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August 30, 2015 | 15th Elul 5775

Sacred Choices Curriculum Design

The Sacred Choices lessons and resources are based on the "Understanding by Design" curriculum development model, which is widely used in the field of general education.

The lessons utilize an approach that begins with desired outcomes in mind. The lessons aim to nurture "enduring understandings," values that have lifetime meaning for all Jews.

The enduring understandings of the Sacred Choices project are:

  • My body and soul -- including my sexuality -- are gifts from God.
  • Jewish tradition provides guidance in making sacred choices about how I use and care for these gifts and in coping with the consequences of my choices.

The essential questions of the Sacred Choices initiative are:

  1. What does it mean to view my life -- my body, soul, and sexuality -- as well as that of others as gifts from God? How does this view affect my own thoughts and actions? How does it affect my thoughts about and actions toward others?
  2. How does the way I treat my body and soul matter to myself, to God, and to others, particularly to other people in my Jewish community?
  3. What is the guidance that Jewish tradition provides in this area? Which elements resonate with me, and which do not? How can I incorporate Jewish beliefs and behaviors into my own life as I make these choices?
  4. What are the consequences of my choices? How does Judaism help me to cope with these consequences? How does God help me to cope with these consequences? What happens if I make a choice that does not treat my life and that of others as a sacred gift? Are all choices with regard to sexuality sacred?
  5. How is the guidance that Judaism provides in consonance with the messages in the greater society, and how is it countercultural? How can I evaluate the range of messages I receive?

As they explore and answer these questions, participants will begin to develop an understanding of Judaism’s stance on these ethical issues, the relevance of them to their lives, and their personal connection to them.

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