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“Where Was God?” – Lesson Plan On Natural Disasters and Parashat Noah

During disasters and their aftermaths, many people wonder about God’s role in their suffering. This lesson seeks to explore God’s role in tragedy from a Jewish Reconstructionist perspective. This lesson is intended for children ages 8-12.

In the Noah story, God is described as holding many roles for the people (and animals) involved: griever, teacher, chooser, saver, punisher, destroyer among others. Students will have an opportunity to think about God in these many roles. As Reconstructionist Jews, we focus on God as present in our human responses to tragedy: feeling sorrow and reaching out to help those most affected by disasters through tzeddakah and tikkun olam. “When we can assist those in need or comfort those in pain, God is working through us. When we cannot, it may be said that we experience God’s presence in our sorrow” (Exploring Judaism, Rebecca Alpert and Jacob Staub, page 30).

The Reconstructionist Network