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Want to use “Jew Too” for your religious school, adult education class, or supper club? We’re in the process of developing discussion guides, pre- and post-listening questions, and glossaries for each episode. Episode 6, our pilot lesson plan, is below. Got feedback on this or ideas of what you’d like to see? Send an email!

Episode 6: Jews by Choice, Y’all

Materials:

  • Podcast-listening device

  • Podcast show notes

  • Writing utensils

  • Internet access or printed copies of articles if using

Pre-Listening:

  • Checking Assumptions - This section is particularly recommended for groups located outside of the south, but all groups could benefit from reflecting upon assumptions going into the episode. Depending upon the number of students, and their comfort with one another, you may want to ask students to write their responses to the following questions or to pair off and share aloud with a partner.

  1. When you think of “Southern Jews,” what comes to mind?

  2. When you think of “Converts” or “Jews by Choice,” what comes to mind?

  • Introduction to guests- Take a few moments to imagine and write down what each guest might have to say about his/her Jewish experience. During the podcast, check your assumptions.

    • Chris Blevins- rural Louisiana- 30s- girlfriend is a practicing Christian

    • Stefano Iacono- born in San Antonio, now based in NYC- 20s- husband became Jewish as an adult.

    • Anne Gregory Teicher- born in Newnan GA, now based in Raleigh, NC- 40s- husband raised Jewish

  • Show Note Preview

    • Before listening to the podcast, read through the show notes for the episode to gain familiarity with the topics that will be discussed.

      • Underline anything you agree with and star anything that surprises you.

      • Write questions in the margins

Post Listening:

  • Read an article about Southern Jewish Life as a class:

  • Read a personal reflection on Southern Jewish living:

  • Study a Southern Jewish Community (recommended for high school and up):  

    • Divide your class into 3 groups and assign each a southern communities where Anne, Chris, and Stefano have ties. Have them read the Institute for Southern Jewish Life’s entries on Jewish history in Raleigh, Lake Charles, and San Antonio. Invite your students to google the 3 communities to see if there is additional information about the modern-day communities. Ask your learners to write or share orally with the rest of the class how the population and community in that community has changed over the years. How is it similar to and different from the community that you are a part of?

  • Journal

    • Directly after listening, have your students take 5 minutes to react to the episode in writing to collect their thoughts about the episode, where they agree with the guests and feel challenged by the guests, and which parts are most memorable to them.

    • Invite students to share their journal entries in small groups and/or as a class.

  • What’s in a name?

    • Ask students to write down their name and their Hebrew name (if they have one). What do they know about their name(s)? What stories do they know from their families about where their name(s) came from?

    • Invite students to google their name(s) to find out what ethnicity or language their name(s) come from.

    • Invite students to share with one another about what they like and dislike about their names in general and how they feel about using their names in Jewish spaces.

  • Have a Class Discussion

In addition to the questions below, discuss any questions that your students noted during the episode. While some questions will be impossible to answer without Anne, Chris, and Stefano in the room, do what you can!

  • Name one moment in the episode that surprised you.

  • What’s one part of the episode that you have a question about?

  • Are there any elements of Anne’s, Chris’s, and Stefano’s stories that remind you of your own? Or someone else you know?

  • How would you describe Anne’s, Chris’s, and Stefano’s communities (Jewish and otherwise) to someone who hasn’t heard the podcast?

  • If you could ask 1 question each to Anne, Chris, and Stefano, what would you ask each of them? Do you have an idea of what they might say?

  • Chris spoke about his vision of a future for Judaism that is more welcoming. What do you imagine the Jewish future could look like? Who will be in it? How will it look/sound/behave?

  • Have you ever judged someone for their name? Do you think certain names don’t sound Jewish? How can you challenge your assumptions about which names sound Jewish and not Jewish?