Letter Writing Activity


Students will write a letter to a former refusenik or activist. This lesson is a culminating activity at the end of a unit, quarter, or semester. Students will have the opportunity to reflect and articulate on who inspired them personally, and ideals or actions they will incorporate into their own lives.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify heroic character traits that they admire and traits that inspire trust and result in service to others
  • Reflect on their relationship to an individual who has exhibited heroic characteristics in their lives.

Duration: One class session


Pen and paper. The teacher/facilitator may choose to supply the students with nice stationery to add to the exercise.

Biographies of Refuseniks



  1. Think of a person from the movement for Soviet Jewry that inspired you. You can do your own research, or read biographies of Refuseniks here.

Who did you chose? Is it a:

  • refusenik that risked their life for freedom?
  • student activist – living a comfortable life – that wanted to make sure that all people are free?
  • community leader who created an organization that made a difference?

2. After you choose a person, think of a sentence or an aphorism* that would best express that person’s attitude toward the Refusenik movement.

3. Then, do the same thing for yourself  in relation to the personality that you chose.

Examples of aphorisms:

  • Love conquers all.
  • Hard work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  • Life is a battle one cannot lose.

4. Now write that person a letter. Use the sentences above to help you express how the person inspires you and what you will personally take from his/her story.

If the person is alive, let students know that we can send the letter. But, if the person is not alive, save the letters as a reminder of how the important things one does are remembered.

After the activity, choose a few students to share their letters.

Download Lesson

Click here to download the full lesson pack in .pdf format.
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