The Next Global Day of Jewish Learning will be on November 17, 2019
The 2019 Theme is “Speaking Volumes”
This year’s theme is “Speaking Volumes”. From ancient arguments to modern meanings, from raising our voices to remaining silent, explore how and why words matter.
Words have power. They can create, they can harm or heal, they can explain or they can obscure. Even our silences can speak volumes. This year, communities around the world will join together to discuss words and their impact on our lives, using Jewish texts as a starting point for conversations. Explore the power of words by asking questions like:
- Do words have the power to affect the world around us?
- How can we learn through disagreements?
- What can Jewish texts teach us about how our words can hurt others?
- How is silence a form of speech?
- What can we learn about our relationships from the names we use?
2019 Curricular Unit Descriptions
- Names: Meaning and Memory
Names are words we use – for ourselves and for others – to demonstrate the nature of our relationships and how we view the world. We will look at texts that explore how names connect us with meanings and memories.
- Moses: Not a Man of Words?
Moses is remembered for his many teachings, but did you know that Moses did not consider himself a man of words? We will take a closer look at the tension between Moses’ actions and his words, and what this teaches us about leadership.
- The Silence of Aaron
Silence can be a kind of speech, and what is unsaid is often as important as what is said. In the Bible, Aaron’s response to tragedy is summed up in two words: “Vayidom Aharon – and Aaron was silent”. What meanings does his silence hold?
- Hurling Words Towards Heaven: Hannah’s Prayer
The Talmud holds up Hannah as a model for how to pray. Though she appears in the Bible only briefly, she makes a lasting impression. What can we learn from Hannah’s prayer about how we converse with the Divine?
- Hurtful Words
What can Jewish texts teach us about the ways our words can cause harm? In this unit, we will explore how the words we choose and use can affect those around us, whether or not we intend for those words to wound.
FOR MIDDLE AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS
- The Names We Call Each Other (Middle School)
Names are words we use to identify ourselves and each other. How do our names, what we call each other, and the intentions behind our words affect our relationships? How can words hurt? Do our intentions matter when we speak?
- Moses: Words or Actions (Elementary School)
Moses was famous for being a great leader who could speak directly to God, but Moses wasn’t confident about speaking to people. What can we learn from Moses about using words and taking action?
FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD: PJ LIBRARY PROGRAMMING UNITS
PJ Library offers discussion prompts, mix-and-match activities, and intergenerational learning opportunities for children aged 2-8. Explore names, watching one’s speech, creating the world with words, and more.
Bring your community closer together by adding your voices to the generations of debate that have come before us. Rabbi Steinsaltz writes:
The meaning of a word has a power of its own. Words give us the enormous power of transferring ideas to others, even as words help us formulate ideas in ways that we ourselves can grasp. When we understand words – not as history or as a dictionary definition, but as living entities – we grasp both the power and the limits of words, that is the basis of a new relationship with our own ideas.— Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, Simple Words
Interested in hosting a community event in November 2019? Sign up now and get started!
You can also learn any time throughout the year! Check out year-long learning resources here.
The full 2018 curriculum, videos, resources and guides are available to the public now.
Have questions? Email us for more information.
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Past Years’ Curricula
2017: Beauty & Ugliness
2014: Heroes & Villains
2013: Creating Together
2012: Blessings & Gratitude
The 8th annual Global Day of Jewish Learning took place on November 12, 2017, exploring Beauty & Ugliness. Asking tough questions about beauty, ugliness and perception can teach us about gender dynamics, social power, self-worth and control from narratives in Jewish texts.
The 7th annual Global Day of Jewish Learning took place on November 20, 2016. The theme was Under the Same Sky: The Earth is Full of Your Creations, which explored our world and nature.
The 6th annual Global Day of Jewish Learning was on Sunday Nov 15, 2015. The theme was Love: Devotion, Desire & Deception, focusing on the many facets of love, in our Jewish texts and in our modern lives.
On Sunday November 18, 2012, 350 Jewish communities across the world joined together for the third annual Global Day of Jewish Learning. The theme of the Global Day and curriculum was Jewish concepts of blessing and gratitude.
Would you like to learn more? Click here to download the cumulative Global Day 2012 Report.
Global Day 2011 was an astounding success, uniting 250 Jewish communities across 40 countries in a day of Jewish learning. The theme of Global Day 2011 was the Unity of the Jewish people, as seen through the Shema prayer. In the words of Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, “For the Jewish people, the Shema is a call, a slogan, a sign of identification and an expression of great emotions. It is a declaration of bond, principles and identity.”
The Global Day of Jewish Learning was conceived to mark the completion of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s monumental translation on the Talmud. Thanks to your astounding level of participation, the inaugural 2010 Global Day was a historic achievement. It reached every corner of the Jewish world and – perhaps, for the first time – brought Jews across the spectrum of beliefs and backgrounds together in a day of study and unity. You then truly went “a step ahead” by calling for an annual event.