Jewish Sensibilities: An Interactive Guide

Jewish Sensibilities.

This concept began life as a deck of cards that students at Kent State University Hillel helped to develop with their Senior Jewish Educator, Rabbi Lee Moore. The term “Jewish Sensibilities” was first introduced by Vanessa Ochs in her 2003 Sh’ma Journal article, Ten Jewish Sensibilities. Each care bore the name of a sensibility, a Jewish way of thinking about the world and responding to it. This interactive guide is designed to provide you with an expansion pack for those cards. It offers different ways of bringing the ideas presented on the cards to life within activities that might be run by a Hillel. It was prepared with the support and guidance of the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.

We think these Sensibilities have a lot to say to us. They can help us resist distorted images about our bodies (Tzelem Elohim), put down our cell phones and focus on what's important (Shabbat), and argue productively (Elu v'Elu). They can help us deal with failure (Shevirah), celebrate with responsibility (Simcha) and take the next step (Na'aseh v'Nishmah). They guide us when we try to figure out who we really are (Teshuvah), what we owe to others (Brit), how to lead (Yisrael), and how to dare greatly (Lech Lecha).

Many of these sessions are designed to be used at events where you might want to bring some Jewish content into the conversation. Going on a service trip? Check out Brit: Jews and Social Justice. Cleaning out the dorm? Check out Simcha: Hakarat Hatov (Gratitude). Looking to celebrate graduation? Look no further than Lech Lecha: Graduation Havdalah. Each section starts out with a 'On One Foot' page. Is this sensibility new to you, or do you want to find out more about it? Start there and get the overview! From there, each session is labeled with a “This Activity is Great For” icon that tells you right at the beginning what it can be used for. At the end of each unit you'll find textsheets for students. This will give you just the texts used in each activity so you can photocopy the bare essentials for your students and keep the facilitator's notes for yourself.

Click below to download the entire curriculum - or select an individual sensibility unit. Our goal is to disseminate these materials as widely as possible. Hillel International grants you permission to copy or otherwise distribute this curriculum to anyone who might find it valuable. 

Hillel Sensibilities - Entire Curriculum (PDF File)


Please share your feedback with us at the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience.

If you would like a bound, hard copy of the curriculum, please contact the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience.