We are proud to present our dance programme for Jewish Festivals and Shabbat. Primarily aimed at children in primary (elementary) schools, this material is also suitable for teaching older children and adults about Jewish Festivals.
The dances are suitable for use in Jewish formal and informal education settings and family events for the Jewish festivals. They are also designed to teach children of other faiths about the Jewish year and to promote community cohesion through interfaith activities.
Dances for the Jewish Year
(It is important that you read this before registration to access the materials)
The objectives of the programme:
Children will learn about the Jewish festivals (origins, symbols, practices, values) through the medium of dance.
The programme will make a positive contribution to Jewish education in Jewish settings, to the teaching of Judaism in non-Jewish settings and to interfaith and intergenerational learning.
Children will develop an understanding of how dance can enhance religious celebration and spiritual expression.
The programme will support children’s learning of Ivrit (modern Hebrew).
The programme will make a positive contribution to children’s health and wellbeing.
Children will perform dances using a range of movement patterns (English National Curriculum criteria for Dance)
The programme provides a journey in dance through the Jewish year. It includes simple circle, partner, ‘scatter’ and line dances. This is a programme that can be used flexibly, depending on how the Jewish calendar fits into the school calendar, the practice and ethos of the school and the demands of the curriculum. The dances may be planned into the PE curriculum or the Jewish Studies programme or may be included in a ‘one off’ festival event, when the material will support the inclusion of parents, or children from other faith settings.
Shabbat dances can be taught at times of the year when there are fewer festivals (November and July).
The programme has been developed over many years and has been piloted in settings in the UK and beyond. The impact of the programme is evident in feedback we have received. Here are some examples:
Education Director, Russia: ‘The dances for Jewish festivals you provided helped us build a Jewish Studies programme for children and their families’.
School Teacher, UK: ‘The children loved the dances shared for Lag B’Omer last week and look forward to learning more’.
Religion School Teacher, USA: ‘Thank you! Thank you! We’re doing online classes for the Sunday School. I love the dances you provide’.
Primary School Pupil, UK: ‘The dancing has helped me with my Ivrit. I get to know lots of Israeli songs and they just get stuck in my mind’
There are many other Israeli dances for children, not linked to festivals that could support learning about Judaism and Israel. IDI would be happy to help to incorporate these dances into learning across the curriculum. Please do contact us if interested.
IDI is happy to support teachers and dance leaders with advice and training.
Please contact us if you need us.
How to access the materials
To access the materials and future updates, there is a registration fee of £18.
Please first create an account on our website by clicking the link below. Once you have logged in you can follow a link to pay the registration fee and access the additional resources.
Please be aware that when you register with IDI, no data will be shared outside the organisation because of GDPR regulations.
We would like to acknowledge and thank: Raya Spivak, the creator of many of the dances, who inspired and created much of this programme, with her late husband, Yossi. Yael Ya’akobi who continues to inspire us and to create new material. Susy Stone who wrote the lesson plans and teaching notes.
We would also like to thank the following record companies for using their recordings. While UK law enables us to use the material for educational purposes without paying a royalty, we have paid a license fee to the companies involved as a gesture of good will. We recommend you visit their websites to find other music for dance and enjoyment:
We also want to thank the estate of the late Debbie Friedman for permission to use her version of “Brachot Lehavdala”.