Here is our list of the best Jewish Heritage Month ideas.
Jewish Heritage Month occurs each year in May to commemorate Jewish culture. Jewish Heritage Month ideas are ways for you and your team to celebrate and explore the legacy of the Jewish people. For example, going to a synagogue, visiting a museum of Jewish art, and researching Jewish history. You can use these ideas to celebrate the Jewish culture and learn about the traditions that make Jewish heritage unique.
This occasion is a cultural holiday similar to Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Arab Heritage Month, and Black History Month. You can also use Jewish Heritage month quotes to honor the event.
This list includes:
- virtual Jewish Heritage Month ideas
- Jewish Heritage Month activities
- Jewish Heritage Month games
- ways to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month in the office
Here we go!
Virtual Jewish Heritage Month Ideas
Simple activities like online learning and listening to guest speakers can provide helpful insight into Jewish heritage. Here are a few ideas you can implement in online offices.
1. Share Jewish Heritage Facts
Sharing facts about Jewish heritage helps team members understand the history and legacy of the Jewish people. You can explore Jewish people’s contributions through the centuries, discover the roots of Jewish religious and social practices, and learn about the Jewish migrant experience. If there are Jewish members of your team who are comfortable discussing their culture, then you can ask them to share interesting facts during online meetings.
2. Research Jewish Culture
You can encourage your associates to research Jewish Heritage Month by sharing online resources that let them dig deeper. You can ask each employee to choose a topic that interests them to research. Associates can prepare a simple presentation to share with the team. This approach will broaden employees’ horizons and may spark new areas of interest.
The broad array of topics at My Jewish Learning is a good starting point.
3. Schedule A Virtual Speaker
Having a virtual speaker share Jewish culture and heritage can bring the cultural experience to life. By scheduling a session with an online speaker, you have the chance to ask questions and converse with someone who can provide meaningful answers. You can choose experts with specialties in various fields, such as Jewish history, religion, arts, and literature. Some speakers specialize in sharing information about the Holocaust, and many Holocaust survivors provide services as lecturers to share their experiences.
4. Virtual Jewish Museum Tour
Taking a virtual tour of a Jewish museum is an informative way to appreciate the significance of Jewish influence on American culture. Jewish Americans have had a unique experience, both in immigrating to the U.S. and establishing their place in the cultural blend. Attendees can learn how Jewish Americans express their identity through art, music, literature, and daily life through displays that focus on distinctive works and movements within the Jewish community.
5. Listen To A Podcast
For a virtual media experience, you can invite your team to try a podcast about Jewish heritage. Many podcasts explore Judaism and the Jewish culture in detail. The podcast format can help illustrate how the contemporary Jewish experience adds new and ever-changing elements to Jewish heritage. Your team can listen as a group during a virtual event or listen independently as they work. Once everyone has had a chance to listen, associates can assemble for an in-depth discussion about what they learned.
The podcast Stories We Tell has over 160 episodes.
Jewish Heritage Month Activities
From visiting a synagogue to learning the language of European Jewish culture, here are some activities that your team can do together to experience Jewish culture first-hand.
6. Visit A Synagogue
Jewish Heritage Month activities that bring your team into an authentic environment like a synagogue can help them experience the richness of the Jewish culture. Members of all faiths are welcome to visit and learn more about Judaism. An onsite visit is your opportunity to appreciate the art and architecture of the Jewish faith and learn about outreach and community services provided by the synagogue and its congregation. If your team is available to visit as a group, then you can coordinate a time to attend together. You can contact a local synagogue to speak with a rabbi or their representatives to make arrangements.
This list of synagogues around the world will get you started.
7. Learn Yiddish
Learning Yiddish, the traditional language of European Jews, is a fun way to immerse yourself in the Jewish tradition. Many familiar words used in the English language come from Yiddish, including klutz, glitch, and schmaltz. You can email your associates a new Yiddish word each day and encourage them to use their new vocabulary around the office. With a little practice, your team can pepper their conversation with Yiddish words!
You can find a list of 30 Yiddish words at Best Life Online to use for this activity.
8. Visit A Jewish Museum
A visit to a Jewish museum can bring dimension to this rich culture’s history and artistic influence. You can learn about the lives and expressions of the Jewish people through their fine art, textiles, usable goods, and other artifacts. Modern works, exhibits from classic artists, and historical displays all tell a part of the greater story. Spending an afternoon immersed in Jewish art and history brings the Jewish experience to life as few other activities can.
Israel Science and Technology Directory has a list of Jewish museums found worldwide for you to explore.
9. Learn About The Holocaust
Many resources are available to explain the events surrounding the Holocaust, one of the darkest periods in Jewish history. In some areas of the country, survivors give talks and seminars about their experiences. Having a survivor discuss their experiences is a powerful way to learn the true impact of the Holocaust.
Though the information is vital to learn and understand, some associates may find the topic sensitive. You may want to consult with your associates when deciding how to present facts about the Holocaust.
By visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum online, you can read about the concepts and find resources for learning about the Holocaust and its lasting impact on Jewish heritage.
10. Explore Jewish Holidays
Passover, Hanukkah, and Rosh Hashanah are all major holidays on the Jewish calendar. Some Jewish holidays correspond with familiar Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, while others have their own placement throughout the year. By learning the significance of each holiday, associates can gain insight into the religious and cultural workings of Jewish heritage. Exploring Jewish holidays is also a great way to discover the unique traditions and activities that mark the observance of each holiday.
For an extra fun twist, you could host a mini-party for a different major Jewish holiday during every week in May.
The Jewish Federation of St. Louis provides a helpful list of Jewish holidays, dates, and significance.
Jewish Heritage Month Games
You and your team can explore the playful side of Jewish heritage with some games and activities that emphasize fun!
Dreidel is a Jewish game where players spin a four-sided top to compete for gelt, chocolate coins covered in gold foil. The dreidel was a secret way for Jews to learn Hebrew and the Torah in ancient times. Now, people play dreidel at Hanukkah as a fun way to celebrate the holiday.
Here are the rules:
- Each player receives ten pieces of gelt. You can use wrapped candies or coins if you cannot find gelt for your game.
- Every player puts a piece of gelt into the pot at the center of the table.
- Each player spins the dreidel to determine who goes first, using the symbols on the dreidel in this order: Nun as the highest, then Gimmel, Hey, and Shen.
- Player one spins the dreidel and follows the instructions for the symbol shown on top when the dreidel stops. Nun, or נ, means no action taken; Gimmel, or ג, means the player takes all the coins in the pot; Hey, or ה, means the player gets half the coins in the pot; and Shin, or ש, means the player puts a coin from their pile into the pot.
- Play proceeds clockwise with player two and continues until players choose to stop.
With rules that are easy to understand, playing dreidel is a fun way to engage in the playful aspects of Jewish heritage.
12. Jewish Trivia
Jewish Heritage Month games like trivia give your team a chance to learn facts about the heritage and culture while having fun. You can choose questions related to culture, religion, history, and entertainment. Associates can answer as individual players or break into teams to pool their knowledge as they discuss their answers. After a few fast-paced rounds, your teammates might surprise themselves with everything they have learned!
There are online trivia games at JewishTrivia.com that utilize more than 1,000 multiple-choice questions. The site includes a timer and a buzzer for fun online gameplay.
13. Virtual Jewish Culture Scavenger Hunt
You can create a virtual scavenger hunt centered around facts about Jewish culture found all over the internet! A simple list of questions can start the team on the search.
Here are the rules:
- Prepare a list of significant facts, people, and events from Jewish culture and history.
- Set a timer for 30 seconds.
- Read the first item aloud to the players.
- Players conduct their online searches to find the answer.
- The player who responds before the timer runs down scores a point.
- Continue playing through the remainder of the list, discussing the answers in greater depth to explore the significance of each item.
You can find a helpful list of items at Jewish Womens Archive to start your scavenger hunt preparations.
Mahjong is a tabletop game that originated in China in the 1900s and became popular among Jewish Americans. Players must match pairs of tiles with identical designs to clear the board. There are physical versions of mahjong, with several players sitting around a table bearing the stacked tiles and taking turns making matches. Anyone familiar with board games will be able to catch on to the fun and strategy of mahjong.
If your team is remote, then you can play mahjong online. Mahjong.com offers an array of themed games that will work for a virtual event.
15. Gelt Challenge
Gelt are foil-wrapped chocolate coins used as money during games of dreidel. Your team can try a challenge that uses gelt differently.
Here are the rules:
- Players tilt their heads back and place an unwrapped piece of chocolate gelt on their foreheads.
- Players scrunch their foreheads and wiggle their eyebrows, working the gelt down toward their mouths without touching it with their hands.
- The first player to successfully eat their gelt wins.
Sometimes gelt comes in different sizes, which can make the challenge more competitive. Players can play a second and third round using larger or smaller coins.
You can buy supplies for playing dreidel, including gelt, at The Dreidel Company.
Ways to Celebrate Jewish Heritage Month in the Office
With engaging events such as desktop displays and potlucks held in the office, the celebration of Jewish Heritage Month can extend beyond your team.
16. Create Desktop Cultural Displays
You can commemorate Jewish heritage by using desktop displays that show various aspects of Jewish life. Simply invite your team to collect and print information about Jewish cooking, religious practices, historical achievements, and social contributions. Associates can use printed photographs, artwork images, food samples, and even music to demonstrate the various aspects of Jewish heritage. You can Invite other teams to explore the finished displays as a makeshift museum celebrating culture and creativity.
A comprehensive site like Jewish Virtual Library will give associates a solid start on their research.
17. Cooking Lessons
By scheduling cooking lessons, your team can learn about Jewish heritage through the tastes and textures of traditional and modern Jewish cuisine. You can explore the aspects of Kosher foods, and discover how Jewish foods have become a familiar part of the global menu. There are traditional appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and delicious desserts for your team to experience. In addition, team members might learn that many of their favorite dishes have their origins in Jewish and Yiddish culinary traditions.
You can schedule virtual cooking classes through The Kosher Baker if you cannot find Jewish cooking classes in your area.
18. Have a Jewish Potluck
A potluck is a delicious introduction to the world of Jewish heritage in food form! From latkes to knishes to kugel, there are many delicious ways to commemorate Jewish culture through cuisine. Attendees can choose to recreate the dishes learned in cooking lessons, create their favorite Jewish treats, find new recipes to experiment with, or purchase specialties from Jewish delis, bakeries, and restaurants. However your spread comes together, the team is in for a real treat while learning about Jewish heritage one bite at a time.
Team members can visit Jewish Food Society to choose recipes and explore their options.
19. Listen To Music
Listening to traditional Jewish music can bring a sense of the artistry of Jewish musicians. There are many types of music you can choose from, including Klezmer, traditional prayer music, and classical selections. By planning virtual Jewish Heritage Month ideas that include the arts, you can give your team a clearer understanding of the creative aspects of Jewish culture.
You can listen to streaming Jewish music of all genres on Jewish Radio Network.
20. Share Stories
You can designate some time throughout the week to share stories of the Jewish culture with your associates. There are parables, fables, folk stories, and Biblical tales in Jewish literature, several with morals or lessons included. Many Jewish stories feature warmth and humor to go along with the lesson! You can choose a story or two to read or designate a few readers to take turns during a virtual meeting. By exploring the stories from Jewish culture, your team can discover the literary aspects that make Jewish heritage and history special.
Sites like Chabad.org are ideal sources for Jewish folktales and fables.
Activities that commemorate Jewish Heritage Month provide an opportunity to learn more about the surrounding community and culture. Whether you choose to play games, listen to a special speaker, cook a Jewish meal, or learn a few Yiddish words, your team will gain insight into the history and contributions Jewish culture has made to the world.
Next, check out this list of virtual diversity and inclusion exercises.