Home activity – “Free People in Our Land”

Home activity – “Free People in Our Land”

“To be a free people in our land”

Goal: Families will feel like what it means to be an Israeli by experiencing Israeli culture through one of its quintessential foods.


  • Food preparation
  • Conversation

Another aspect of being a free people in our land is to the ability to develop national customs regarding food.  Just as in the US, we think of the hamburgers and corn on the cob as the being really American, in Israel they adopted the falafel sandwich as their national food.  Israelis didn’t create falafel just as American didn’t create hamburgers or corn on the cob.  Falafel is a middle eastern food and although Jews came to Israel from all over the world, including the middle east, they were proud to adopt local foods in order to connect to this part of the world and honor its flavors and tastes.  Just like Europeans who came to the America and wanted to share in foods that were cherished by Native Americans such as corn.

Watch how the falafel king of Afula does it!


Or are you more impressed by this guy?


In honor of Israel, have a falafel dinner at home.  For the ambitious cooks, you can make falafel at home.  Check out Joan Nathan, The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen.   Or, the main ingredient, the falafel balls, can be purchased frozen or from a local falafel restaurant.

Since falafel in Israel is sold at stands with salad bars, parents and kids can create a falafel stand at home.  Search for pictures on the internet and have younger children make signs and give a name to their falafel stand.  They can also make Israeli flags or download pictures for their signs and make Happy Birthday Israel signs.  Older children can make the ingredients with parents: cutting up vegetables, preparing techina sauce, cutting open the pita.   Younger children can help set up the plates with the different items that will go into the falafel.

Because Israel is in the middle east, it’s national foods are shared by other countries in the middle east.  Israel enthusiastically adopted these foods to proclaim its connection to the land.  Three of the foods are: pita, falafel, and humus.   When the pilgrims came to the US, how did they do the same with native American foods?

What do we learn about Israelis when we look at their love of falafel?

  • They like foods with some heat and spice which may be connected to living in a warm climate. Falafel itself is sometimes spicy and most people put green or red hot sauce known in Hebrew as harif.  Does it also say something about their approach to life?  How does spicy food make you feel?
  • They fill their falafels with fresh salad: tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.  Israeli farmers produce some of the tastiest fruits and vegetables in the world.  Some people claim you have never tasted a tomato until you’ve had one from Israel.  Thus, through the falafel we can see how proud Israeli are of their agriculture.
  • Falafel uses foods and common in the middle east: sesame seeds (which become techina sauce), chickpeas, cumin, etc.  Through the falafel Jews connect to their roots in this region.

Additional recipes for this meal, including dessert can be found here.

Home and School – “To be a free people in our land”

“To be a free people in our land”

Goal: Students (and their parents) will become more familiar with Israel as a living country.

Israel is thriving modern country.  If you’ve been to Israel, you see how much of a Jewish place it is.  Everyone speaks Hebrew and you may recognize the letters on the signs and some of the words.  Jewish symbols are all over the place.  And if you are there during a Jewish holiday or Shabbat, you see how Jewish holidays are the holidays of the country. If you haven’t been to Israel, you can explore modern Israel through games and learn a little more about how Israel thrives when a free people can flourish in its own land.


  • What three words might you employ to sum up your response to the Jerusalem of Kutiman?
  • How are you able to connect Kutiman’s Jerusalem to the Jerusalem of religious school? and to the Jerusalem that appears in the news?


Divide the following placenames among your students, four to each person.

  • Dome of the Rock Mosque
  • Tower of David Museum
  • Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • Montefiore Windmill
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • King David
  • Old City Shuk
  • Walls of the Old City
  • Israel Museum
  • String (Harp) Bridge
  • Egoz area of Machaneh Yehudah
  • The Monster!
  • Ben Yehuda

Have all students research online the places given to them.

Screen the Kutiman video again, and the first to see all four of their places shouts ‘Bingo!’. They must then explain what they know about the four places. If they are able to do so, they get a prize…

How has the Jewish people grown and thrived in modern Israel?  Use two resources from Behrman House for students and parents to have fun with getting to know Israel.

For in school use, the school can purchase two games from Behrman House.

The Great Israel Scavenger Hunt (grades 2-3)

Welcome to Israel (grades 4-6)

The activity in school can be followed up at home with a board game from Babaganewz

This game can become more vibrant by looking at the virtual tours of two of Israel’s major cities, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

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