Shemot Curriculum: Faith, Resistance and Leadership

boys raising handsJOFA’s Shemot enrichment curriculum addresses issues of leadership in the Shemot narrative, on an individual (Miriam, the midwives) and collective level. The modules echo one another and build thematically on each other. They give voice to a counter-narrative embedded in the book of Shemot, a narrative of resistance to the dominant voice – at times, a voice of gezerah (decree), at others, a voice of despair. The women’s leadership stems from their abiding faith in God, despite circumstances which hide God’s power. From their courageous and ingenious behavior in the midst of slavery – partnering with God, defying Pharaoh, rousing their husbands out of the numbness of slavery – to their readiness for celebration and their refusal to abandon God, the women align themselves with the divine narrative.


The curriculum, designed to take into account multiple learning styles, contains the following units:man and woman at well

  • The Multiple Births 
  • The Midwives 
  • Creating Slavery
  • Resisting Slavery
  • Miriam (Young Leadership)
  • Moshe at the Well
  • Paving the Way with Gold and Silver
  • Shirat HaYam
  • The Golden Calf


Read the introduction to learn more. 

Click here to download the Shemot Curriculum for free! 

Click here to learn about the Bereishit Curriculum.

About the Authors: 
Tammy Jacobowitz earned a PhD in Rabbinic Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. A graduate of Drisha's Scholars Circle, Tammy has taught extensively at Drisha and has been on the Rabbinics faculty for Me'ah's adult education program. She is currently a full-time Judaic Studies teacher at the SAR High school in Riverdale, New York. 

Judith Talesnick continued her education studies at Drisha’s Hasha’ar Educators Program after pursuing a Master’s degree in Jewish Women’s Studies at Jerusalem’s Machon Schecter. While teaching Humash at two Manhattan day schools, Judith was consistently moved by the rich understandings that students could develop when they were each provided with tools for success. Judith's commitment to differentiated instruction led her to become a coach at Hidden Sparks, an organization dedicated to helping children with learning differences reach their full potential. She currently coaches general and Judaic studies teachers, helping them reflect upon classroom practice and integrate more inclusive teaching strategies in their classrooms, at New York area Yeshivot.