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Chai Mitzvah groups can be formed at any time, but each month every participant is focusing on
the same topic for group study, creating a global conversation and linking individuals across the
Jewish world together.

Our sourcebooks are designed by leading Jewish educators to be flexible and accessible to
everyone. The texts are both traditional and contemporary, in Hebrew and English. There are
additional materials for adults, teens, and family education. In addition, there are overlays focusing on Business Ethics, and issues of special interest, such as Women of Reform Judaism.

Please see our sample materials.

For information, please contact

Download our Celebration Guide - a .pdf brochure that was used at the end-of year ceremony of a Chai Mitzvah Group in Michigan. It shows the choices participants made for their independent pieces. Looking at this brochure might make it easier for participants to see how the "Jewish Bucket List" works.

Monthly Sourcebooks

October: Adult Rites of Passage 

Rites of passage mark transitions between different stages of life. Jewish tradition wisely understands that rites of passage, even those that are filled with joy, can be both exhilarating and disorienting. Explore rites of passage through this lens.

November: Tzedakah/Philanthropy  

The word tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word for “justice,righteousness,” Jewish law meets the needs of the poor and at the same time protects their dignity. Consider the priorities in Jewish texts for giving food, clothing, shelter, and medicine to fulfill the mitzvah of saving lives and preserving health.

December: Individual & Community

Jewish tradition discusses many different aspects of the important relationship between the individual and the community. Chai Mitzvah specifically selected the concept of tochecha (public rapprochement, offering criticism) as the focus of this topic. How do we talk to another person about his/her behavior in a way that will make for a positive behavior change? 4Judaism provides us with guidance about how to disagree and correct others in ways that move our relationships and our community forward.


January: Interpersonal Relationships

Interpersonal relationships between parents, children, and friends are complex and evolving, involving tensions around favoritism, competition for attention, and tensions between generations. The sourcebook presents texts that examine these relationships.

February: Mindfulness/Conscious Living

Sometimes we need to turn off our “autopilot”.This session focuses on what it means to live a mindful/conscious life.,. We will look at some of the tools Judaism provides to help us be more aware of the small details of our daily lives, and be more grateful for our everyday blessings.

March: Adding New Insights and Meaning to the Passover Seder

Much of our preparation for Passover focuses on preparing our homes and cooking food. But, we can also prepare our hearts and minds. New symbols and rituals can deepen the meanings of the traditional Seder symbols for us.

April: Israel and the Jewish Spirit

The land of Israel is more than a physical location — it is the Jewish homeland. There is a biblical connection between Jewish people and the land of Israel. Jewish people live all over the world, and the relationship between individual Jewish people and Israel is complex. This topic explores that relationship.

May: Gratitude/Modim Anachnu Lach

Psychological studies have shown that feeling and expressing gratitude are important components of a happy, balanced life. There are elements in Jewish tradition that can help us to be aware of our blessings and to express gratitude. Expressing gratitude does not mean ignoring that there is pain and hardship in the world. It means making a daily effort to see that along with the difficulty, there is also good in life that is worth celebrating.

June: Judaism and the Environment

Rabbi Lawrence Troster, an important contemporary Jewish eco-theologian, teaches that one of the most fundamental concepts in Judaism is that God created the universe for us, but God has ownership over creation. For this reason, he states, we are responsible to care for the world as one would treat a gift, or a loan, from God.


July: Leadership 

Many of the narratives about leadership found in the Bible and Rabbinic literature are filled with implicit values and messages that we can apply to our lives today.  In a world that is filled with the need for courageous, moral and creative leadership, our tradition can help guide our personal leadership practices, as well as help us select leaders who have the capacity to move us forward.  This session will afford your group the opportunity to consider ancient and contemporary thinking about leadership, as well as modern and biblical models of leadership.  As we do so, we will explore what we value in leadership, as well as what makes the role of the leader so complicated.

August: Death and Loss

 It has been said that living Jewishly means dying Jewishly, as well. The goal of this session is to open the conversation about Jewish thought, practice and rituals around dying and death. This module encompasses a vast range of uniquely human experiences.


September: Arc of the Fall Holidays 

The High Holy Days season begins as we welcome the Hebrew month of Elul, and continues through the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. We enter this season with great introspection as we turn inside ourselves and measure the year that has passed, consider our own mortality, and come out with the joy and relief of emerging with renewed spirit and direction. As you consider the texts in this booklet, the hope is that each of us will find our voice on this personal and communal journey towards a renewed sense of purpose and dedication to living life to its fullest.

Overlay Curriculum

Each of the Chai Mitzvah topics can be studied from multiple perspectives, called “overlays.” We offer overlays in Family Education, Teen Programming, Business Ethics, the Environment, and Chai Mitzvah from a Reform perspective. Samples are available.

Sun, October 21 2018 12 Cheshvan 5779