The introductory TELEM curriculum is designed for all educators to use before track-specific curricula are used. It tells a story—a Jewish story of a broken world filled with injustice and suffering yet moving towards a state of redemption and wholeness. The main actors in this story are us—the inhabitants of this world, and particularly the Jewish people.
This lesson tells the story of the current reality. Suffering and injustice persist all around us. Yet the Jewish people, and many other peoples of faith, hold out hope that what we see is not what is meant to be. This session explores the meaning of Mitzvah—the implications of being obligated to act when faced with the reality of injustice. Judaism equips us with many tools for this long journey towards social justice.
These sessions, titled Walking the Path of Social Justice, explore some of these tools. Lesson two examines the mitzvoth of Hesed, Tzedakah and Mishpat and is designed to help students understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches to creating change. Lesson three focuses on the role of relationship-building in the work of social justice. Students will explore the challenges and opportunities involved in going outside of their own comfort zone to build relationships with people different from themselves.
The final lesson confronts the reality of despair and offers strategies for maintaining hope and determination. This lesson helps the student to set realistic expectations; it's hard to make social change by oneself!
This four-session curriculum is designed to serve as an introduction to a year of service-learning. We hope that these themes will resonate and resurface throughout the year.