POSITIVE PEACE — A VISION OF SHALOM
INTRODUCTION — Concepts of Peace/Shalom
Purpose: To explore dimensions of shalom in the Jewish tradition; to explore a positive concept of peace in the nuclear age on the personal, interpersonal and global levels; to imagine a vision of shalom in students' personal lives, in Jewish life, and in the world; to choose actions to increase and deepen peace in their lives, in the Jewish community, and in the world.
This section is based on the following concepts:
1. The Hebrew word shalom calls forth deeper associations than the English word "peace." It has the same root as the words for wholeness and completeness. Jewish teachings of SHALOM should nourish Jewish work for peace in the nuclear age.
2. In Jewish tradition and personal experience there have been many kinds of peacemakers: skillful mediators like Aaron, compassionate teachers like Hillel, people who disobeyed unjust laws like Shifrah and Puah and resisters during the Holocaust, organizers like Rose Schneiderman, thinkers and activists like Buber and Heschel, writers like Elie Wiesel, our personal family peacemakers.
There is no one way to be a peacemaker. To make peace in the nuclear age more effectively, we need to widen our understanding of what a peacemaker is, seek and find models of peacemakers in Jewish tradition and history, and nourish the peacemaker qualities in ourselves. To be a peacemaker is not necessarily to be a pacifist.
3. Creating positive peace includes the skillful handling of feelings of grief, fear, and anger; the power of the imagination and the skill of envisioning; and affirmation, communication, cooperation, and negotiation skills. Students often have many images of war and violent relationships but few of peace, particularly not peace as an active, powerful activity.
4. Elements in a concept of positive Peace are:
a) attention to all people's basic needs;
b) participation of people in the decisions which
affect their lives;
c) establishing economic, social and political
structures which ensure justice and human dignity;
d) care for the environment;
e) choosing to create and use alternatives to violence in resolving conflicts.
5. Positive Peace is a dynamic and exciting process as well as a calm, serene stat~ of being. Peace is not only the absence of war, but also the presence of active justice. It replaces "power-over" relationships with "power-with" relationships. Positive peace does not exist when there is domination of the weaker by the stronger. Peace is not appeasement. Violence, not conflict, is the opposite of peace.
The following activities are good "warm-ups" for a discussion about peace/Shalom:
a) Each student write for one minute, word associations with the word PEACE
b) Together make a a web chart with the word PEACE in the center, with associations and image
c) Complete the sentence seven times: Peace is...
d) Draw a picture of a time you felt completely at peace
e) "Remember..." a time when...
a) Sing a song which has the word SHALOM in it, e.g.,"Shalom Chaverim," "Oseh Shalom," Shabbat Shalom, "Lo Yisa Goy". Discuss the meaning of the words of the song, e.g., the connections between Shalom and Friends, between Shalom and Israel, between Shalom and Shabbat, between Shalom and being unafraid, Shalom and having a fig tree to sit down under.
b. Sing Lo Yisa Goy. Ask the students to draw swords being "turned into" plowshares.
a) Tell the students they are going to remember peaceful moments. Ask them to close their mouths, "open" their nose and breathe in, then let the air out slowly through the nose. Ask them to put the palm of one hand on the diaphragm (or stomach), again breathe in through the nose, feel the diaphragm fill up with air like a balloon, hold it for a moment, and then let the air out. Ask them to do that one more time. Tell the students they can do this any time they want, to feel more peaceful inside.
b) Tell the students you are going to ask them four questions about peaceful moments, which you want them to answer in their heads, not out loud. Tell them you are going to turn out the lights, and that they can, if they want to, close their eyes or put their heads on their desks, though they don't have to.
Turn out the lights. In a relaxed tone of voice, with pauses between, say the following phrases:
Remember a time when you made a new friend...
Remember a time when you worked really hard on something, e.g., a school project, a sport, and you felt good about it...
— Remember a time you felt really angry, but you didn't hit the person you were angry at...
— Remember a time when someone said something nice about you, and you felt good... Remember a time you said something nice to someone and they felt good — a person in your family, a friend, someone at school or synagogue... These are "put-ups," or affirmations...
Tell the students that in a minute you are going to turn on the lights and ask for two or three responses to each question. Repeat the phrases slowly, then turn on the lights. Ask for two or three responses to each question. Give "understanding responses" to what the students say (see page 2).
Shalom: A Fourfold Song
Purpose: To experience a sense of the different levels of peace and shalom.
1. For several classes prior to this activity, you may want to begin or end with a "go-round," with one of the questions below. In the go-round, students should have the option to pass and a second opportunity to speak.
2. Write the word SHALOM on the board. Together chant the word Shalom at least ten times, drawing out the last syllable; each person on the same note or a different note, holding the last syllable as long as possible; students coming in on different tones.
I. Ask the students to read Abraham Isaac Kook'
A Fourfold Song
Groups of students can read in chorus, the students can read in turn, or one student can read.
A Fourfold Song
There is one who sings the song of her own life, and in herself she finds everything, her full spiritual satisfaction.
There is another who sings the song of his people. He leaves the circle of his own individual self, because he finds it without sufficient breadth, without an idealistic basis. He aspires toward the heights, and he stretches himself with a gentle love to the whole community of Israel. Together with her he sings her songs. He feels grieved in her afflictions and delights in her hopes. He contemplates noble and pure thoughts about her past and her future, and probes with love and wisdom her inner spiritual essence.
There is another who reaches toward more distant realms, and she goes beyond the boundary of Israel to sing the song of humanity, Her vistas of the majesty of humanity's noble essence. general goal and looks higher perfection. From this source of life she draws the subjects of her meditation and study, her aspirations and her visions.
Then there is one who rises toward wider horizons, until he links himself with all existence, with all God's creatures, with all worlds, and he sings his song with all of them. It is of one such as this that tradition has said that whoever sings a portion of song each day is assured of having a share in the world to come.
And then there is one who rises with all these songs in one ensemble, and they all join their voices. Together they sing their songs with beauty, each one lends vitality and life to the other. They are sounds of joy and gladness, sounds of jubilation and celebration, sounds of ecstasy and 8
spirit extends to the wider humanity generally, and She aspires towards humanity's forward toward humankind'
The song of the self, the song of the people, the song of humanity, the song of the world all merge in her at all times, in every hour.
And this full comprehensiveness rises to become the song of holiness, the song of God, the song of Israel, in its full strength and beauty, in its full authenticity and greatness. The name "Israel" stands for shir el the song of God. It is a simple song, a twofold song, a threefold song, and a fourfold song. It is the Song of Songs of Solomon, shlomo which means peace or wholeness. It is the song of the Highest One in whom is wholeness.
—Abraham Isaac Kook, Vol. II, pp. 458-459
II. Together read the A Fourfold Song a second time, pausing after each paragraph for discussion:
After the first paragraph, ask several students to "sing the song of their own lives" by sharing some good things in their lives.
After the second paragraph, ask several students to affirm the Jewish people, the people of Israel, by saying some qualities they like or appreciate in the Jewish people, either historically or now.
After the third paragraph, ask the students to think and then say what they like about being human* connected with animals, trees, and nature, and what's good, what they like about being alive.
After the last paragraph, ask the students what Kook says a "song of God" is. Ask them to remember and share a time they have felt like celebrating God, singing a song of God.
III. Ask the students to stand in three concentric circles, all facing inward.
Ask a single student to stand in the center. Ask the student in the center to chant "Shalom," holding the last syllable as long as possible before repeating it. After a few times, the next circle will join, then the next, etc., each circle representing a dimension of the fourfold song.
IV. Prepare a presentation for another class.
Ask the students to describe a moment of personal peace which they have experienced in a Jewish context e.g., during prayer, lighting candles, a holiday celebration. Then ask the students to remember a time, in a Jewish context, that was a moment of non-peace, e.g., a Shabbat dinner at which everyone was tense. Ask them to use their imaginations to transform that moment into a moment of peace, and describe it.
To understand the importance of being able to hear and to listen in creating
shalom; to practice these skills.
1. Tell the Elijah story below:
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi found Elijah the prophet, disguised as a leper begging at the gates of Rome. "When will you come to proclaim the Mashiah?" he asked. "Today... if you will hear his voice," replied Elijah.
Ask the students what it means that Elijah was disguised as a leper, and what it means to "hear (the Messiah's) voice." Ask them when they think they have heard the "Messiah's" voice. Ask the students how "hearing" the Messiah's voice could bring the Messiah.
Discuss with the students what conditions allow people to hear what other people are saying and what kinds of communication are persuasive.
With partners, practice saying the greeting SHALOM ALEICHEM — ALEICHEM SHALOM in different tones of voice: happy, sad, angry, joyful and with different facial expression.
Discuss the different ways we communicate: through words, through tone of voice, through eye and facial expression, through body gesture and position.
In pairs, and then in front of the group, ask the students to have a conversation which expresses and communicates meaning non-verbally and using only letters of the alphabet.
In pairs, say "I love you" or "I'd like to see you later" with different tones. Express different emotions through the same words.
Discuss how misunderstandings and communication blocks happen (e.g., "Say one thing and 'mean' another.")
II. Sharing in concentric circles (see page 3):
1) "A time when I felt listened to and heard was..."
2) "A time when I felt I was not listened to was..."
3) "Something I would like to tell (choose a person public figure or personal) is..."
Ask the students to think of someone they want to "hear" them; ask them to think specifically of what they want to say. It could be a public figure or someone from their personal lives. Ask them to form groups of three: one student will role-play speaking with someone whom they want to hear them; one person will be the observer. Give enough time to switch roles three times (about five minutes each.) After the role-play, ask the students to discuss what was effective and what could be even better about the communication. Discuss: how do you make yourself listened to and heard? How do you listen to others?
III. Ask the students to imagine and dramatize different endings to stories of warning, e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah, Jonah, so that the people do listen and change.
IV. Play the game "Making Peace in My Home and City."
1. Each player finds a marker -such as a pebble, tiny toy, piece of candy, or penny. Place it anywhere you choose on the board. Remember where you put it. The idea is to move around the board and get back to where you started.
2. Set a timer where everyone can see, or choose a time limit. All those who circle the board within that time are winners. Each player helps the others so everyone can complete the circle and win.
3. Players take turns rolling one die for the number of spaces to move.
When a player lands on an instruction space, s/he reads aloud what is written there and then does what is asked, describing how s/he feels in that situation. Two or more players may be on the same space at the same time.
4. Emphasize what happens within the game and between the players, rather than competition.
Shalom: Imagining the Future ("Honi")
To practice imagining the future; to examine concepts of Shalom and technology.
I. Write on the board, "WITHOUT VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH."
Discuss with the students what this might mean. Share examples from Jewish and world history -Herzl, Golda Meir, Ben Gurion, Martin Luther King, Gandhi — and from personal lives of people who have had a dream or vision of how things could be and have taken steps to accomplish it.
II. Read the story of Honi.
One day, while walking along the road, Honi saw a man planting a carob tree and said to him, "Since a carob tree does not bear fruit for seventy years, are you certain of living long enough to eat the fruit of that tree you are planting?"
The man replied, "I found the world provided with carob trees because my ancestors planted them for me. I am planting them now for my children and grandchildren."
— Taanit 23a
A) Ask the students to remember a time they planted a seed and saw it grow into a plant. Ask them what conditions allowed the seed to grow. With older students, discuss the concepts of ecological interdependence, caring for the environment (read Genesis 1, 2:1-20). Discuss ways in which we are caring well for the environment, and ways in which we could act to stop the destruction of the environment. Discuss what conditions allow humans to grow —basic human needs — and ways in which we care well for other humans on the planet and ways in which we could act to foster justice and stop destruction of human-ness.
B) Make a skit of the story of Honi.
C) Ask the students to make a timeline of important events in their lives. Ask them to begin with their earliest memory and add five or six other memories. (Or, fold a paper in four and draw four important events.) Ask them to name three ways they are the same now as they were yesterday (or two years ago) and three ways they are different.
Ask the students to imagine 70 years ago, or when their parents or grandparents were children. Ask them to name three ways it was the same as now, and three ways it was different. Ask the students to interview three older people with this question. Make a class book of the responses.
Read the story of Honi again. Ask the students to stretch their imaginations into the future, 70 years from now. Ask them to assume that the planet Earth exists, and that conditions are now good on the planet for everyone. Ask them to name three ways in which conditions are the same as now, and three ways they are different. (For stimulus, look at the chart, "Levels of Certainty about the Future," p. 10, Visions of the Future)
Ask the students to name three things they are doing now which may bear fruit in 70 years. (Tell them this may be difficult, but to stretch their imaginations') Discuss with the students the concepts of choosing and attempting to see consequences of a particular way of acting or thinking. Ask them what feelings come up as they think about the future. Give understanding responses.
D) Divide the class into groups of four and ask them to make a skit showing actions students are taking or might take today to preserve the world and make conditions good for everyone.
E) Ask the students to write about or draw their visions of the future. They can for example as a class, write a round-robin letter to the grandchildren of the future or imagine it is the year 2010 and write newspaper headlines from that year. Or write a letter back to the people of the 1980's from 2080. Ask them to imagine for themselves, their families, for Jews and Israel, for the United States, for the world.
The World is Full of Conflict
Investigating Conflict and Peace
Purpose:To understand that everyone experiences conflict, that conflict is normal and can be constructive; to see that violence, not conflict, is the opposite of peace; to understand that to bring shalom we need to investigate conflict.
The lesson could begin with any of the following activities. After the activity relate the non-violent resolution of conflict to making peace.
I. Text Discussion:
A. Rabbi Nahman.
Ask the students to form pairs, read the passage by
Rabbi Nahman, and discuss the following questions:
1) Say in your own words what Rabbi Nahman is saying
2)List six conflicts, three from your personal
experience, and three from the world.
3) List three reasons why you like conflict and three reasons why you do not like conflict.
4)List two reasons each: why individuals have conflicts; why groups of people have conflicts; why countries have conflicts.
5) List two ways in which conflict between nations is similar to conflict between individuals. List two ways in which it is different. How do you agree and disagree with Rabbi Nahman?
THE WORLD IS FULL OF CONFLICT
All the world is full of conflict. It is thus among nations and it is thus within each and every town. And it is thus in every household and it is thus between neighbors and between each man and his wife and his family and his servants and his sons... And know that it is all one, for the private conflict between a man and his family seems to me the same as the conflict between kings and nations. Because each and every one in his household is like a nation unto himself, and they goad one another even as there are wars between nations. And one can also perceive in each man the type of nation that he is, because it is known that nations have traits, inasmuch as one is fierce and murderous, and so forth.
And one may find the same in the persons of a household. Even if there is one who does not wish to quarrel and who wishes to sit in peace and quiet, all the same he will be drawn into the conflicts and the wars also. It is even thus in the wars between kings and nations; sometimes we find a nation that wishes to sit in peace and does not desire war.
Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav (1772-1810)
B. Gen. 37,1-36.
Read about Joseph and his brothers. Ask each student to read three sentences. Ask: What happened? List the characters in the story and ask, How do you think each character was feeling? Have you ever been in a situation like this? When? How did you feel? What conditions contributed to the conflict between Joseph and his brothers? If you were Joseph, what action would you have taken? If you were one of the brothers, what would you have done?
II. Experience Sharing
A. Put the names of half the students in an envelope.
Ask the other students to pick a name and interview that student with the questionnaire, HOW I RESPOND TO CONFLICTS (next page). On another day, put the names of the interviewers in an envelope, and repeat the process. When the questionnaires are completed, tally the responses with the whole group. Discuss different ways of handlihg a conflict and how people learn to handle conflicts (adult modeling, rules, Jewish law, peer example.)
B. Web Chart
Follow the sequence of activities for Web Charts on page 3, "Interactive Strategies." Key words, on different days, could be: CONFLICT; CONFLICTS IN TORAH
STORIES; CONFLICTS IN JEWISH HISTORY. Ask for associations for about 5 minutes. Write them wthout
evaluation. If appropriate, introduce vocabulary words: escalate, negotiate, mediator, violence.
1. Ask students to form groups of three and for about two minutes each, share a personal experience of a conflict. Where did it take place? Who were the "characters"? What happened? How did each person feel? How did it end? For example, was there a mediator? Did the conflict escalate? If so, how? Was there violence? What is violence? (Explain that violence can be verbal abuse, e.g., name-calling, ridicule, as well as physical hurt) What other endings were possible? What role did the student play? If it is appropriate, introduce vocabulary words: escalate, mediate, negotiate, violence.
How I Respond to Conflict
(from William Kreidler, Creative Conflict Resolution in the Classroom — 200 Activities)
When there's a conflict
I try to:
1. hit the other person
2. run away
3. get help from another kid
4. talk it out
5. ignore it
6. understand the other point of view
7. make a joke of it
8. get help from a grown-up
9. make the other kid apologize
10. apologize myself
11. find out what the problem i
12. listen to the other kid
13. tell the kid to leave me alone
14. say swear word
15. get friends to gang up on the other kid
2. Conflict in Jewish Life
Choose an arena of Jewish concern (Torah stories, contemporary life, holidays) as the key word. To start students' thinking, offer a few examples. (From Torah — Cain and Abel, Leah and Rebecca, Abraham and God, Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Ishmael, Israelites and Pharoah, Moses and the people in the desert.) Write what is offered without evaluation. Choose one or two of the stories or situations and ask the questions above.
3. Tell a Story From Another Point of View
Choose a well-known story from one of the Jewish holidays. Ask the students to tell it, or act it out with puppets from the point of view of one of the minor characters or the "villain" (e.g. Haman, Pharoah). Discuss the concept that in every situation every "character" has a point of view — feelings, needs, interests, values which underlie the positions and actions they take. Explore other examples (see page 6).
C. WHAT SHOULD SHE DO? (ROLE-PLAY)
In small groups: pick one person to play: a worker in a factory whose job has just been changed so that she is involved in making parts for nuclear bombs; she is a single mother with two children and has no other means of support; she is disturbed by her new job, but is afraid what would happen if she quits. She asks various people for advice: a personal friend, a co-worker, a person in her family, a rabbi. The other people in the group will be those advice-givers. There can be more than one person in each category, who agree or disagree.
Think about the age of the person you are playing, how religious s/he is (orthodox, conservative, reform, reconstructionist, secular), what personal experiences s/he has had which affect his/her point of view (comes from the Soviet Union; survived the Holocaust; grew up in suburban U.S.), what responsibility s/he would take for financial, emotional, and child-care support, etc. Use quotes and arguments from the handouts. Ask questions: for example, does the Jewish community, as a community, have a responsibility to help support her if she decides to quit her job on moral grounds?
Peacemakers in Jewish Religious Tradition,
History, and Contemporary Life: Two Model
Purpose: To expand the concept of peacemakers to include peacekeepers, negotiators, social activists, visionaries, peacebuilders; to identify from Jewish historical and religious tradition persons or groups who have functioned as peacemakers; to kindle inspiration and hope from the models and a decision to function as a peacemaker.
Models: AARON; ROSE SCHNEIDERMAN.
Cooperative Learning Groups:
Ask the students to work in twos. One person will read about Aaron, one about Rose Schneiderman. After about a minute, ask the students to find a person from another pair who read the same quote. (The same activity may be done in groups of 3 or 4, using 3 or 4 peacemakers as models.)
Ask the students to discuss these questions: What did this person do that made her/him a peacemaker? Name at least one quality of this person that made him/her a peacemaker (e.g, courageous, empathetic). Who else do you know, from history or your personal experience, who is like this person? When did you act as a peacemaker in the way that this person did?
After about three minutes, ask the students to go back to their original pairs and report about their person. Research other examples from personal experience, Jewish tradition and history.
In the whole group, discuss the questions above.
1. "PEACEBUILDER": AARON
"Hillel said, Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures, and drawing them near to the Torah." — Avot 1:12
It is said that when Aaron was on the road, and met a man who was known to be evil, he would greet the man, saying, Shalom to you.
The next day, if that man wanted to do evil, he said, "If I were to do this thing, how could I then lift up my eyes and look at Aaron? I would be ashamed before him, for he gave me a greeting of peace." So the man would hold back from doing evil.
—Avot de'Rabbi Nathan 12
II. "ACTIVIST PEACEMAKER": ROSE SCHNEIDERMAN
"In 1909-1910 Jewish women were the movers and shakers behind the "Uprising of the 20,000," the largest strike by women in the United States up to that time... demanding recognition of the union as a power bloc (and) more stringent safety and health regulations... (140-148)
"Rose Schneiderman was an outspoken and effective union organizer: 'By most accounts, it was Rose Schneiderman, twenty-nine years old, tiny, red-haired, whose speech after the fire (which killed 143 women workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on March 25, 1911) enlisted the sympathy of the uptown bourgeoisie —Jewish and gentile, and resulted in winning their support of the union."' (152)
— adapted from The lewish Woman in America by Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel)
Read Peretz' story Shalom Bayit with the students. Ask them in what way Chaim and Chane's home was a "Shalom Bayit." In what way was it not? Ask each student to name a way to contribute to peace in her or his home.
B. Web Chart
Make a "Jewish Peacemakers" Web (see page 3). In the whole group, discuss in what way each person was a peacemaker; whether everybody agrees that this person was a peacemaker, and if so, why (or why not); whether a person can both be a peacemaker and "make waves." Ask the students: Can people think of themselves as a peace-maker and yet in other people's opinions not be peacemakers? Give an example of such a person. What is a "justice-maker"? In what way are "justice-makers" and peacemakers similar? In what way are they different? What in Jewish tradition and history encourages people to be peacemakers? Ask the students which kinds of peacemakers they would want to be: peacekeeper, negotiator, social activist, visionary, peacebuilder. (See Notes and References for definition.)
C. Personal Experience
Ask the students, first in random groups of three, then in the whole class, to think of a time when they acted as peacemakers, or they saw someone acting as a peacemaker. Ren-dnd the students of the five different types of peacemakers. What kind of peacemaker were they? What did the peacemaker do? Was the action effective? Why or why not?
Ask the students to work in pairs and read and answer the questions for one or more of these texts: Gen. 20:1-18; Gen. 21:22-32: Stories of Abimelech; Gen. 25:9: reconciliation of Isaac and Ishmael at Abraham's death; Gen. 32:4-33; 33:4 (or 1-20).
Ouestions: What happened? Did one or more people function as peacemaker? What did they do that helped make peace? How did they feel? When have you been in a similar situation or had similar feelings7 What conditions helped bring about reconciliation or the peaceful resolution of conflict?
E. The World Today
Ask the students what kinds of peacemakers are needed in the Jewish worldwide community today. Together list people and groups which are doing peacemaking work.
INTERVIEWS WITH PEACEMAKERSP'PEACEMAKERS BOOK"NIDEO
A. INTERVIEWING ACTIVITY #1
1. Brainstorm with the students a list of questions they would like to ask peacemakers or people in organizations that they think are peacemaking organizations, or that call themselves peacemaking (e.g., things they want to know about their life and work, in what ways they are peacemakers, what their successes have been, what are some of the obstacles they've overcome, what are some of the obstacles, inner and outer, that they face).
2. Role-play interviewing people from Jewish and world history and the contemporary news. Research the responses.
3. Together, draw up a list of peole they would like to interview: e.g., people in their class, family, synagogue and school; people in prominent Jewish organizations and media; people who are Jewish working in non-Jewish organizations such as the U.N.; people who are not Jewish; scientists, police, artists, housewives, politicians.
4. Students can then:
—Practice interviewing with classmates.
—Set up interviews. Decide whether they will go alone or in twos. Decide whether they will take notes or tape record.
—Do a few interviews for practice.
—Research Jewish "peacemakeing" groups. Discuss how they are peacemakers. Do an interview. Report back to the class about how it went. Make any changes that are needed. Do more interviews.
B. INTERVIEWING ACTIVITY #2
A. Divide the class into groups. Each group will brainstorm interview questions, role-play interviews, and then carry them out. Four possible groups are: 1. students who will interview family members about being peacemakers. 2. students who will interview a public person or group about what it's like to be a peacemaker. 3. students who will interview ordinary "people on the street." 4. students who will invite someone to class for a group interview.
7 STEPS IN PROBLEM-SOLVING
1. Listen to each side in turn state its point of view and feeling
2. Each side re-states the other's point of view to the satisfaction of the other
3.State the areas of agreement and disagreement
4. State the problem: "How to..."
5. Brainstorm for solution
6. Evaluate the list of solutions in terms of consequences and satisfaction of both "sides" (win-win solution)
7. Select one solution that both sides can agree to try out for a specific length of time, and then evaluate how it's working.
C. PEACEMAKERS'BOOK/VIDEO BASED ON THE INTERVIEWS
After carrying out the interviews, students can make a Peacemakers Book /Video/ Play. (Show FOR KIDS' SAKE, a video made by young people for WBZ-TV in Boston and available from Boston ESR).
Ask students to write up the interviews. For the book, they can: Choose the interviews that were most inspiring and informative for them. Include the role-play interviews with people from Jewish history, personal life and contemporary Jewish life around the world. Include pictures if possible. Include stories from Jewish history and tradition. Include personal stories of being a peacemaker.
CLASS PROJECT. YOUNG PEOPLE AS PEACEMAKERS
1. Ask the students to interview each other to find out which kind of peacemaker they are or would like to be, and why. Each month, ask two students to volunteer to be class "mediator" peacemakers who will use these problem-solving steps in classroom conflicts that occur:
2. Ask the students to list three ways in which a personal peacemaker (among fan-dly and friends) is similar to a global peacemaker. Ask them to list three ways in which s/he is different.
3. Deciding to be a Peacemaker — Personal Life:
Tell the students: "Imagine you are a heroic peacemaker. Think of a conflict in your life (family, friends, teachers). Decide to be a peacemaker in that conflict. What would be difficult for you in being a peacemaker in that conflict? What would help you to be a peacemaker in that conflict? Imagine what you could do."
Ask the students to form groups to role-play or make up skits to try out various possibilities of what they could do. Ask each student to report back to class how they have been or tried to be a peacemaker. Ask them what was difficult and what helped. Do it and report back to the class.
Affirming Oneself and Others: Reb Zusya, Hillel, Esther
To foster awareness of each person's uniqueness and to celebrate both the
commonalities and differences among people; to see how real self-respect and
respect for others is shalom.
A. Ask the students to read the story about Reb Zusya, or tell it to them:
"The students of Reb Zusya, hearing that their teacher was about to die, came to pay him one last visit. But entering the room, they were surprised to see him trembling with fear.
"Why are you afraid of death?" they asked. "In your life, have you not been as righteous as Moses himself?"
"When I stand before the throne of judgment," Zusya answered, I will not be asked, "Reb Zusya, why were you not like Moses?" I will be asked, "Reb Zusya, why were you not like Zusya?"
Ask the students to imagine they are before the "throne of judgment," and are giving an account of their life. Ask them what actions and decisions they have taken — or refrained from taking — that they feel good about.
In a "go-round," ask each student to say one thing they like about themselves. (If you have a ball or a "Hug-A-Planet," ask the students to toss it to the next person.) After practice with go-rounds, vary the question, e.g., a pleasant memory of being a Jewish girl or boy.
Students can make a cooperative mural of positive things they associate with being Jewish.
B. Write on the board the saying by Hillel:
"IF I AM NOT FOR MYSELF, WHO
WILL BE FOR ME? AND IF I AM
ONLY FOR MYSELF, WHAT AM I?
AND IF NOT NOW, WHENT'
Sing the song: "If I Am Not For Myself, Who Will Be For Me?" in Shiron L'Shalom.
Ask the students to talk in pairs and respond to these questions (about 3 minutes): Why does Hillel say, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?"
Think about a person you know who seems to be ONLY for themselves. What do they do that makes them seem that way? Why do you think they are that way? Do you think Hillel's statements are useful guidelines for individual behavior? Why and why not? Do you think they would be useful guidelines for a country's behavior? Why and why not? If these were the guidelines for the behavior of the U.S. or Israel, what would they have to do differently? If you followed these guidelines, what behavior would you need to change?
II. Affirmation, Appreciation of Differences, and Shalom
A. Ask the students to comment on the quote: "We neglect the many non-military factors that contribute to or detract from national and global security." (Mark Sommer, Beyond the Bomb).
B. Ask the students to read aloud "A Fourfold Song" (pg. 11).
Tell or read the story of Esther and discuss in the whole group: 1) What does Mordecai want Esther to do? (4:7-9) 2) How does Esther feel when she hears what Mordecai says? (4:10-11) 3) What does Mordecai say? (4:13-15) 4) What is Esther's decision? (4:16)
In pairs, ask the students to role-play Mordecai and Esther. After a few minutes, ask them to switch roles. Some pairs can show their dialogue to the class.
Ask the students if they have ever felt in a similar situation to Esther. e.g., Have they ever felt "invisible" as a Jew? Have they ever been put down for being a Jew, or seen other Jews put down? When have they felt afraid to "speak truth to power?" When did they speak the truth about themselves when they were afraid? What happened? What can make it possible to overcome fear and stand up for oneself or one's people?
IV. Personal Experience-Sharing
A. Web Chart
Follow the sequence on page 3, "Interaction Strategies." Make the first chart with the key word, PUT-DOWN, for about two minutes; the second chart, PUT-UP a little longer, if necessary.
B. Concentric Circle
Follow the sequence on page 3, "Interaction Strategies." Try the following questions, or make up your own, as appropriate: 1) "A time when I heard about or experienced put-downs of Jews was... and I felt..."; 2) "A time when I stopped or I tried to stop put-downs was... and I felt..."; 3) "One time in history that Jews resisted being put down was..." (Remind the students to think of holiday stories.)
After three partner changes, ask the students to return to the original circle. Ask for two or three responses to each of the questions in turn. Ask the students what are some good ways to stop put-downs on an individual level (e.g., say Ouch! or Buzz! if there has been a discussion of "buzz-words" as words which cause communication breakdowns; say, "When you call me that I don't like it, and I want you to stop." — This can seem formal and awkward, but it works surprisingly often.) Ask the students for the names of institutionalized put-down — anti-Semitism, sexism,
racism, etc. Discuss why stopping put-downs and replacing them with put-ups on both individual and group levels is important. Count "put-ups" each time the class meets.
Ask the students to research models of Jews who have affirmed themselves with courage: e.g., Judah Maccabee, Louis Brandeis; Marranos in Spain; Hannah Senesh; Soviet Jews; women who stood up for the right to be rabbis and cantors.
This sequence may be followed for any "group, including different groups of Jews: Make a web chart (page 3), using the name of the group, e.g., SOVIET UNION as the key word. Then ask the students where they get their information, what questions they would like to know more about, which of their associations are stereotypes or "put-downs." Ask the students for people they know or know of who do not fit the stereotypes. Ask the students for qualities/ things they appreciate about the people of that culture or country.
LESSON 7: Peace: Conflict with No Loser
Purpose: To understand that everyone negotiates in their everyday lives; to practice negotiation and mediation skills: attentive and active listening; questioning for more information; distinguishing between positions, needs/interests, and values; thinking creatively towards win-win solutions.
1. Win-Win Solution
Tell the students that they will be looking at Torah stories in which there are conflicts. They are to imagine "win-win solutions" to these conflicts.
Write the words WIN-WIN SOLUTION on the board. Ask the students what they think it might mean.
Draw a four-square matrix on the board as indicated. In the intersection of each box, show win-win, win-lose, win-lose, and lose-lose.
Ask the students how to resolve the following conflict (or any appropriate example) so that both people are happy with the solution and feel it is fair:
"Two sisters, Sarah and Rebecca, come home after school. Sarah wants to listen to loud music on the radio. Rebecca wants quiet so she can do her homework."
Ask the students for examples from their lives of conflicts which ended in win-win, win-lose, and lose-lose solutions. Ask them what is a long-term disadvantage of win-lose solutions. Ask the students how conflicts between "equals," e.g., classmates, feel different from conflicts between people "unequal" in some way, e.g., older and younger siblings, parent/teacher and child. Are win-win resolutions possible in both cases?
III. How we behave in conflict
Ask the students to list some obstacles to finding a win-win solution to a conflict, for example: attacking behavior and a hostile climate or feeling tone; escaping or evading the conflict; rigidly holding to a position; unwillingness to find out one's own and the other's underlying needs inability to listen; deeply held and opposed values,
Ask the students what seems to make finding a win-win solution more possible. For example: good communication — informing the other person how you feel and what you want with an 1-message; opening behavior — asking the other person how she or he feels, listening, and giving an understanding response; using a re-framing or uniting question such as "How can we resolve this to meet both our needs?"
Ask the students to form groups of three. The groups will have three minutes to improvise a mediation skit. Here is one example:
"Two people are quarreling in a library. One wants the window open and the other wants it closed. They bicker back and forth about how much to leave it open: a crack, halfway, three quarters of the way. No solution satisfies them both. The librarian comes in." ... What does the librarian do? (Getting to Yes, Fisher and Ury, page 41)
Discuss the solutions presented in each group's skit. Was there a win-win solution? How did the librarian arrive at it? One possible "win-win" ending: The librarian asks one person why she wants the window open: "To get some fresh air." The librarian asks the other why he wants it closed: "To avoid the draft." After thinking a minute, the librarian offers to open wide a window in the next room, bringing in fresh air without a draft. Ask the students why this is a win-win solution and how the librarian arrived at it.
Write the words position and needs on the board.
What was each person's position? What was each person's need? What steps did the librarian take to come up with a win-win solution?
Write the words Negotiation and Mediation on the board. Ask students for examples from their personal experience or from current events of conflicts and "how they finished" or were resolved. As they tell the situation, write the examples under the appropriate heading. After three or four examples in each column, ask the class to state the difference between the two. (Negotiation is between the two parties who are in conflict, while mediation involves a third person to help resolve the conflict.)
Ask older students to apply the following quotation to situations of conflict between countries:
"When you look behind opposed positions for the motivating interest, you can often find an alternative position which meets not only your interests but theirs as well... Reconciling interests rather than compromising between positions also works because behind opposed positions lie many more common interests than conflicting ones." (Ury and Fisher, Getting to Yes p. 43)
V. Torah and Win-Win Solution
Ask the students to read, tell, enact through paper-bag puppets, or role-play the following stories and others from Jewish history. Ask the students to "transform history" and create win-win solutions by using the
problem-solving steps and 1-0-U behaviors instead of A-E behaviors: Sarah and Hagar (Genesis 16:1-6); Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, Ishmael (Gen. 21:9-21), Laban, Jacob, Rachel, Leah (Gen. 29:10-36, 30:1-24), Moses and Pharoah (Ex. 5-12), Aaron as peacemaker in a divorce case.
VI. Personal Experience Cartoon
Ask the students to think of a time in the Jewish aspect of their lives that there was a conflict. For example, parents wanted the teenager home for Shabbat dinner, the teenager wanted to be out with friends. Ask them to draw a sequence of four or five cartoons to show the conflict, using the problem-solving steps on the methodology page, and a win-win solution.