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Heritage Civilization and the Jews
About the Series Historical Timeline Resources Lesson Plans Episodes

Lesson Plans for each of the nine video chapters of Heritage provide a wide variety of learning activities including discussion questions, map exercises, analyses of primary sources, and research projects. All activities focus on key concepts explored in Heritage. Teachers can screen the hour-long videos in class or assign video chapters to be individually viewed by students on personal computers.

Lesson plans have been designed to allow teachers to select activities appropriate to the grade levels of their classes. Each plan includes teacher's resource pages and a student worksheet, which can be reproduced for distribution to the class. Historical background, instructions, and answers to the activities on the student worksheet appear in the teacher's resource pages.

For more middle- and high-school level lesson plans, go to Teaching Heritage. You'll also find a FREE DVD-ROM workshop, a tour of the HERITAGE DVD-ROM, classroom tips, and more!

These lessons are taken from the Heritage DVD-ROM Resource Guide, produced by the Educational Resources Center at Thirteen/WNET. To request a copy, please email
or write to:
Heritage DVD-ROM Resource Guide
Thirteen/WNET New York
P.O. Box 245
Little Falls, NJ 07424
To download the file Right-click and select 'Save as.'Adobe Acrobat is needed to view this file.

pharohA People is Born 3800 - 586 BCE
This lesson plan deals with the Ancient Near East, early civilization, and early Israelite history. Use maps to explore principal geographic features of the region and to trace migration, and compare the biblical story of the flood with a similar account in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
scrollThe Power of the Word 586 BCE - 72 CE
Introduce the sayings of the teacher Hillel as the basis for a discussion about values and morality. Compare sayings from the New Testament with those from the Hebrew Bible. Research projects focus on the changes to Judaism during this period and on the relationship between the Jews and their neighbors.
ArtThe Shaping of Traditions 30 - 732
After the destruction of the Temple, Jews around the world continue to practice Judaism, relying on the strengthened institutions of rabbis (teachers) and synagogues. Categorize the three major monotheistic religions according to their main features and figures, and study a moral dilemma presented by the Talmud.
EuropeThe Crucible of Europe 732 - 1492
Examine a 12th century Jewish school curriculum from Spain as an example of how a minority group was able to maintain its distinct cultural identity within a larger society. Learn about the resentment and persecution the Jews faced in medieval Europe and discuss the development of stereotypes.
DeliveranceSearch for Deliverance 1492 - 1789
Trace the migrations of Jews across Europe after the expulsion from Spain. Explore the development of Hasidism, Messianism, and the study of Kabbalah. Read an account of how the prosperous Jewish community in Poland met with catastrophe and massacre in 1648.
French RevolutionRoads from the Ghetto 1789 - 1925
Though revolution and emancipation brought great change and opportunity for the Jews, stereotypes and discrimination persisted. Compare excerpts on religious guarantees from the French Constitution and the Virginia Statute and discuss generalizations and stereotyping.
Statue of LibertyThe Golden Land 1654 - 1930s
Consider how minorities can maintain a balance between their group identities and their loyalty to the U.S. Read a letter from George Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island. Discuss labor history and the harsh working conditions faced by many immigrants.
Burning Jewish BuildingOut of the Ashes 1919 - 1947
This lesson tries to give some sense of the losses European Jewish communities suffered in the Holocaust. Trace the change in population figures, study the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws, and read an eyewitness account of resistance against the Nazis.
IsraelInto the Future 1880 - 2001
Jews around the world continue to grapple with what it means to be a Jew in the modern world. Study the proclamation that establishes the State of Israel. Read a grandfather's speech as an example of the ways in which family stories represent aspects of American and world history.

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