EDUCATOR'S GUIDE TO ALEX: BUILDING A LIFE
The Educator's Guide to Alex: Building a Life is located below in PDF form, divided into separate sections for the ease of educators' curricula, as well as in a whole PDF in its entirety.
aBOUT THE educator's guide
Why the Educator's Guide?
Educators in Jewish schools, summer camps, Hillels, Birthright and other Israel experience programs have come to know Alex’s story and realized the power of his words to engage young Jews. Alex asked himself many of the questions they are asking themselves: What actions can create a meaningful life? How does Jewish identity impact my perceptions of meaning? What is the nature of my relationship to Israel and what are my responsibilities to it as a Jew? How do I feel about the concepts of Homeland and Diaspora? Is aliyah an option? Joining the IDF?
The intention of the educational guide is to provide a format for educators, in formal and informal settings, to use the letters and journals Alex wrote about his experiences to trigger reflection and growth of young adult Jews. We hope that it will be useful to a wide range of educators to inspire and cultivate the next generations of dynamic Jews.
The Guide and the Book
The guide is meant to be used together with ‘Alex: Building a Life,’ the book that tells Alex's story in his own words, through his letters, journal entries and sketches. This program is designed to translate the book directly into educational terms. Our suggestion is that the book should be distributed to the participants after the first prologue activity, for them to read individually and make use of throughout the duration of the program.
Who is it meant for?
The guide is flexible and has been written with a number of different potential educational settings in mind. The target audience is Jewish youth of high school age and upwards, as students of this age begin to grapple with their own picture of the world and consider their life choices. The guide is designed for use in a group framework, one that straddles the line between formal and informal education, such as a workshop. More important than an exact educational structure, the guide requires the participating institution and its framework’s commitment to values education, which seeks to confront youth with relevant issues to assist them in building thoughtful, value-centered lives. A few of its possible settings include Diaspora high schools, Israel tours and Jewish summer camps.
How is it structured?
The guide is divided into four main sections: "On Home and Its Leaving" (Israel and aliyah issues), "On the Army and Its Living" (army and leadership issues), "On the Land and Its Loving" (nature, land and land of Israel issues) and "On Life and Its Meaning" (issues of life's meaning). They are preceded by a prologue getting-to-know-Alex section and succeeded by a tying-it-all-together section. The suggestion is to proceed according to the order of the sections. Throughout the sections, Students will encounter many different sections of the Alex book, and it is valuable to mark particularly significant pieces.
How should the Guide be used?
Apart from the first prologue section, each section has three or four different activities. These are your raw materials. There is absolutely no need to use all the activities, as some are better suited to one setting than to another. The activities are designed to give extra breadth to the issues discussed in each section by examining them from different vantage points. If several of the activities in a given section are used, they can provide a multi-layered, rich introduction to the questions at hand.
The activities, though presented in a very structured form, can be tinkered with in order to suit the needs of each individual group, which should be decided by group leaders or teachers. The programs can be used as they are in more conventional settings such as a classroom, or radically transformed to fit the spirit of a more alternative approach. We have attempted to provide an educational program that uses a wide variety of techniques, including art, music and drama, as well as text study and debate.