In winter 2010-2011, I am teaching a class on Israel to middle-school students at the religious school of a local Conservative congregation. The class is titled “Modern Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” and its stated goal is to enhance students’ “knowledge about and concern for Israel”:
Having knowledge and concern for Israel includes a familiarity with the importance of Israel in the Tanach and T’fillot; knowledge that Jews have lived in and identified with the land of Israel for four thousand years, and some key events in modern Israel’s history before and since the establishment of the State and some knowledge of present-day Israel. [more...]
I will post my lessons plans here and hereby grant permission to anybody to use or adapt them for any purpose, provided source attribution and copyright notice are included. I also welcome comments, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. (Concurrently, I am also teaching another course, a discussion group on current affairs. Its materials are archived here.)
Lesson Plans and Materials [for downloadable files, right-click the link and "Save Target As..." to save a copy on your computer]
- November 30, 2010: Introduction and Orientation
- December 7: The Land of Israel [Appendix: Object identification]
- December 14: Zionism: Jewish Nationalism
- January 4, 2011: The British Mandate
- January 11: Independence
Video (10’03″): 1947 UN Vote [download video]
- January 18: The Six Day War
Video (4’00″): Overview [download video]
Video (14’05″): Michael Oren interview [download video]
Video (5’15″): Jerusalem of Gold [download video]
- January 25: The Quest for Peace
Video (8’39″): President Carter 1978 [download video]
Video (10’08″): President Clinton 1993 [download video]
Video (8’50″): Prime Minister Rabin 1993 [download video]
- February 1: The Current Conflict
Video (4’12″): President Obama, September 2009 [download video]
- February 8: Beyond the Conflict
Slides: [Places] [Faces]
Video (4’41″): Israel Innovation [download video]
Video (2’40″): Israeli Exoskeleton Suit Enables Paralayzed People To Walk [download video]
Video (2’22″): Escape Elevator [download video]
- February 15: Bringing It Together
[Events for Timeline] [Jeopardy game]
- The students are 12 years old; the class is part of their bar- and bat-mitzvah preparation.
- The 45-minute class is given once a week for 10 weeks, in the evenings, after a long school day.
- The students are not expected to do any homework or pre-reading for the class.
- I have tried to minimize lecturing and make the class as interactive and experiential as possible, varying the classroom activities to engage the students and keep their attention.
- Whenever possible, I used primary sources rather than commentary. All sources include proper citations.
- Biographies from the Jewish Agency
- The Israel Education Curriculum Catalogue at the Melton Center for Jewish Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Israel in Jewish Identity, a seven-unit curriculum from The David Project for middle school and high school students about the connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel throughout history and the centrality of Israel to the Jewish People as reflected in Jewish culture, religion, and identity.