Slideshow of Soviet Judaism throughout the Year


Photographs can tell us about times and places where we have not been or remind us of details we may not have noticed in a given moment. A photographer, like any artist, can bring his or her own point of view into their work by choosing the setting, repositioning the subject, and even choosing the lighting conditions in which they shoot the picture. All of these choices influence how the viewer sees what the photographer wants us to see. In this lesson, students will use photographs to learn about Jewish life in the former Soviet Union.

Learning Objectives

In this lesson, students will use photographs to learn about Jewish life in the former Soviet Union.



Watch the slideshow as a class, then discuss the details. Pick one image or examine them as a collection.

Ask students:

  • What components of the images stand out?
  • Do you see signs of weakness or strength?
  • Do the images appear posed?
  • Are there details in the images that tell more of the story?
  • Which elements bring up new questions?


Then, reflect together using one or more of the prompts below:

  • Become a journalist and come up with a headline about the scene.
  • Write about the scene, describing what you think happened just before the picture was taken and what you think will happen next.
  • Write a monologue from the point of view of one of the people in the photograph.
  • Paste a photocopy of the image in the center of a piece of white paper and then draw what you think is happening outside the frame of the photo.
  • Assume the physical positions of the figures in the photograph and then act out the scene.
  • Create a list of all of your subjective observations, then write a poem about the photo, using the language of your observations.
  • Make a photocopy of the image and draw thought bubbles above the heads of some of the figures. Fill in the bubbles with what you think the subjects of the photograph are thinking.
  • Create a soundtrack for the image, or a “musical collage,” by editing music clips into a medley that expresses something about the photo.

Wrap-up: Ask a few students to share their work with the rest of the class.


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