Family Book/Video Discussion Groups


Subject: Family Book/Video Discussion

Target: Three Different Age Groups: ages 5-9; ages 10-13; ages 14 and above. 

Time Frame : Ongoing throughout the School Year

Congregation: B’nai Torah

Contributor: Jack Cohen


This project provides families with background information to discuss prior to reading Judaica books and watching videos.  It also provides material to facilitate family discussions while reading/viewing, and it provides questions to discuss after completion of reading/viewing. Group discussions are held after the family discussions are completed.


To change the family activity of viewing videos and reading books into a meaningful participative activity by facilitating discussions about Judaism and God.

Target Population

Parents and children.  There are 3 different age groups: 5-9, 10-13 and 14 and up. 


First phase is at home, then in a small meeting room to accommodate the number of families that participate.

Staff and Specialists

Someone needed with the ability to prepare background information for the participating families to discuss prior to reading/viewing the Judaica books and videos that are selected for the three age groups (5-9, 10-13, 14 and up);

Someone needed to provide material to facilitate family discussions while they are reading/viewing and questions for them to discuss after completion of reading/viewing.

In addition, a skilled facilitator is needed to hold group discussions after the family discussions are completed. Someone who can involve the children in this group discussion is needed.


At B’nai Torah the following four books were selected:

Goldin, Barbara Diamond Journeys with Elijah: Eight Tales of the Prophet (ages 10-13);

Schnur, Steven The Koufax Dilemma (ages 10-13);

Perl, Lila Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story (ages 14 and up);

Zemach, Margot It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale (ages 5-9).

Three were selected: Schindler’s List (ages 14 and up); Gentleman’s Agreement  (ages 10-13); and  An American Tail (ages 5-9).


A letter requesting participation is sent to all eligible families with a sample of the material they will receive to facilitate their family discussion. Books and Videos are then ordered for each participating family.

Program Activities

Preparation of the material to facilitate discussions and providing the parents with questions to ask their children is the major task.


This varies depending on whether the books and videos are supplied.  Another cost would be for the facilitator.


The program was a major success for the books and videos that were provided. The enthusiasm of the children during our group discussions showed that the family discussions that had preceded the group discussions had made everyone in the family think about the subject matter as well as about Judaism and God.

References and Resources  is a website that provides background and discussion questions.  There is a nominal fee per year.