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Three Weeks

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The "Three Weeks" leading up to and including Tisha B'Av (this year, June 24 - July 16, 2013) commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. It is a time for mourning and contemplation, and for examining the spiritual roots of destruction and redemption. These lessons have profound relevance for our relationship with our planet and the natural resources Hashem provides us.   
 
 

Torah Study

 

Lesson Plans and Activities 

 
Warning Signs: The Three Weeks and the Environment

By beginning with a minor fast and moving toward deeper levels of mourning, culminating in the fast of Tisha b’Av, our tradition teaches us about our response to alarms. We hear many warning calls about the environment today. Jewish tradition tells us that we need to heed these alarms – while there is still time.

 
In these activities, children will learn about the connection between the 17th of Tammuz and the environmental warning signs all around us. Children will think about their responsibility to the environment and choose an action to help make a difference. Geared towards upper elementary or middle school children.

 
The Spiritual Roots of Redemption: Lessons for the Three Weeks
The Three Weeks are a time when we connect to the tragedies our people have experienced. We engage in long-term thinking about the Temple which was built about 3,000 years ago and first destroyed over 2,500 years ago. By comparison—when scientists write about likely ecological disruptions in 2050—we may discount their warnings as unimportant long-term admonitions.
 

Warning Signs Scavenger Hunt
(Recommended for weekday use.)

Warning Signs Charades Game

(For Shabbat or weekdays.) 


Source Sheet and Discussion Guide for Three Weeks Learning 
Hebrew sources with English translations to learn in your synagogue or school (printable pdf). 

 

The Oil Spill and the Loss of Childhood Joy
This Op-Ed, by Evonne Marzouk, was published by the Washington Post website, On Faith, in 2010. 

 

Diminishing Returns
The restrictions of the Three Weeks can be an opportunity to refine ourselves and grow spiritually. We can learn to live within limitations, rather than excesses.
 
 

 

Trees, Protection, and the Three Weeks
A reflection on trees, the environment, parenting and the three weeks. 

 

Destructions of Our Past and Present
As we reflect on these past destructions, this can also be a time to think about current and future destruction of the environment. 

 

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