Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

Classroom teachers may download, print, and use KlezCalifornia Tam lesson plans in their own classrooms without restriction, including modification for their own purposes. Independent Jewish educators may also use the lesson plans, including in presentations to schools and camps for which they receive a fee, and including modification for their own purposes. Otherwise no one may copy or publish KlezCalifornia Tam lesson plans in any form without express permission. References to Tam lesson plans should cite “Tam: Tastes of Yiddish Culture for Kids & Teens, a program of KlezCalifornia,” and link to or

A. Acknowledgments

B. Strategies, Introduction, and Basic Content, for All Lesson Plans

C. How to Approach Schools about Tam and Build Partnerships

1. Intro to Yiddish Language & History (grades K-12)
What is Yiddish and where did it come from? Students listen to and learn a simple Yiddish song, a few Yiddish words and phrases and see how Jewish values are conveyed through songs. They learn a bit about 1,000 years of Jewish history that was lived in Yiddish.

2. Learn A Bisl Yiddish (grades K-12)
Yiddish words in English, simple Yiddish phrases, holiday names, how words in other languages made their way into Yiddish.

3. Why Yiddish Shares So Many Words With Other Languages (Every Language Does) (grades 7-12)
How and why all languages change.

4. Where in the World are Bobe and Zeyde? Jewish Geography and the Languages of Our Ancestors (grades K-12)
Students look at their roots, including where their ancestors came from, languages their ancestors spoke, and origins of their own family names and personal names.

5. Yiddish Customs in North American Jewish Life (grades K-12)
Yiddish words, phrases, and customs in American synagogue and home life.

6. Making Bobe Proud: What Do You Know about Ashkenazi Jewish Food? (grades 5-12)
Discussion of what makes food Jewish (or Yiddish), followed by a cooking lesson with Shlishkes Recipe.

7. Yiddish Culture in North American Life (grades K-12)
Yiddish words in English, food, humor, American institutions created by Yiddish-speaking Jews, klezmer influences on jazz.

8. Overview of “Yid Lit:” Yiddish Literature Lesson Plans (grades K-12)
What can a Yiddish short story help us learn about Jewish life? We read (in English) a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Sholem Aleichem, or I.L. Peretz. We read a full story or a shortened version of some Sholem Aleichem stories prepared by Citizen Film. Ten separate lessons, with different stories and discussion questions:

9. Intro to Klezmer Music (grades K-12)
Klezmer was originally Jewish wedding music. It tells us about the lives and celebrations of many of our ancestors. Prepare to listen, learn, and maybe dance!

10. The Language Debates: What Languages “Should” Jews Speak? (grades 7-12)
What languages are you studying and why? We’ll explore these issues through historical Jewish debates about language.

11. Jewish Lives in Yiddish Song (grades K-12)
Listen to, sing, and discuss Yiddish songs on any of five themes to find out about the lives and history of Yiddish-speaking Jews:

12. Yiddish Life in Painting & Photography (grades 7-12)
Explore paintings and photographs from or about Eastern Europe for clues to

13. Reaping in Song: The Weekend and Yiddish Protest Culture (grades 7-12).
The American fight for workers’ rights began in union halls and picket lines — in Yiddish! We’ll discuss, and sing about, how speakers of Yiddish, strikers, poets, and industrialists collaborated to give us the two-day weekend.