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Grades: 5-7 Make a Midrash Out of Me is an imaginative way to study the book of Genesis. Each chapter begins with the Torah’s text, laid script. Students engage with the narrative by becoming the people in the story. Students make their own midrash by interviewing the Bible characters, gaining insight into the text between the lines, followed by focused study of actual midrash from the Jewish tradition. As a cumulative activity, students analyze and synthesize what they’ve learned to create their own piece of visual or literary midrash.
Make a Midrash Out of Me is a chance for a wonderfully creative classroom experience. It offers a teacher a chance to combine drama, creative writing, and art with the study of Torah and midrash. It offers a learning process where knowledge and imagination are intertwined.
Imagine this lesson: The class opens their Make a Midrash Out of Me, to page 35. The teacher assigns the parts of God and Narrator, and asks the rest of the class to read the part of “People.” The class performs the biblical text from a specially prepared translation that reads like a script.
Next the class looks at “The Canaanite Gazette.” Working in pairs, students are ask to work on one of the four interview questions. Here is an example of one, “Ask God, “What scared you? What would have been so bad if the people had built a tower that reached to the heavens. You don’t live in heaven do you?” Students then present their interviews as performances to the class.
The lesson moves on to look at a real midrash. In this case it is the story of Adam and Eve’s coats that were used by Nimrod to convince people to build the tower. Students again take parts and read the midrash that is also translated in script form. Then, working in pairs, students answer a series of questions that help them to analyze the midrash. This is followed by class discussion. The last part of the class is a creative process. Students create their own dialogues between two workers on the tower.