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.
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.
Our feeling is that no matter what your answers are, or what the answers are that you intend your students to emerge with, the Four Hatikvah Questions are common to all. They emerge, of course, from the penultimate line in the Hatikvah Anthem: Lihiyot Am Hofshi B’Artzenu – To Be A People, Free In Our Land.
Taken on its own, “To Be A People, Free In Our Land” is a universal aspiration, by no means unique to the Jews.
The Kurds aspire to exist as a Kurdish People, Free in the land of Kurdistan. The Scottish People seriously considered becoming Free in Scotland. Catalonians, Tibetans, and Palestinians (we’ll come back to them in a later blog) – all aspire to be Peoples free in their lands. Zionism is the Jewish version of this universal (and therefore one might argue universally legitimate) aspiration: To be the People of Israel, Free in the Land of Israel.
All that is required for the educator, is to break this line down into its four Hebrew words, and add a question mark to each:
· To Be? – what does it take to survive? how can we thrive?
· People? – what does it mean to be connected to my People? my heritage? our ideals?
· Free? – are we democratic? are we responsible? are we creative?
· Our Land? – why land? which land? whose land?
Israel is an ongoing answer to these Four Hatikvah Questions.
Those mainly concerned with Advocacy might find they focus on “To Be?”, at the expense of other questions. Those on the left may emphasize “Freedom?” without digging into the existential threats hovering around the question of “To Be”. Some are more drawn to the universal ideas of “To be” and “Free”: Others tend more towards the particularism of “People” and “In Our Land”.
A full, rich curriculum would explore all four.
In future blogs I plan to tease out how 4HQ offers:
- A useful tool to differentiate between Israel’s enemies, and critical friends.
- A way to Ask Big Questions about Israel.
- A “rule of thumb” for taking educational advantage of complex current affairs headlines.
- A model for transforming Israel education in the Jewish world.
- A shared values proposition for the Diaspora and Israel.
As part of our development of the Four Hatikvah Questions – 4HQ – we approached Israeli cartoonist Shay Charka to offer his visual interpretation. We are delighted to present three pairs of images offering contrasting aspects of To Be, Free, and In Our Land, and a fourth image that speaks to the Jewish People.
You’ll note that these genderless humanoids have kind of Magen David/Star of David heads. We shall be using these images throughout our educational work in different contexts. Here we present them all together, without labels. You are invited to label them yourselves!
Yonatan Ariel, Executive Director of Makom, spoke engagingly and entertainingly at the General Assembly of 2011. On this panel, Yonatan plays out what Israel education must become. (Starts at 11:16)
The panel, entitled “Israel: A New Narrative”, was chaired and introduced by John Ruskay, Executive Vice-President and CEO, UJA-Federation of New York, and Yonatan Ariel shared the panel with Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America (7:52), and with Elizabeth Wolfe, Chair of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Yonatan Ariel focuses on the Hatikvah Vision: To Be A Free People In Our Land, Yehuda Kurtzer explores the latest work of the Hartman Institute in Israel engagement, and Elizabeth Wolfe speaks of the experiences of Toronto in working with us (26:00).
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.