A Woman’s Place:

A WebQuest about Jewish Women in Jewish History

 

 

Introduction

 

Task

 

Process

 

Resources

 

Conclusion

 

Evaluation

 

Teacher

 

 

Introduction

 

Century Magazine has decided to run a feature on Jewish women who have significantly impacted Jewish history. They have asked a panel of historians to nominate the Jewish women of their choice. The historians have narrowed down the list to the following women (in no particular order):

 

*   Golda Meir

*   Sarah the Matriarch

*   Henrietta Szold

*   Devorah the Prophetess

*   Bruria the Scholar

*   Emma Lazarus

*   Anne Frank

*   Esther the Queen

*   Hannah Senesh

*   Dona Gracia Nasi

*   Nechama Leibowitz

*   Sara Schenirer

*   Rahel Bluwstein

 

Now the readers of the magazine will vote for the woman that they consider to have made the greatest impact in Jewish history. You, as a journalist at Century Magazine have been asked to write the biography of one of the personalities. In your biography, you must convince readers why they should vote for this personality.

 

Task

 

You are one of the journalists assigned to this story. Each journalist will take one of the women from the list above (either the one that you can most identify with and most interests you or that is allocated to you by the editor) and write a series of biographical features on her, in order to convince the readers of Century Magazine to vote for this personality.

 

 

Process

 

In order to do this you must follow the following format (as requested by the editor!) and complete the tasks in each stage. Your editor will be checking your work at each stage, so remember to keep your work organized! The resulting article in its finished state will be printed in Century Magazine (or perhaps your school newspaper).

 

Stage One - Research

 

You must carry out an in-depth research on the personality that you have been assigned (using the online resources suggested below as well as any other resources that your editor can recommend to you). Make sure to include the following information:

 

*   Full name

*   Place of birth

*   When she lived (birth date and if she has died, her date of death)

*   Historical Context

*   Childhood experiences

*   Her education

*   Life experiences

*   Skills/talents

*   Personality

*   Greatest influences she had (role models, etc.)

*   Her impact on the Jewish people and Jewish history

 

Stage Two - Biography

 

Now you have carried out your research, you must write the biographical piece. Use all the information asked of you in stage one and any other interesting facts to compile a comprehensive biography of the woman from Jewish history that you have been allocated.

 

Remember, you are trying to convince your readers that this is the woman that has made the most important impact on Jewish history, so make your biography exciting!

 

For help on writing biographies and examples of biographies check out the resources found below under “General Biography Sites”.

 

Stage Three  - In a Jewish Historical Perspective

 

You must now write a few paragraphs explaining to your readers exactly why you think that this personality has made the greatest impact on Jewish History. Include why she has had a great impact on YOUR life. In this article you must build a convincing argument as to why the readers should vote for this woman.

 

Stage Four - A Day in the Life

 

As a secondary feature, compose a “day in the life of” feature on the personality. This can either take the form of a diary entry in the fictitious diary of the personality (you may wish to choose an important or special day in her life or an important date in Jewish history that she played a part) or you may just wish to capture her life by taking an average day from her life and writing her schedule. This is a creative writing piece (you should try to keep to the facts but will not have enough information from you research alone to do this) and your editor will be noting your creativity.

 

Stage Five - Interview

 

As a secondary feature, write a fictitious interview with the personality. You must first think of interesting and probing questions about her life and experiences and her impact on Jewish history. You must then decide how you think she would answer those questions. You must try and express her personality through her answers, and at the same Century portray an insight into the events that shaped her life and her contribution to Jewish history. This is creative writing (you should try to keep to the facts but will not have enough information from you research alone to do this) and your editor will be noting your creativity.

 

Stage Six – Presentation

 

You have now completed your research and writing on the personality. All you have to do now is present it in an attractive way to your readers (or more importantly to your editor!). If you have knowledge of desktop publisher software then use that, but if not, you can still do a good job using a word processor. If you can find pictures to include in the feature, all the better. After putting it together in an attractive and organized manner, hand it in to your editor.

 

Extension Work

 

If you have time and want to impress your editor, you may wish to write one last piece on a Jewish woman that has had a tremendous affect on your own personal life and that the rest of world doesn’t know about. You may wish to write about a family member such as your mother, grandmother or sister, or a teacher or friend. In this article, you should explain why she is special to you and the affect that she has had on your life, and why she would be at the top of your list of Jewish women who have greatly impacted your life.

 

Resources

 

General Biography/reference sites

 

http://www.biography.com

http://fno.org/bio/QUEST.HTM (Biography maker)

http://www.s9.com/biography/

http://www.infoplease.com/people.html

http://www.britannica.com/

http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/

   

Sarah the Matriarch

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Sarah.html

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0112.htm (Text: Genesis 12)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0113.htm (Text: Genesis 13)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0116.htm (Text: Genesis 16)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0117.htm (Text: Genesis 17)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0118.htm (Text: Genesis 18)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0120.htm (Text: Genesis 20)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0121.htm (Text: Genesis 21)

 

 

Devorah the Prophetess

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/deborah.html

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=112073

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0704.htm (Text: Judges 4)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0705.htm (Text: Judges 5)

 

 

Esther the Queen

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0817739.html

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt3301.htm (Text: The Book of Esther)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther (Text: The Book of Esther)

 

 

Beruriah the Scholar

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=112056

http://zahavy.com/beruriah.htm

http://www.shisler.com/Theo/Service/TwoJewels.asp

 

 

Dona Gracia Nasi (Patroness and Philanthropist)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.jhom.com/personalities/dona_gracia/index.htm

http://www.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/960425_Ancona.html

http://www.sefarad.org/publication/lm/049/html/page46.html

 

 

Emma Lazarus (Poet and Writer)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://jwa.org/historymakers/lazarus l

http://www.fau.edu/library/brody40.htm

http://www.miriamscup.com/LazarusBiog.htm

 

 

Henrietta Szold (Founder of Hadassah and Jewish activist)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://amuseum.org/jahf/virtour/page14.html

http://www.jwa.org/exhibits/szold/

http://www.miriamscup.com/SzoldBiog.htm

http://www.fuchsmizrachi.org/henrietta_szold.htm

http://www.azm.org/henrietta-szold  

 

Rahel Bluwstein (Poet and Pioneer)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://israel.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=3155

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/bluwstein.html

http://www.ithl.org.il/author_info.asp?id=207

 

 

Sara Schenirer (Founder of the Beth Jacob Movement)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://tzemachdovid.org/gedolim/jo/tworld/schenirer.html

http://www.innernet.org.il/printArticle.php?id=367

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%22sara+schenirer%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&selm=9p8fmg%24bh6%241%40news.fas.harvard.edu&rnum=1

 

 

Hannah Szenes (Paratrooper and Poet)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.utoronto.ca/wjudaism/encyclopedia/e_s.html

http://www.miriamscup.com/SzenesBiog.htm

http://www.hannahsenesh.org.il/l

 

 

Anne Frank (Diarist)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.annefrank.com

http://www.annefrank.org/

http://www.uen.org/utahlink/lp_res/AnneFrankBioShort.html

http://www.annefrank.dk/Annefrank.htm

 

Golda Meir (Politician)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.wic.org/bio/gmeir.htm

http://www.ou.org/chagim/yomhaatzmauth/golda.html

http://womenshistory.about.com/library/bio/blbio_golda_meir.htm

http://www.uwm.edu/Library/digilib/Golda/index.html

 

 

Nechama Leibowitz (Scholar)

 

As well as the following online resources, there are many offline resources that you and your school may have to help you complete your research.

 

http://www.ou.org/yerushalayim/lezikaronolam/nehama/nehama.htm

http://www.lookstein.org/nechama.htm

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/nleib.html

 

 

Conclusion

 

Congratulations! You have written an important article on Jewish women in history. Often, the role of Jewish women in Jewish history goes unnoticed. By completing this WebQuest, you have helped keep their memories alive.  We all look forward to seeing your article published in Century Magazine!

 

 

Evaluation

 

This rubric provides the grading standards for your WebQuest.

 

 

 

Task

Beginning

Developing

Accomplished

Exemplary

Maximum
Mark

Stage 1

Research

1-5

Little evidence of research. Questions addressed inaccurately.

6-10

Evidence of some research. Most questions addressed accurately. No additional information provided.

11-15

Evidence of good research (use of resources listed here). All questions asked addressed accurately. Further information found.

15-20

Evidence of extensive research (beyond the resources listed here). All questions asked addressed accurately. Further information found.

20

Stage 2

Biography of first choice

1-5

Incomplete biography. Details are inaccurate. Poorly written.   Organization and presentation is poor.

6-10

Complete biography. Details are accurate. Fairly written.  No interesting further facts. Organization and presentation is poor.

11-15

All details are accurate. Thorough biography. Some interesting facts given. Well written. Organization and presentation is poor.

15-20

Accurate details, thorough biography, interesting further facts included. Well written. Organization and presentation is good.

20

Stage 3

Rationalization for choice as “Greatest Woman of Jewish History”

1-5

Legitimate justification for choice given. No further analysis shown.

6-10

Evidence of some analysis of character. Legitimate justification for choice given.

11-15

Evidence of extensive analysis of character and character’s achievements. Legitimate justification for choice given. Presentation poor.

15-20

Evidence of extensive analysis of character and character’s achievements. Legitimate justification for choice given. Presentation good.

15

Stage 4

A “Day in the life” feature

1-3

Attempts made to be creative. Personality is character not accurately captured. No references made to achievements and impact on Jewish history.

4-7

Evidence of some creative thinking and writing. Attempts made to capture personality’s character, and some references made to achievements and impact on Jewish history.

8-11

Evidence of creative thinking and writing. Successfully captures personality’s character. References made to achievements and impacts on Jewish history. Presentation poor.

12-15

Well written, creative. Successfully captures personality’s character. References made to achievements and impacts on Jewish history. Presentation good.

15

Stage 5

Interview of personality

1-3

Attempts made to be creative. Personality is not accurately captured. No references made to achievements and impact on Jewish history.

4-7

Evidence of some creative thinking and writing. Attempts made to capture personality’s character, and some references made to achievements and impact on Jewish history.

8-11

Evidence of creative thinking and writing. Successfully captures personality’s character. References made to achievements and impacts on Jewish history. Presentation poor.

12-15

Well written, creative. Successfully captures personalities character. References made to achievements and impacts on Jewish history. Presentation good.

15

Stage 6

Final presentation

1-3

Inaccurate spelling and grammar. Presentation lacks creativity and imagination, without clarity and neatness.

4-7

Inaccurate spelling and grammar. Presented creatively and with imagination, though without clarity and neatness.

8-11

Inaccurate spelling and grammar. Presented neatly and clearly. Presented creatively and with imagination. Professionally laid out.

12-15

Spelling and grammar accurate. Presented neatly and clearly. Presented creatively and with imagination. Professionally laid out.

15

 

 

Note to Teachers

 

This WebQuest was designed to address the lack of study of Jewish women in Jewish schools. Although it can be used in classes of female students, with a special emphasis on the issue of role models, it is certainly also appropriate for male students to learn about notable Jewish women who are so often overlooked.

 

You may allow your students to choose the personality that they are most interested in or with whom they most identify. However, this may mean that not all the women listed will be covered, and a few may prove more popular than others. Therefore, you may want to allocate a historical figure to each student, thus ensuring that the class covers the entire list.

 

Encourage your students to look at the rubric to give them an idea of what you are looking for in their assignments.

 

To ensure that each student is exposed to each personality at some level, the teacher may wish to organize a class presentation at the end of the project. This may take the form of a balloon debate (where each student presents their character as if they were trying to convince the class not to vote them “out of the hot-air balloon” and the students vote at the end for the people they feel deserve to stay on the balloon).

 

It would be nice for your students to have their work published in some form. Some ideas: submit the best entries to the school magazine/newspaper, or a community or local newspaper. Highlight them on the school website or create a blog with the articles. You may also wish to publish all articles in one magazine and distribute it in school.

 

 

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© The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, 2002. Links verified April 2011. Created by Daniel Rose for The Lookstein Center.

 

 

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