15 May 2009

Reinveinting Lecha Dodi

Reinventing Lechah Dodi

The movie



Age group: Middle School

Suitable for: Religious School and Day School settings

Applications: Jewish Studies, Jewish History, Hebrew, prayers etc.

This is a project you want to schedule early in the School year.
This project allows flexibility on roles based on student's attendance

Time frame: Research process: 2 hrs.

Filming: 2-3hrs.

Editing: It will depend on the complexity of software used. 

Goal: To provide students with a creative and fun way of learning Jewish prayers

The process

Location: This project was done by Middle School students at BASRS, in Jacksonville, Fl

Content: Students learned in class the prayer Lechah Dodi  and then discussed with their Morah about different points of view such as historic background, authorship etc. (45 min).

Roles: Each student was given a part to research and he or she was responsible to turn it into a script for the movie. In order to maximize class time, I took students out off class in small groups during regular religious school hours. I discussed with students their roles and allowed them to add their own personal touches.

The filming:
Filming took place over a one class session (45min). There was not previous rehearsal.
Take one: Students learn prayers in a traditional Jewish classroom with their teacher (who
for this movie was played by a student.) when suddenly a change to a more up beat tune causes the students to ask good questions.
Take two: An interview with the Lecha Dodi composer, Rabbi Sh'lomo Halevi Alkabetz. This was a "bringing in a character from the past."
Take three: A movie inside of a movie: The story of the kabbalistic Rabbis in the city of Tzfat looking for the Shabbath bride.
Take four: An interview with an expert on Piyutim.
Take five: A summary of Lecha Dodi
Take six: A Lecha Dodi American Idol contest. This adds a little touch of humor to the
movie and at the same time displays a variety of melodies know for Lecha Dodi.
I should mentioned that students did not have time to rehearse their roles so you will find lots of spontaneous and humorous moments throughout the movie.

In case you notice! 
This is not a polished movie work. Actors did not have time to rehearse their role so most of the scenes are the first cut. There was simply no time to have the kids rehearse their roles. The kids wanted this project to be very spontaneous. You will also see some video editing issues. This project was put together during class time and there was simply no time for editing further picture and sound. We hope you could pass over those technical issues.

Variety of costume props, white sheets to be used as tunics.

Music (For this project we used 7 different Lecha Dodi tunes purchased at itunes)
Digital camera ( I used my Nikon cool pix camera and Windows movie maker for the video editing process.)
 Any other film editing software such as Imovie (Mac) works fine too. 

Special notes

Ideally, you want the students to experience the whole filming and editing process, but achieving this during school;s time 
frame can be very challenging. Have a resource person helping you with this process instead. This is a great collaborative and multiple intelligence project.

Religious School Teacher: Morah Liat Walker
Project mangager, production and video editing. Noemi Szoychen

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