1. Introduction – Ask student what they think is the most commonly-said prayer. Some possible answers are Shema, Shemone Esrei, Birkhat HaMazon.
2. Brainstorm what we know about Birkat Hamazon. Explain that since Birkat Hamazon is such a central text in Judaism, it will be the focus of this unit. In it, students will study Birkat Hamazon and many of its themes.
3. Ask the students to write down five ideas that they would put into Birkat Hamazon if they were to write a version themselves. Students may suggest the following: thanking God for food, thanking God for the ability to eat and other bodily functions, etc.
4. Ask for volunteers to share their ideas and discuss.
5. Instruct the class to write their own text of Birkat Hamazon. This could be a prayer, poem or dialogue. Those who do not finish this in class will be able to complete it for homework.
6. Conclude the lesson by explaining that some themes of Birkat Hamazon (for example, the centrality of Jerusalem in Judaism, the sanctification of eating, etc.) will be studied more in-depth next class.
7. Extra Classwork: If the teacher feels that there was sufficient time within class to complete the work, the students should read through the text of Birkat Hamazon in the siddur to familiarize themselves with the text in preparation for the next lesson in which it will be analyzed.
8. Homework: For homework, students should complete their versions of Birkat Hamazon, and re-write it in a well-presented form for classroom display.
Additional Notes: The ideas that the students raise in both the class discussion as well as their creative writing can be used for the “Why Pray” worksheet for lesson 8. The teacher may wish to note those ideas discussed in class and presented in the creative writing and add them to the table listing reasons for praying. It should be brought to the attention of the students during lesson 8 that some of their own ideas were included in the table.