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Liberation Movements Document Study and Theater Activity

  1. Have each group read and discuss one of the Document Studies. Each group should then prepare two tableux vivants ("living pictures" – see Notes to Teacher) using the instructions provided in their Document Study.
  2. Once each group has completed their Document Study, bring the class back together. Invite each group up to perform their tableaux vivants in a stage area you've set up. (The stage could be at the front of the classroom, or it could be in the round.) When it is their turn, group members should go to the "stage" area, setup their first tableau vivant showing "the way things were." After holding that pose for 20-30 seconds, group members should move into the second pose to illustrate the change the activists wanted to make. After holding that pose for 20-30 seconds, the group can come out of their pose, but must stay in character.
  3. Speaking in character, the group then communicates to the class who they are, what concerns they have, whether their activism is focused within the Jewish community or not, how they see their struggle as connected to the Civil Rights Movement (if at all), and how they plan to bring about the change they want to see (if known from the document read). The teacher and other students in the class can ask questions, with group members responding as best they can in character. (If questions are raised that the students and teacher don't have answers to, use it as an opportunity to do some focused research on the given topic.)
  4. After everyone has performed their tableaux vivants, take your students through the process of reviewing and discussing what they learned, and reflecting on the experience of taking on the roles of the activists and designing their tableaux vivants (you may want to write the students' responses to the first few questions on the board):
    • What were the different movements discussed in the documents you studied?
    • Which of these movements were focused within the Jewish community? Which were focused outside of the Jewish community?
    • In what ways did the Jewish groups address issues specific to the Jewish community? In what ways did they remain connected to other social justice issues/movements?
    • What did Jewish activists learn from their experience with the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements?
    • With limited time and resources, how do you think you can balance work within and work outside the Jewish community (or a focus on changing the Jewish community and also changing the rest of the world)? Do you think you have to "liberate" yourself before you can work on the liberation of others? Why or why not?
    • Reiterate that the Jewish community began to change as the result of a new Jewish consciousness that developed in the late 1960s and 1970s. Many of these changes could be seen in every day Jewish life, and many are still with us today.
    • What was it like to take on the characters you created, based on your documents?
    • What did you find easy to communicate through your tableaux vivants? What wasn't as easy to get across? Why?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Liberation Movements Document Study and Theater Activity." (Viewed on December 5, 2019) <>.


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