Educator Resources

Current and Recent Exhibitions

To Build & Be Built: Kibbutz History

Teaching The Kibbutz: A Social Experiment in Utopia
Grades 4 and Up

Inspired by two exhibitions related to kibbutz history and artistic explorations of utopia, this guide provides background information, suggested activities, and links to resources, as well as two teacher-written lessons related to teaching about the kibbutz.



Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art

Explore the artworks in Beyond Belief in the classroom or within the context of a Museum visit. Resources include information, discussion questions, suggested activities, and multimedia links.


Arthur Szyk and the Art of the Haggadah
Grades 7- 12

Explore themes of Passover and social activism through the work of Arthur Szyk.  This resource includes questions for a visual analysis of illustrations from Szyk’s illuminated Haggadah, as well as suggestions for activities to connect contemporary life with Passover themes of oppression and redemption.





Stories of Survival: Creating and Exploring Oral Histories in the Classroom
All grades

This educator guide brings together resources that include: suggestions for using oral histories as a classroom teaching tool, lesson plans for teaching students to develop interview questions and techniques, and a teacher-written how-to-guide for utilizing simple technology—particularly smart phones and computers—to compile and share a class oral history projects.



Artistic Responses to the Holocaust
Grades 9-12

This compelling resource, created in collaboration with the Holocaust Center of Northern California, explores the power of art as a response to genocide, using the artwork of Our Struggle (featuring altered pages of Hitler’s Mein Kampf).  It looks at the origins and effects of Mein Kampf and lays groundwork for students to consider the impact of the book and theories of eugenics on the Holocaust. It then introduces Our Struggle as an example of a communal, artistic response and asks students to consider their own artistic responses to the Holocaust and genocide.



Art as a Tool for Survival
Grades 9-12

This curriculum was created by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center and Contra Costa Midrasha. The guide explores the role music, theater, and art played as a tool for survival during the Holocaust. It highlights several case studies, including the fascinating story of Charlotte Salomon.



Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker.
Grades 6-12

This curriculum explores the topic of Nazi-era looting and restitution through a study of one art collection.  The collection of Jaques Goudstikker, an art dealer living in Amsterdam, was almost lost forever when Nazis looted over 800 of its most valuable artworks.  A team of experts followed clues for decades to recover approximately 200 of the artworks. This resource provides activities to explore this story, looting, and restitution. This curriculum also provides a platform for a mini-unit on 17th century Dutch art, the focus of Goudstikker’s collecting.



The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League: 1936-1951

This curriculum website, created by the Jewish Museum in New York, explores the historical context of the exhibition,  provides a glossary, and offers in-depth lessons and activities focusing on nine artworks from the exhibition.  Designed for use in elementary, middle, and high-school classrooms.


California Dreaming: Jewish Life in the Bay Area from the Gold Rush to the Present
Grades 4-8

This curriculum guide provides lesson plans exploring the unique character of the Bay Area Jewish community, its origins during the Gold Rush and its continued pioneering spirit.  It contains resources for analyzing primary source documents and activities designed to help students connect this history to their own communities.  Additionally, the guide includes a streamlined overview of Bay Area Jewish history for teachers.



There's a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak
Elementary School

This resource contains suggested discussion questions and activities designed explore books by author/illustrator Maurice Sendak.  Activities focus on the bookmaking process, gaining an understanding of how Sendak’s personal experience informs his writing, and encourages comparisons of illustrations, themes, and characters across Sendak’s books.  This guide is an ideal resource for creating an author study on Maurice Sendak.



Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H. A. Rey
Elementary School

These lessons use the well-loved stories of a curious monkey to teach language arts and social studies skills.  Learn about the amazing journey of illustrator H. A. Rey and his wife, author and artist Margret Rey, who kept illustrations for their children’s stories safe as they fled the Nazis during World War II.

Jewish Thought



Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art and Jewish Thought
Grades 6-12

This guide provides Jewish source texts on trees, ideas for exploring themes of Judaism and the environment, images of several works of art based on trees, and guiding questions for analyzing and interpreting the artwork. It includes a stimulating essay “From Roots to Fruits: The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life,” by Dr. Jeremy Benstein.



Are We There Yet? A Curriculum Exploring the Power of Questions.
Grades 7-12

This curriculum explores the purpose and impact of personal questions, illuminates the importance of questions in Jewish tradition, and encourages students to consider the power of questioning to affect social change. The curriculum includes three lesson plans, a culminating activity, source materials and handouts.

Curriculum Facebook page – a gathering place for educators to converse about this curriculum



As It Is Written: Project 304,805 (The Torah Project): A Multimedia Web Resource Page
Appropriate for all ages.

In 2010, the Contemporary Jewish Museum commissioned soferet Julie Seltzer to scribe a Torah in the Museum as the centerpiece of the exhibition As it is Written: Project 304,805 (The Torah Project). After 18 months, 248 columns, and 304,805 letters, the project was completed. This multimedia web page provides video links as well as interactive, online, and printable resources on the art of Torah scribing and ritual usage of a Torah scroll. The webpage also shares links to Museum-hosted panel discussions on Torah in contemporary Jewish life.



Writing a Torah: An Interview with New Scribe Julie Seltzer
Appropriate for all ages.

In this 7 minute video created by the Contemporary Jewish Museum as part of the exhibition As it is Written: Project 304,805, meet Soferet Julie Seltzer, the second known woman to scribe a complete Torah scroll, who talks about Torah, scribing, and her experiences as a new scribe.

Images: Terry Berlier, Reclaimed Time, 2011. Salvaged wood, 24 in. diam, 1 1/2 in. deep. Courtesy of the artist. Created for Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought; an Exhibition and the Dorothy Saxe Invitational. On view February 16–September 9, 2012. Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Charlotte Salomon, Gouaches from "Life? or Theatre?," 1940-1942, Villefranche, France. Collection Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam. Copyright Charlotte Salomon Foundation; Master of the Mansi Magdalene (c. 1510–30), St. Mary Magdalene, oil on panel. Marei von Saher, the heir of Jacques Goudstikker; Final drawing for Where the Wild Things Are. Pen and ink, watercolor. © Maurice Sendak, 1963. All rights reserved; H. A. Rey, final illustration for “This is George. He lived in Africa,” published in The Original Curious George (1998), France, 1939–40, watercolor, charcoal, and color pencil on paper. H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Curious George, and related characters, created by Margret and H. A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. © 2010 by HMH;


736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103 | Hours: Daily 11am–5pm, Thursdays 11am–8pm, Closed Wednesdays | 415.655.7800 |