Modern Jewish Short Stories | VHS Learning

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Modern Jewish Short Stories

Course Developed by Annette Ehrlich Lakein
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

What makes a story Jewish? The Jewish short stories studied in this course are steeped in the Jewish experience of their authors, yet many of these authors reject the “Jewish author” label. Their voices give us insight into the world in which they live and the ideas that live in their imagination. The themes in these stories are universal in our experience as Jews. Their word choice, their characters and the words they speak, and the persona who tells the story all paint a picture of a theme, an idea, the thoughts they have.

In this course, after careful reading of the stories, students will dialogue with each other and delve deeper into the stories as they share ideas with classmates.  Students will adopt the persona of the characters and "speak" as the characters and to them, learn about the setting and the environment where the characters live, and analyze the language the characters use and the narrator uses to establish the theme of the story. In this way, students will assess how an author can use this genre as a way to reflect on what makes up Jewish Identity. Then, using the literary techniques studied in this course, students will use their own voice as they design and develop their own original short story, to explore their personal Jewish experience.

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Annette Ehrlich Lakein is a veteran educator who has taught English and developed curriculum for grades six through twelve at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland for almost her entire career. She has also been a teacher and supervisor in congregational Hebrew Schools. She has a B.A. in English, an MEd. in Instructional Design, and an Ed.S in Curriculum and Instruction in Jewish Education. Ms.Lakein has published articles in the English Journal and has written a chapter for an ASCD publication on mentoring new teachers. At the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, she founded and advised the student run middle school literary-arts magazine,Collage, that has won top awards from NSPA, CSPA, and NCTE. Throughout her career, her passion has been for extending the classroom experience using technology and integrating secular and Judaic learning and thought.

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