Why Shabbat Around the World?

Shabbat Around the World ©

by Tami Lehman-Wilzig

Shabbat Around the World Lesson Plans© Developed By:
Barbara Garber
Idea Input: Tami Lehman-Wilzig


The Jewish People form a multicultural nation with communities located across the globe. Although their Shabbat observances follow the same linear path, many communities have developed unique customs that are integral to their Shabbat celebration. Shabbat Around the World introduces students to unique Jewish customs from around the world, empowering students to enhance their own Shabbat observance. At the same time, this new series enables students to explore international Jewish communities; their history, geography and culture, so that by the end of the year students will have gained an appreciation of the Jewish world’s diversity.

Developed for 3rd-4th Grades

As a result of this curriculum, what enduring understanding will the students attain?

  • Jewish people around the world celebrate/observe Shabbat in different ways. Many customs are rooted in ancient Jewish practices, and many have been influenced by local communities.
  • Students will be empowered to introduce/share new, fun and exciting Shabbat customs that can be adapted or added to their family’s weekly celebration.

What essential questions will guide or focus the teaching and learning?

  • Where do Jewish people live today?
  • What are some of the Shabbat customs that different communities observe?
  • How do Shabbat customs relate to the meaning of Shabbat?
  • How did different Shabbat customs originate?
  • Why do people observe Shabbat customs differently/similarly to our own?
  • How can we incorporate different Shabbat customs into our own observance?

What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of these story & Lessons Plans units?

Students will know:

  • Areas of the world where there are or have been significant Jewish populations
  • Shabbat customs from different Jewish cultures and countries
  • Significance, meaning and origin of different Shabbat customs

Students will be able to:

  • Indicate on a map where Jewish people have lived in the past or are living today
  • Model different Shabbat customs



Upon completion of the Shabbat Around the World program or individual units, how will students demonstrate that they have attained the enduring understandings? The following are suggestions for class projects.

Students will plan and implement a Family Shabbat program in which customs (from the areas studied) are modeled and shared.

Groups of students (determined randomly or by interest) will be involved in a class project that models/implements different customs that the students have learned about. Suggestions include:

  • Shabbat ‘fair’ using presentation boards (this is a teacher-directed activity requiring a checklist of information to be included; e.g. description and representation of the custom, maps, pictures, recipes and food samples)
  • Class play or video based upon one of the Shabbat Around the World stories (student groups: writing script and playbill; set; costumes; publicity; filming/editing of video)
  • Kabbalat Shabbat service and Family dinner (student groups will be responsible for incorporating different customs into this program; cooking; invitations; set-up)
  • Kabbalat Shabbat and Family dinner shared by families in different homes, with students responsible for incorporating one


For more information contact Tami Lehman-Wilzig


Shabbat Around the World

We Jews are a diverse people, with communities all over the world creating engaging Shabbat customs.

You can learn about them through my unique,
digital-story / lesson-plan series that
It Gets You and Your Students Involved!