Hatikvah Vision – text studies
What makes Israel unique? The miraculous combination of three key concepts: Freedom, Peoplehood, and the Land of Israel. Only in the State of Israel are these concepts able to live in full relationship with each other.
Here you can download four study booklets (chevruta) with traditional and modern texts together with guiding questions, for your use.
The political awakening of students throughout the land following the Parkland shooting, has surprised and inspired many. Whether or not the subject is on their curriculum, every Jewish educator knows that Gun Control is a topic that their students are interested in addressing. As such, we have an opportunity. Our students are motivated, excited, engaged!
What contribution might educators make at this time?
I would suggest that one contribution – among many others – might be to equip our students to fight their good fight without them losing sight of the shared humanity and shared citizenship of their opponents. How can they maintain their righteous passion and drive, and at the same time hold on to a sense – despite it all – of a United States of America? How can our classrooms provide space for disagreement and struggle, yet make sure that opposition does not turn into hatred?
We would suggest that the Gun Control debate revolves around four fundamental questions that our students would benefit from exploring:
How do we stay safe?
What makes us American?
How can we be free?
How do we relate to our territory?
Our students who are demonstrating and campaigning for gun control probably do not need to even check their answers to these questions. Even without asking we might assume that it is clear to them that safety will come from gun control laws applied more consistently and broadly than ever before. They probably know that being American is about liberty and tolerance, and not about being the shame of the world due to its gun violence. They presumably wish to be free to go to school without armed guards (or teachers), and they know that only the US has such a crazy attitude to guns, and that those who do not live on the coasts think totally differently about this and that they are wrong.
So far so unsurprising. Where these four questions come in useful is in enabling the liberal learner to understand the “other side”. The “other side” of this gun debate would argue that one is safe from bad guys and from bad governments when one owns a gun of one’s own – the more powerful the better. They might argue that the Constitution is the sacred heart of what makes us American, all amendments included. Freedom for them would be meaningless if the State took away their right to armed self-defence, and the right to defend one’s territory – especially one’s home.
In assessing these two sets of answers (and of course there are many other possible combinations of answers), the student may emerge with two conclusions. First, “I totally disagree with them. They are totally wrong, and I shall do all I can to achieve what I believe,” but also: “I understand that we both share four fundamental concerns. This is what binds us. Our different attitudes to these shared concerns are what make us opponents in our shared endeavor to get better answers to these fundamental questions.” The latter conclusion can and should live together with the first.
Funnily enough, if you end up managing to draw your students into this conversation on gun control through these four questions, you might find your class is delightfully prepped to talk about Israel, too!
For the penultimate line of Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, contains four words that map very neatly on to these four questions your students will have explored: To Be (safety) a People (national identity) Free In Our Land (territory) – Lihiyot Am Chofshi B’Artzenu – להיות עם חפשי בארצנו. Pretty much every aspect of Israel you might explore with your students are about the same four fundamental concerns – for safety, collective identity, freedom, and land – expressed through these same four questions.
For more about these Four Questions in Israel Education, take a look at Makom’s work with 4HQ.
We are delighted to present our suggestion for talking Israel at the Seder table. This leaflet was produced by our friends at the UJIA in the UK, at their initiative. We are delighted to share this with all the world, in addition to the 45,000 Brits who will receive a printed copy with their Jewish Chronicle!
Cross-posted with ejewishphilanthropy
Yom Ha’atzmaut? Again? This year of all years?
Whenever I approach Yom Ha’atzmaut with a sinking feeling, I always remember the point made by Professor Yosef Klausner:
“For three hundred and sixty-four days of the year we are busy with criticism. We criticize the nation’s priorities, and the nation’s leaders. We count the many mistakes that our leaders and ministers make… But a nation must have one day in a year that is a real celebration. On that single solitary day, all the prosecutions must cease, and the harsh criticism must stop…” To Full Post
Pluralism is all well and good, but the amount of different opinions on, approaches to, and definitions of Israel Education, is driving us all crazy.
All of us in Israel Education find ourselves talking at cross-purposes, inadvertently undermining one another, and further confusing an already-challenging discourse. Cacophony is only good when the orchestra is tuning up to play together.
Is there one simple, easily communicated idea that can unify everyone without requiring uniformity?
Is there one way to explain, promote, define, and explore the meaning of Israel to Jews that includes everyone, offends no one, and yet says something useful?
Probably not. It’s a big ask, after all. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying…
We at Makom call our current approach 4HQ – the Four Hatikvah Questions. To Full Post
Click here for the downloadable pdf of the chevruta text study exploring the Jewish People’s connection to the concept of freedom.
Click here for the printable pdf of the chevruta text study exploring the Jewish People’s connection to the Land of Israel.