At the 2005 URJ Biennial in Houston, Texas, Rabbi Eric Yoffie stated, "That our kids need our guidance and support is indisputable. Judaism has something to say to them. It tells them that the guiding principle of sexuality in the Jewish tradition is K’doshim tih’yu- 'You shall be holy,' which means that sexuality is linked to blessing, commandment, and God."
In response to Rabbi Yoffie's challenge to confront this issue, we have created the Sacred Choices curriculum, which includes innovative age-appropriate educational sessions divided into two modules: one for middle school students and one for high school students. The lessons concentrate on issues pertaining to adolescent sexual development, such as peer pressure, communication and assertiveness skills, and healthy relationships; they also confront sexual activity directly by tackling even the most difficult topics. Both modules include education for parents that address matters of adolescent development and communicating with one's preteen and teenage children.
The high school module addresses issues pertaining to teen relationships, including interpreting messages from the majority culture, learning to hear one's own voice, understanding the difference between love and lust, comprehending one's rights and responsibilities in a relationship, and considering what is ethically appropriate sexual behavior. The modules also include educational sessions for parents and families.
My Jewish World: An Early Childhood Music Curriculum (Book/CD set)
Music can be a wonderfully effective teaching tool for preschool aged children. My Jewish World guides teachers through the process of introducing and utilizing song in the classroom to teach Jewish values.
In her comprehensive and easy to follow book, Judy Caplan Ginsburgh includes twenty-six songs, religious and secular, that will help to facilitate an environment of fun and learning. Each song addresses important Jewish concepts and many use Hebrew words and prayers. Judy provides comments, activities, and creative ideas, specific for each song, which can be used in the classroom to learn about being Jewish every day. The importance of saying the Sh'ma each morning, learning the Hebrew words for colors, understanding body parts, and the value of cooperation are only some of the Jewish concepts touched on in the book.
In addition, Judy Ginsburgh includes a list of suggested books for many of the topics. These books help to reinforce and expand the lessons laid out in the curriculum.
With a helpful glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms and the companion music CD, My Jewish World is a wonderful guide to making music significant in the Jewish classroom.