Hammer in the Jewish Holidays

  • 50 minutes
  • Grades: 2-5
  • Lesson Plan

by: Debbie Shohat for The Lookstein Center

Students review the Jewish holidays through an interactive, fun and exciting activity. Focusing on speed, accuracy, and comprehension, the student must locate the holiday on the blackboard, and “hammer” the Jewish festival.

Introduction

This lesson on the Jewish calendar can be adapted to suit the level of your class by increasing the difficulty of the questions, adding fast days that are not listed below, or conducting the whole activity in Hebrew.

Lesson objectives

The student will be able to:

1) Understand the differences between the Jewish holidays

2) Comprehend similarities between the Jewish holidays

3) Outline basic facts about the Jewish holidays

Skills

The student will be able to:

1) Recognize the names of holidays

2) Pronounce words of holidays

3) Match holidays with their particular laws, customs, and times

Values

The student will be able to appreciate:

1) The cycle of the Jewish year

2) The significance of the Jewish holidays

Resources & Equipment needed

Blackboard, or wall board

4×6 cards

List of holidays

Two plastic hammers, preferably the ones that make noise when they come into contact with something

Scotch tape

Prepared list of questions

Procedure

1) List each holiday on the 4×6 card. Make two identical sets of the holidays.
2) Tape the cards to the black board; one set on the left side, and one set on the right side.
3) Divide the class into two groups.
4) One student from each team approaches the board hammer in hand.
5) Teacher calls out question/definition, and the first student to successfully hammer the holiday then is given a chance to pronounce the name of that particular holiday, and then he/she receives a point for his/her team. (Questions may include two holidays, or more, and the student will have to accurately hammer all holidays.)
6) These two students sit down, and the next pair of students approaches the board, and faces the list of holidays.
Continue to play the game until all the questions are complete. Total the points for each team, then announce the winner.

List of possible holidays:
1) Shabbat
2) Rosh Hodesh
3) Rosh Hashanah
4) Sukkot
5) Shmini Atzeret
6) Simchat Torah
7) Chanukah
8) Tu B’shvat
9) Purim
10) Pesach
11) Yom Haatzmaut
12) Yom Yerushalayim
13) Lag Baomer
14) Shavuot

Possible Questions:
1) During which holiday do we read a megilla about a woman, a silly king, and an evil man who wanted to destroy the Jewish people?
2) During what holiday so we especially dip apples in honey?
3) During what holiday do we decorate our homes with pretty flowers?
4) During what holiday do we leave our homes to eat the meals outside in huts? 5) During what holiday do we light candles for eight consecutive days?
6) What holidays do people living outside of Israel celebrate for one extra day?
7) During what holiday do we read about how God miraculously took Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt?
8) Which holiday do we celebrate once a week?
9) During which holiday is it a custom to plant trees?
10) Which holiday do we usually celebrate once a month?
11) During which holiday do we begin to count the omer?
12) In which holiday did Bnei Yisrael receive the Torah?
13) During which holiday do we begin to read the Torah from the beginning?
14) During which holiday we dress up and deliver mishloach manot?
15) During which holidays is it customary to stay up all night learning?
16) On what holiday do we celebrate the beginning of the New Year?
17) During what holiday do we shake the lulav and etrog?
18) On what holiday did Yehuda the Maccabee and his army defeat the Romans? 19) On what holiday is it customary to light huge bon fires?
20) On what holiday did Israel gain its independence?
21) On what holiday do we have a mitzvah to give presents to the poor?
22) During what holiday are we prohibited to eat foods like cake, cookies and pretzels?
23) On what holiday is it customary to eat the seven fruits of Israel?
24) On this holiday we drink four cups of wine.
25) Which holiday do we celebrate as a day of rest because God rested on this day?
26) Which holiday is most associated with the celebration of the new moon? 27) Another name for this holiday is Chag Ha Aviv- Holiday of Spring. 28) On this holiday we have a custom to do tashlich, when we “throw” our sins into a river. 29) On this holiday we eat many oily foods, such as doughnuts and latkes, to remind us of the oil in the Beit Hamikdash.
30) During the times of the Beit Hamikdash, on what holidays did Bnei Yisrael travel up to the Beit Hamikdash to bring karbanot?

Assessment/Wrap-Up: Following the game it would be an opportune time to run through the holidays with the children. The teacher could explain the value of the Jewish year, and its cycle of events which adds to the color and excitement of Judaism. Teacher may ask students which are their favorite holidays and why, or what customs/mitzvot they most enjoy.