Introducing Parnasut

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Written by:
Rabbi Yehuda Chanales
Access editable doc with student handouts:

Objective: The goal of the first few sessions is to build connection and trust in the group while encouraging students to become comfortable sharing about themselves with others. This second session focuses on the role of Parnasut in accomplishing these goals. Over the year, every other week will be dedicated to Parnasut. 


It is recommended that a facilitator/teacher serve as parnas for this session and bring some snacks for the group.

ברכה ראשונה

(15 minutes)


מספר נוכחות

  • Go around in a circle and ask each participant to share, on a scale of 1-10, how present they are now. How much do you feel you are they feel they are fully “here” as opposed to thinking about something else that happened or will happen that day. 1=I wish I was still home in bed, 5= I have something else on my mind 10=I’m pumped for whatever we’re doing, everything is awesome! 
  • Be sure to highlight that there is not right or wrong answer. In a larger group you can ask everyone to hold up their number using their fingers and then just call on two or three people to share a sentence about their number. 
  • You can choose to follow up by asking everyone to point to someone whose number was higher than theirs and then point to someone whose number was lower. 


סיפור שלי להיום:

  • Ask each participant to share, in no more than a few words, what their “story” is that day. What’s on their minds? What’s going on for them? The facilitator should model this first to demonstrate how you can say something substantive in just a few words. 


Additional ברכה ראשונה:


Pair students into chavrutot (person sitting next to them for time’s sake) and ask them to take turns asking each other any of the questions below (One student asks a question, second gives answer, second asks questions, first gives answer etc.)

  • What is generally your favorite time of the week and why?
  • What was your highlight of the past week and why?
  • Who in your family do you consider yourself most similar to and why?
  • If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?


If it is an older group that already knows each other well you can add at the end:

  • Ask any question of your chavruta that you are curious about but they should not respond to the question. Each chavruta should have a turn to ask.


Ask for a few volunteers to share something new they learned about their chavruta. (or you can save this for the end)

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

(25 minutes)

1. Use the goals below and Parnasut Guidlines doc to frame parnasut. It is recommended to briefly describe what parnasut is and why you will be doing it and spend more time modeling/doing the parnasut. Tell students that over the course of the year everyone will be a parnas/it at some point but, at the beginning, you will ask for volunteers for who is willing to go first. (Unless you decide to just make a list which could be a good idea.)


Parnasut is when one member of the group shares some food and something about themself with the group. The goal is:


  • to give each of you an opportunity for others to get to know and understand you on a deeper level
  • to help you learn to actively listen and be curious about each other, your stories and perspectives
  • to build connections between members of our class and help you feel you have others who truly recognize and connect with your successes and challenges


2. The teacher should act  as parnas and share a little bit about themselves and their background. Sharing a dilemma may not be appropriate at this point but if the teacher can think of an authentic dilemma that is not overly personal it can go a long way in setting a serious tone for this slot. 


Teacher should tell the students that this week they will serve two roles-  be the parnas/it and help facilitate it so that the students could learn a little bit more about them. Usually, a student will be a parnasit and the teacher will facilitate the response of the class to them. 


3. Once the teacher finishes, ask students to share:

  • Words or phrases that they heard in the teachers’ story/presentation
  • What resonated with them? What did they connect with?
  • Optional: What follow up questions do they have?  (You can choose to just listen to the questions or respond to them if there is time.)

ברכה אחרונה

(10 minutes)

Ask each or a few students to share:


  • What is one thing you learned about someone else today that you didn’t know before?

  • For more advanced groups: What is one thing you learned about yourself today that you didn’t know before?


Setting Norms


Tell students that you will now step out of the experience of the past two weeks to think about what we as a group need to make this time safe and meaningful for everyone.


Ask: What do we need to create a safe, trusting environment where everyone can feel comfortable speaking in an authentic way? Some answers to highlight whether students bring them up or not:


  • There is no judgment here. No right or wrong answers.

  • We will work to understand each other and put aside assumptions we tend to make.

  • No cynicism

  • Leave all phones outside the circle

  • Try your best to listen to what other people are saying

  • Watch the amount of time you are contributing/speaking vs. listening

Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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