Jewish Values List - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Skip to main content

You are here

Jewish Values List

Main Content

Jewish Values List

Resources for Teaching Jewish Values
Compiled and annotated by Beth Goldstein; Edited by Andrea Fleekop February 2005 Items are listed by appropriate age from early childhood through adult resources. 


Resources: Pre-School through Second Grade

Behrman House. Let's Discover Mitzvot: Folders for Grades K-2.
Each colorful folder teaches a mitzvah through biblical texts and stories from our past and present. Then student decide how to incorporate the mitzvah into real life. 

Holy Blossom Temple. Teaching Jewish Values Through Literature in the Supplementary Jewish School: Four Lessons for Each Grade K-3.
Curriculum consists of instant lessons on caring, hospitality, respect, and tikkun olam. 

Torah Aura. Grishaver, Joel Lurie. Jewish Values from Alef to Tav for Grades 2-3.
Designed around the alefbet, this packet includes 24 small booklets, each detailing one Jewish value. Each contains a story based on the value as well as discussion questions. 

Torah Aura. BJL Beginnings: Mitzvah/Jewish Values for Grades K-1.
This series of colorful folders focuses on miztvot/values. Each begins with verses from Torah and includes basic Hebrew, blessings, and activities around the mitzvah/value. 

Torah Aura. BJL Beginnings: Mitzvot/Jewish Values for Grades 2-3.
Much like the packet designed for students in grade K-1, this packet elaborates on the additional Jewish values at a more sophisticated level. 

Torah Aura. Fox, Marci. Making the World Better.
This instant lesson shows how children can make a difference. It includes stickers. 

Torah Aura. Fox, Marci. What Can $5.00 Do?
Complete with a teacher's guide, student packets, and money stickers, this instant lesson helps students connect tzedakah to the larger concepts of mitzvot and God. 

Cone, Molly. Who Knows Ten? Children's Tales of the Ten Commandments.
Each chapter contains stories relating to one of the Ten Commandments 

Eisenberg, Phyllis Rose. A Mitzvah Is Something Special. This story is about a little girl who asks lots of questions about mitzvot. Through her questions, students learn about mitzvot and can be inspired to perform them. 

Leiberman, Sarah. A Trip to Mezuzah Land.
Join Morah Chana as she takes her students on a magical journey to mezuzah land. Learn how a mezuzah is made and where it gets placed. 

Olidort, Baila. Quarters, Dimes, Nickels, and Pennies.
Show students how tzedakah works. Join David and his mom see with their own eyes how every little quarter, dime, nickel, or penny helps those in need. 

Pamensky, Robin. Avi's Adventures in the Mitzvah Car.
Follow the adventures of Avi and his mitzvah car. Learn about different types of mitzvot and discuss them with your students. 

Siegel, Danny. Tell Me A Mitzvah: Little and Big Ways to Repair the World.
Inspirational for any age, this book provides true stories of people performing acts of tikkun olam throughout the world. After each story Siegel provides a section called "What Can I Do?" instructing us how to perform acts of tikkun olam. 

Syme, Deborah Shayne. Partners
Learn what it means to be God's partner in the world. Inspired by his rabbi's sermon, Josh and Jacob are determined to find out how they can be partners in the world. After a school fieldtrip, they make a list of ways they can help fix the community's problems. 

Rosenberg, Amye. Mitzvot.
This resource book provides instant worksheets and projects focused on mitzvot. 

Rosenberg, Amye. Tzedakah.
Similar to Mitzvot, this resource book provides instant activities dealing with tzedakah. 


Resources: Third through Fifth Grade

Holy Blosson Temple. Teaching Jewish Values Through Literature in the Supplementary Jewish School. See above description. 

Torah Aura. BJL Beginnings: Mitzvot/Jewish Values. See above description. 

Torah Aura. Stories We Live By.
Each colorful packet contains a story from tradition and discussion questions focused on a Jewish value. Topics range from friendship to tzedakah. 

Torah Aura. Agents of Peace: Instant Lesson.
This family education instant program teaches families to be agents of peace by carefully watching how our language and the way we speak to others. 

Torah Aura. How Much Should I Give? An Instant Lesson.
This instant lesson connects what we put in the tzedakah box with acts of tzedek. 

Torah Aura. Rambam's Rungs: An Instant Lesson.
This lesson explores Maimonides' eight levels of giving through five activities. 

Torah Aura. Words that Hit, Words that Hug: An Instant Lesson.
This family education program teaches about the power of words. Through text study and discussion families assess the way they speak to each other. 

Blumental, Scott E. A Kid's Mensch Handbook: Step by Step to a Lifetime of Jewish Values Grades 3-5.
This bright and colorful NEW book guides your students on a journey towards becoming a mensch. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 

UAHC Greene Family Camp. Stories of Our People: Menschlichkeit: Informal Education/Jewish Values for Grades 3-12.
This binder provides 12 program outlines with key questions and suggested activities. 

Abraham, Michelle Shapiro. Be a Mensch Campaign: Jewish Values Grades 3-4
This series of five colorful booklets is designed to serve as an ongoing curriculum strand. Each contains a story, activity, and section for parents to do with children. 

Gold-Vukson, Marji. Tzedakah Copy Pak.
This resource book provides instant tzedakah activities. 


Resources: Sixth through Eighth Grade

Torah Aura. The Content of their Character. 
This series of instant lessons focuses on values and our own character. Each explains a Jewish value and contains questions and activities for further discussion. 

Torah Aura. One Who Saves One Life; Why Bosnia is a Jewish Problem.
Designed for students in grades 7-12, this lesson tells a Jewish story about the tragedy in Bosnia and challenges students to help save a life. 

Alper, Janice and Joel Grishaver. Mah La'asot: What Should I Do? Grades 5-8.
This book presents realistic situations requiring a decision and then provides questions for students to discuss how they would act. Finally it teaches a Jewish perspective. 

Artson, Bradley Shavit. It's a Mitzvah! Step By Step to Jewish Living Grades 8+.
This book connects certain practical mitzvot with history, God, and klal yisrael. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 

Gevirtz, Gila. Count Me In: Jewish Wisdom in Action Grades 5-7.
This NEW textbook guides pre-teens on an exploration of Jewish values. Biblical stories as well as stories of regular people serve as inspiration. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 

Gittelsohn, Roland B. How Do I Decide? A Contemporary Jewish Approach to What's Right and What's Wrong Grades 7-10.
This textbook tackles issues teens face such as life and death, family, gender, and dating. 

Grishaver, Joel Lurie. You Be The Judge.
Students are presented with ethical cases and decide how they would respond. 

Halper, Sharon D. To Learn Is To Do: A Tikkun Olam Roadmap Grades 5-6.
This book guides students towards tikkun olam through text study and activities. 

Prager, Janice and Arlene Lepoff. Why Be Different? A Look into Judaism
Beginning with questions, this book explores mitzvot between people and God. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 

Schwartz, Barry L. Jewish Heroes Jewish Values
This book connects values with Jews throughout history. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 


Resources: High School

Torah Aura. The Content of their Character. See above description. 

Torah Aura. One Who Saves One Life. See above description. 

Torah Aura. Life Choices.
This instant lesson addresses the topic of abortion, providing facts as well as resources. 

Aaron, Scott. Jewish U: A Contemporary Guide for the Jewish College Student.
Have you ever thought leaving for college from a Jewish perspective? This book addresses the fears of college-bound teenagers and provides Jewish resources. 

Artson, Bradley Shavit and Gila Gevirtz. Making a Difference: Putting Jewish Spirituality Into Action One Mitzvah at a Time Grades 9-12.
Students will explore ways to incorporate Jewish values into the lives as young adults. 

Gittelsohn, Roland B. Love in Your Life.
This book is designed to address issues relating to teenage sexuality. 

Lamm, Maurice. Living Torah in America
This book explores ways to live a Jewish life within a majority Christian culture. 

Meyer, Rabbi David J. The Rabbinic Driving Manual
Set up like a driver's manual, this book provides resources for discussing common questions and concerns in a Jewish context. 

Pasachoff, Naomi. A Topical Bible: Biblical Answers to Modern Questions This book confronts modern questions teens face through studying our sacred texts. 

Polish, Daniel F., Daniel B. Syme, and Bernard M. Zlotowitz. Drugs, Sex and Integrity: What Does Judaism Say? This textbook provides Jewish text relating to the above topics for teens. 

Klagsbrun, Francine. Voices of Wisdom: Jewish Ideals & Ethics for Everyday Living.
This anthology of text serves as a guide for students towards ethical decision making. 

Zwerin, Rabbi Raymond A. and Audrey Friedman Marcus. Medical Ethics
Designed as a mini-course, this packet explores a variety of Jewish medical ethics. 

Resources: College and Adult Education

Aaron, Scott Jewish U: A Contemporary Guide for the Jewish College Student. See above description. 

Artson, Bradley Shavit and Gila Gevirtz Making a Difference: Putting Jewish Spirituality Into Action One Mitzvah at a Time. See above description. 

Borowitz, Eugene B. The Jewish Moral Virtues
First written as a seminar taught by Dr. Borowitz at HUC, this book serves as a great adult education resource on Jewish virtues. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 

Dorf, Elliot N. Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics.
This resource book addresses a wide range of medical ethics and provides Jewish perspectives. (Teacher's Guide Available.) Dorf, Elliot N. Love Your Neighbor and Yourself.
This book addresses personal ethics and they way we treat others. (Teacher's Guide Available.) 

Goldstein, Niles E. and Peter S. Knobel Duties of the Soul: The Role of the Commandments in Liberal Judaism
This adult textbook explores mitzvot from a Reform Jewish perspective. 

Klagsbrun, Francine. Voices of Wisdom: Jewish Ideals & Ethics for Everyday Living.
See above description. 


Freeman, Susan. Teaching Jewish Virtues: Sacred Sources and Arts Activities. This resource book guides the teacher through teaching the topic of Jewish Virtues. Each chapter contains an overview of one virtue, text studies, and numerous activities. 

Kadden, Barbara Binder and Bruce. Teaching Mitzvot: Concepts, Values, & Activities. This resource book provides materials on 41 specific mitzvot. Each chapter provides an overview of a mitzvah, a whole host of teaching activities broken down by age, and a bibliography of additional resources. 

Have you ever wanted to find the perfect book for your lesson? Now you can. This database maintained by the Association of Jewish Libraries allows you to search through Jewish literature by typing in a Jewish value such as "mensch" or "tikkun olam." You can narrow your search by selecting an age group and/or keywords. 

Rhea Hirsch School of Education Values Curriculum Guides

Title Goals Grade Author Year
Camp Values Curriculum: Talmud Torah To teach the Jewish value of Talmud Torah through text study 4 - 6 Jacques, Amy Idit 2002
Living Jewish Virtues: An Exploration of Midot To explore Jewish virtues (between people/between people and God) with the understanding that observing virtues leads to a life of holiness. 5 - 6 Lewis, David J. 2000
And Makes Us Holy... An exploration of Mitzvot To see Jewish life as the pursuit of holiness and mitzvot as steps in that pursuit. To internalize the Reform process of informed choice and choose meaningful mitzvot. 7 Abraham, Michelle Shapiro 1996
Mitzvot in Our Lives To learn about, internalize, and practice mitzvot in order to strengthen Jewish identity and community. 7 Ettlinger, Kim 2004
The Virtues of Being a Jewish Teenager To study relevant Jewish virtues and encourage students to emulate them. To see the concept of b'tzelem elohim as the basis for Jewish virtues. 8 Rosenzweig, Emily 2004
Jewish Bioethics To explore the ethical decisions posed by modern medicine. It addresses different Jewish positions on concerns about the way in which one cares for one's body and the decisions that one is forced to make about the treatment of a loved one. 9 Mandell, Avram 2001
Turning Secular Choices into Jewish Choices To help college-bound students have a Jewish system for making tough choices. To expose students to Jewish texts. 11 - 12 Werbow, Michael 2004
Fostering Klal Yisrael Through Mitzvot Beyn Adam Lchavero To connect mitzvot to our actions. To study and socialize with Jews from other synagogues. 12 Lynn, Michelle Joy 1996


Rhea Hirsch School of Education

Title Goals Grade Author Year
Test Your Words Before You Utter Them: Developing a Code of Personal Jewish Ethics To examine Jewish text and stories involving ethics. To develop a sense of personal ethics. 6 - 8 Cohen, Jordan 1988
Mah La'ashot: Making Decisions Jewishly To study Jewish values and use them when making decisions. 7 - 8 Spitzer, Julie 1983
Reform Judaism and Mitzvot To explore and experiment with mitzvot. 9 - 12 Fox-Greene, Marcia 1984
Human Sexuality: A Jewish Response To explore Jewish texts on sex, birth control, abortion, homosexuality, gender, and love in order to play a role in decision making. 9 - 12 Sagarin (Baumblatt), Lori 1984
Tzedek To explore the importance of tzedek (righteousness) in Jewish tradition. 9 - 12 Cohen, Cheryl Seidman 1992
The Sanctity of Life in Modern Dilemmas To examine the Jewish notion of the sanctity of life. Topics covered include: life cycle events and medical ethics. 9 - 12 Farkas, Terri Ostach 1991