For Educators in Jewish Settings: Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior

Five additional lessons to integrate into Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior.

Adapting Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior for Jewish Settings:

Developed specifically for educators in Jewish settings, the five new lessons combined with select lessons from Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior are designed to lead middle or high school students through an examination of the catastrophic period of the Holocaust from a historical perspective and also to consider what this particular history has to do with what it means to be Jewish today.

Students begin this journey by considering the place the Holocaust should take in the collective memory of the Jewish people, how memory and history are related in Jewish history, and what tensions arise when we have multiple belongings, such as identifying as both Jews and Americans. Later in the unit, the lesson on Jewish life before the war addresses the Haskalah and the issues arising alongside the newly gained freedoms of the Enlightenment. The Holocaust section of the collection includes a lesson on Jewish resistance, in which students discuss what it meant to resist the Nazis on both a physical and a spiritual level. In the final lessons, students grapple with the question of retaining faith after the unfathomable atrocities and cruelties that this history presents us with.

Learning Goals:

After going through all 27 lessons, students will:

  1. Recognize the human tendency to create “in” groups and “out” groups and the consequences of that behavior for a society’s universe of obligation.
  2. Understand the particular historical context in which the Nazi Party established a dictatorship in Germany, marginalized Jews and other minority groups within German society, and ultimately committed genocide under the cover of war.
  3. Wrestle with the choices that individuals, groups, and nations made in response to the Nazi dictatorship and the violence and terror it caused, as well as the aspects of human behavior that contributed to those choices.
  4. Make connections between universal themes related to democracy, citizenship, racism, and antisemitism that this history raises and the world students live in today. Understand their responsibilities as global citizens to make choices that help bring about a more humane, just, and compassionate world.
  5. Consider the role of memory when learning about this history and its relationship to what it means to be Jewish today.

Using the Lessons with Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior

How do these lessons differ from lessons found in Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior?

The five new lessons share their own essential question, which differs from the rest of the unit,and invites students to consider the relationship between the history they are studying and what it means to be Jewish today: 

How is our Jewish identity tied in with the history of the Holocaust?

How do I incorporate the new lessons within Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior?

The five new lessons are meant to be used within the structure of Teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior. To help orient you, we've included instructions at the top of the five lessons linking to the preceding and following lessons. See below for the list of 27 lessons in the order they should be proceeded through.

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