Jewish Identity Games
is a book of exercises to encourage people to think about Jewish issues in public situations. The exercises can be used to enhance conceptual learning, develop a warm, supportive climate in a group, or help people discuss hard but important issues.
This text originally emerged from workshops I conducted for B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation personnel in Montreal, Boston, Cleveland, and at the Hillel Directors Conference. That is why many exercises presume situations and settings that would commonly be encountered when working with college students. Others were developed at UAHC and Ramah Camps. The family education exercises were used in workshops conducted at Temple Emunah of Lexington, Massachusetts.
The book is directed to people with better-than-average Jewish educations and experience in group work but does not assume any additional specialized skills.
Those who are not at home with the jargon and tools of the Jewish educator may find some of the references a bit cryptic, but probably not so difficult that they would be unusable. I have intended these exercises to be accessible to those who work on campus, in Jewish schools, and with Jewish family life education groups, as well as by human relations professionals who only occasionally work in Jewish settings.
Although this text is copyrighted, there are few implied restrictions concerning the reproduction of its contents. The exercises have been arranged so that users can copy individual exercises easily. They should feel free to duplicate or modify them. Please do not copy the entire book or publish exercises here in other collections without permission.
Suggestions by readers for additional exercises would be welcomed and fully acknowledged in any future edition.
I am available to conduct workshops demonstrating the uses of these exercises.
I wish to express my appreciation to Bernard Reisman, not only for specific exercises to which he and his students introduced me, but also for helping me to think about the field in a new way. Special thanks are due to Samuel Z. Fishman for his friendship, for encouraging me to commit these materials to writing, for his felicitous editing, and for seeing it through to its original publication.
Richard J. Israel
Newton Centre, Massachusetts.