Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Devil's Arithmetic & Defiance: Jewish Weddings

I. You are going to watch a scene of a wedding. This one takes place in 1941, during World War II. The movie is The Devil's Arithmetic. It is a Jewish wedding. Make a guess. Write T if you believe the statement about the wedding will be true or F if will be false.

1. Bedken is the unveiling of the bride. ( )

2. Bedken is a tradition to make sure the groom is marrying the right bride. ( )

3. The Huppah symbolizes the home they will build. ( )

4. The bride goes to the ceremony on a carriage. ( )

5. The guests follow her across the town. ( )

6. People throw flowers at her. ( )

7. Several musicians play a happy song to escort her. ( )

8. The bride circles the groom three times ( )

9. Each circle represent their children ( )

10. They exchange gifts ( )

11. They say the wedding vows ( )

12. They drink wine before kissing each other. ( )

13. They kiss each other. ( )

14. They break the wine glass. ( )

15. Everybody dances together. ( )

II. Watch the segment and check whether your guesses were right.


All are true, except 8, 9, 15

Incorrect information

8 Three times

9 Their children

15 Everybody dances together

III. Discuss with a partner the following questions about the segment.

1. What's your opinion about this kind of wedding? What adjectives would you use to describe it? Choose at least 5 different adjectives.

2. How different is this wedding from a traditional one in your country? Give details.

3. What were the couple wearing? And the guests?

4. What went wrong?

5. What do you think will happen next?

IV. You are going to watch another Jewish Wedding that also took place during World War II. The movie is called Defiance. While you watch the scene, observe which of the items about a traditional Jewish wedding in exercise V you could see in this segment.

V. Talk about the following questions about Defiance's wedding scene.

1. Do you think that a wedding under these circumstances are valid? Justify it.

2. Why did they get married if there was such a violent war at the moment?

3. Would you mind getting married without a formal ceremony or reception?

4. Did anything go wrong in the wedding?

5. What do you think will happen next?


Talk to different partners now. Groups of three students. You have to come to an
agreement and present your answers to the rest of the class.

1. Which of the wedding scenes did most of you prefer and why?

2. Which one was the most romantic, expensive, beautiful, disastrous and unusual? Explain your choices.

3. Imagine that each one of you attended one of those wedding. Choose one of the characters in the segment and pretend you are that person. Tell your friends exactly what you saw, how the ceremony was, what happened, what you liked best and what you disliked about the ceremony. Use all the vocabulary you have learned.

4. Choose a different ending for each of the weddings you have seen before. Be creative and share it with the class.

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