Student Books and Materials

The educational and training materials, described in detail below, can be used in sequence - or as stand-alone lessons and worksheets to enrich other programs. Student books are self-contained. They require no prior background in Sephardic Jewish education on the part of the teacher.      

Award-winning teaching video/DVD called "Ayer: Our Spanish Heritage"
Lively and colorful introduction to the story of the Jews whose ancestors came from the Spanish peninsula; starring
Theodore Bikel. It opens with their arrival on the peninsula in biblical times and ends with their expulsion in 1492.
Can be used alone or in conjunction with the first lesson in Book I, which wraps instruction around the video.
​(12 minutes). A memorable children's video covering an unusual slice of Jewish history.

"Out of Spain" music CD
Haunting melodies and songs to accompany certain lessons and introduce students to typical Sephardic music
​created by the Jews from Spain. Includes the popular Hanukkah song Ocho Kandelikas.

Student Book I: Ayer: Our Spanish Heritage
Five lessons and worksheets for children telling of the lives of the Jews from their earliest days on the
​Spanish peninsula until they were expelled in 1492 or were coerced into conversion to Catholicism (anousim).


Lesson 1:  Who are the Sephardic Jews? An introduction including our 12 minute video.* Includes a quick look at
the origins of some Sephardic names.
Lesson 2:  The Great Invasion: The impact of the arrival of the Moors in Spain upon Jewish life, synagogue
architecture and culture.
Lesson 3:  Heroes of the Golden Age and Beyond: Poets, songs, medicine and science. The life and ideas of
Maimonides. 
Lesson 4:  Music in the Castles: Birth of the Romanza and favorite instruments.** How Jews were part of the
explosion of courtly music.
Lesson 5:  Expulsion or Conversion: The Great Expulsion of 1492. How and why it happened. Learn about it by
​creating a TV newscast. Understand how it felt to be facing possible conversion under pressure.



                   Student Book II: Off to Other Lands: Sephardic Jews from 1492 to the Present
Nine lessons and worksheets for children covering the scattering and resettlement of the Sephardic Jews after expulsion from Spain. Includes their role in the colonization of the Americas.

Lesson 1:   Where are we going?... and the horrors on the way. Learn about the countries that were willing to offer the Jews a haven and why.
Lesson 2:   "We've Arrived!" - in the Ottoman Empire. How the incoming Jews learned to live in a Turkish environment and develop a code of Jewish law that fit the situation.
Lesson 3:   Morocco. How the Jews who decided to go to North Africa developed a very different lifestyle that was close to the one lived by their Arab neighbors.
Lesson 4:   Italy: the untold story of the role that the incoming Jews played in the explosion of art and learning of the Italian Renaissance which was in its heyday at the time. Why it all ended abruptly with the establishment of ghettos.
Lesson 5:  Dangerous Secrets: What happened to those who stayed behind:  a peek into the difficult lives of the forced converts known as conversos, anousim or crypto Jews.
Lesson 6:   A True Story: The amazing life of Doña Gracia Nasi,a look at one of most famous women in Jewish history who saved thousands of Jewish lives through a secret escape network.
Lesson 7:  The Caribbean Trading Game: play a board game that enables students to accompany the 17th century Sephardic merchants on their long distance trading voyages to and from the New World.
Lesson 8:   Arrival in the New World: how and why the first community of Jews reached New Amsterdam in 1654; and what happened.
Lesson 9:   American Sephardim in Modern Times: celebrate Jewish diversity with a look at the 'other' Jewish immigrants.

Student Book III: Celebrating Sephardic Culture
Seven lessons and worksheets that take you through the flavor, sounds and tastes that marked the lives of the Jews
​from Spain and Portugal. 

Lesson 1:  The Legend of the Key**
Why the house keys, left behind when the Spanish Jews were forced from Spanish soil, became so beloved in myth and memory. The importance of such tales to identity.
Lesson 2:   Similarities and Differences: understanding the differences between Ashkenazi and Sephardic customs.
Lesson 3:   Language Mixtures and Puzzles: The making of the Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) language.
Lesson 4:   Food Glorious Food: The history and practice of Sephardic cooking. Why and how it differs from Yiddish cooking.
Lesson 5:   A Sephardic Seder** complete model seder for your classroom or community center (or the home).
Lesson 6:   A Crypto-Jewish Seder** become a member of a hidden crypto Jewish community and celebrate their way (with all the possible dangers and pitfalls).
Lesson 7:   A Sephardic Hanukkah** celebrate with a party that offers food and entertainment that gives a different flavor to your celebrations.

 *Book I, Lesson 1 is designed to be used with our Jewish history children's video called "Ayer: Our Spanish Heritage."
**A music CD is available - and recommended - to accompany certain activities in these lessons.





Educational and training materials for
children 10 to 12 covering Sephardic history,
customs, festivals, music, food and folklore.
Programs for adults too.