SRSP 11-16 Topic 1 Unit 2e – How does Judaism make sense of the world?


This unit seeks to help students explore the relationship between science and the Jewish faith. We discover NASA’s answers to questions about whether a Jewish astronaut can keep Kosher, as well as discovering how different Jews understand the Tenakh in the 21st century scientific age. Students consider whether Judaism should make use of scientific advancements to help keep its religious laws.

Teachers will need to communicate to students that in the Jewish tradition the Torah [first five books of the Tenakh (Hebrew Bible)] is considered the key sacred text for understanding all aspects of Jewish life. The ideas in the Torah (known as the Written Law) and Tenakh are interpreted by rabbis in the Talmud (an ancient text known as the Oral Law) and the Midrash (ancient stories and legends collected by the rabbis).

A classic example is the opening line of the Torah “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” The Talmud and Midrash go into endless discussions, philosophical disagreements and explanations of what that one line might mean!

This unit consists of 2 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 11 to 14 years


Key Questions

  • Are science and Judaism in conflict?
  • Do you find evidence in the sacred texts?
  • Should Judaism make use of scientific advances to keep its religious laws?
  • What would the issues be for a Jewish astronaut?

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Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)

Link to Joel Primack video [Need to be online]

Link to Noah Efron video [Need to be online]

Link to Seth Shostak video [Need to be online]


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Investigating Judaism and Science (Word)

Student Resource 1: Judaism in a nutshell (Word)

Student Resource 2: Investigating science (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Looking at Psalm 104 (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: Religious truth and science do they mix? (Word)

Student Resource 1: Useful things to know about how Jews approach their holy texts (Word)

Student Resource 2a: True or False? (Word)

Student Resource 2b: True or False? (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)