Jewish Heroes Congress (Private-Religious)

3, 4, 5

This lesson identifies those who partake in tikkun olam activity as being heroes and role models. Students investigate various Jewish "heroes" from the past and reflect on how they can use their ancestors’ behavior as a model.

Lesson Rating 
Print1-2 Forty-Five Minute Sessions

The learner will:

  • research a Jewish hero.
  • collaborate with peers to identify positive ways in which the hero uses his body.
  • share his/her knowledge with classmates.
Home Connection 

Instruct students to observe their family members and choose one who emulates any hero that was at the Jewish Heroes Congress. Have the student make an award for that family member. The award should list the recipient’s name, the award title, and why the recipient deserves the award.


Giraffe Heroes Project

Jewish Theological Seminary Web Site

Jewish Virtual Library


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students to identify a role model and to explain why they chose that person. You may need to clarify that a role model is someone that a person looks up to and wants to imitate in some way. Make a list of the student’s responses and discuss their choices.

  2. Separate students into five groups and assign each group one of the following people: Abraham, Baron Edmund James de Rothschild, Rebecca Gratz, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Phoebe Yates Levy Pember.

  3. Distribute the appropriate reading material to each group (See handouts below). Give students time to read about their person and complete the "Jewish Hero Worksheet" (See handouts below).

  4. Tell students that they will make a model of their Jewish hero to bring to a meeting of Jewish heroes that the class will be hosting called the Jewish Hero Congress. Trace one student from each group on banner paper. Instruct students to cut out the oval shape for the face, color the body so that it resembles their hero and to label different parts of the hero’s body that s/he may have used to conduct tikkun olam. They can also add drawings of different tools they may have needed. (For example, Abraham is famous for welcoming guests to his home. He would have used his eyes to look out for guests, his feet to run after them, his hands to prepare food, and his mouth to welcome them. He would need a pillow to offer them and a chair for them to sit on.)

  5. Instruct students to choose one group member to represent the hero at the Jewish Heroes Congress by explaining who s/he was and the acts of kindness s/he did to perfect the world.

  6. Call the Jewish Heroes Congress to order and give each group a chance to share their model. Instruct the group member who is representing the hero to hold up the model so that his/her face shows through the cut-out oval while the rest of the group explains the illustration.


Ask students to write a paragraph describing how they can (or do) follow in their role model’s footsteps

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.