories of amazing women in our Jewish tradition! Like last session when we learned about Queen Esther’s bravery and heroism in saving the Jewish people from the evil Haman. And Passover is coming up, where we can learn more about Miriam the prophet, and how she helped her brother Moses in leading the Israelites to freedom.

Teacher 2: And let’s not forget Jewish women from modern history who were heroes and leaders! Like Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister in Israel. Or Hannah Senesh, a paratrooper in World War II that wrote the poem Eli, Eli that we sing on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Teacher 3: And the amazing women in our own lives, our friends and family members.

Rabbi Tovlev: As Jews, we celebrate people of all genders. Whether someone is male, female, both or neither, what is important is their neshama, their soul. Today we will learn more about some Jewish women throughout history who showed bravery, strength, dedication, and perseverance.


Main Activities:

  • Strong women in the Bible

  • Crafting our own Miriam’s Cup

  • Strong women in modern history (learning while crafting cup)

  • Strong women in our lives (discussion/sharing)


Strong Women in Our Lives

Teacher start with a story of a strong woman in your family. Who is a “matriarch” of your family?


Ask families to share stories of strong women in their families. Does anyone have pictures?


Discussion question: How are each of these women heroes/mensches? How can we be like them?

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