Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Scripture Reference: the books of the Apocrypha. These are books contained in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew version. Some are parallel versions or additions to existing books; others tell of events between the days of Nehemiah and the birth of Christ. Assign a book or two to each student to scan, present his or her summary and a comparison with the already-studied history and Scripture: does it fit in and where? These are included in the Orthodox Study Bible.


  1. History: These are very different books, with very different settings:
  • I Esdras: Parallel version of the events in Chronicles/Ezra/Nehemiah.
  • II Esdras: Also known as the Apocalpse of Ezra, a collection of visions interpreted by the angel Uriel about Jerusalem, Rome, and the Messiah.
  • Tobit: Short story of a pious Jew in the days of the northern captivity.
  • Judith: The story of a courageous young Jewish widow’s beheading Nebuchadnezzar’s general, leading to the retreat of the army.
  • Additions to Daniel: Includes the Prayer of Azariah, the Song of the Three
  • Holy Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.
  • Additions to Esther: Just as it says, a longer version with more detail.
  • Prayer of Manasses: Used in some of the Odes, mentioned in 2 Chr.33:11-19.
  • Epistle of Jeremiah: A letter from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon.
  • Baruch: A friend and scribe of Jeremiah addresses the exiles and laments.
  • Ecclesiasticus: The wisdom of the scribe Joshua ben-Sira, who lived in Jerusalem around 180 BC, advice for life and the ideal of a scribe.
  • Wisdom of Solomon: An exhortation to seek wisdom, likely written in the Alexandrian period and written originally in Greek.
  • Wisdom of Sirach: Also a book of wise sayings.
  • Maccabees: The story of Hanukkah and the pogroms under Ptolemy of Egypt.


  1. Discussion: Again, most of this material will be new and should be learned today. Maybe try a game of Concentration, but to win, the teens must not only match the books but say at least one thing about each.


  1. Close with prayer: Have each student select a book to read carefully this week in his prayer time. May the book speak to him from the Lord.




Possible Lesson Plan:

            For this week, the best idea would be to get a Jewish speaker. The 10-12 class and middle school class could join you. Have a celebration as it is typically done and discuss the customs and their significance.  You could also discuss the celebration of Purim, Passover, and the other Jewish feasts while you have the speaker.


No speaker? Then try this lesson plan:

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Tell the story of Judah Maccabee and his brothers:Tell the story of Judah Maccabee and Hanukkah: About 2200 years ago, Greek kings, who reigned from Damascus, ruled over the land of Judea and the Jews living there. One Greco-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, forbade the Jewish people from praying to their God, practicing their customs, and studying their Torah. Antiochus forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods. It is said that he placed an idol of the Greek God Zeus on the alter in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. In response to this persecution, Judah Maccabee and his four brothers organized a group of resistance fighters known as the Maccabees. They fought against paganism and oppression. Against great odds, after three years of fighting, the Maccabees succeeded to drive the Greco-Syrians out of Judea. Hanukkah proclaims the message of the prophet Zachariah: "Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit." The Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They cleaned the Temple, removing the Greek symbols and statues. When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they rededicated it.  According to tradition, when the Maccabees entered the Holy Temple, they discovered that the Greco-Syrians had defiled the oil which was used to Temple's menorah. Only one vat of purified oil remained - enough for only one day. It would take the Jews a week to process more purified oil. Then a miracle occurred. The Maccabees lit the menorah and it burned for not one, but eight days, by which time the new, purified oil was ready. This is why the Hanukkah Menorah has eight candles (not including the shamash candle used to light the others) and one reason why Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days.


  1. Play with a dreidl: You can get one of these from Pat or at any store. Each letter has a meaning. Each child starts with about 20 raisins. Each puts one raisin in the center of the table. They take turns spinning the dreidl. If it lands on Nun, they get nothing. If it lands on Shin, they have to give a raisin to each player. If it lands on Heh, they get half of the raisins in the center. And if it lands on Gimel, they get all the raisins in the center. When you decide time is up, the child with the most raisins is the winner, and each gets to eat his raisins.

  1. Discussion: Hanukkah is celebrated in late December and is often referred to as the “Jewish Christmas”. Does Hanukkah have anything to do with the birth of Jesus? Whose story is told? We left Jewish history with the return from Babylon under the Persians. But the Persians were ousted by the Greeks under the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. Alexander’s empire collapsed with his death, but the Greek influence continued in Palestine under a whole dynasty of kings, all with the same name! What was it? (Antiochus). Antiochus I Soter was the son of Seleucus, the general of Alexander the Great who took control of most of Asia. It was Antiochus IV with whom the Maccabees had problems. What miracle occurred? How many days did the lamp in the great menorah burn? Why are there nine candles on the Hanukkah menorah? (one to light the others with)


  1. Close with prayer. Pray that we may recognize the miracles in our lives, just like the miracle of the menorah.