Introduction and Curriculum Outline

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Please click here for the downloadable pdf that introduces the curriculum to the teacher.

ISRAEL: Exploring Biblical Dramas Between the People and the Land

Written by by Rabbi David Harbater

This curriculum, written entirely by Rabbi David Harbater, traces the relationship between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel from the time the Land was first promised to Abraham until the time of their exile from it, a period of roughly 1,200 years.

The relationship between the Jewish people and Israel is, on the one hand an organic relationship, and on the other hand, one that is filled with dramas, tensions, and questions. In designing this material, we felt that it would be un-authentic and one-dimensional to teach about this relationship without addressing these dramas and engaging the big questions that underpin them.

When we collaborated with Rabbi Harbater, we asked him to identify the major junctions in the relationship between the Jews and the Land which capture the essence of the timeless relationship dynamics. We sought to pinpoint the dilemmas that recur throughout history as they are characterized by biblical stories.

The nine lessons/topics covered in this curriculum go chronologically through the First Temple Period. In addition to these, Makōm is also offering two additional (distinct, yet related) chapters which can be used as continuations, addressing the relationship between the Jewish People to their land in the post-First Temple period of Jewish history. These two additional chapters, titled “The Centrality and Importance of Israel for the Diaspora in Second Temple Times “, were written by the same author under the guidance of Rachel Korazim.

Because the Israel-relationship questions are so fundamental to Judaism, they repeat themselves over time. The answers that the biblical stories provide to the questions need to be attended to and learned from, both to learn from the model used in addressing the question, as well as to draw inspiration from. But the processing requires us to attend to the realities that surround us in our ever-changing world. We say on Pesach, “כל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים”, “In every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had come out of Egypt”. We are asked to put ourselves and our own contexts into the frames of the timeless questions.

This curriculum emphasizes the importance and centrality of the Land of Israel in biblical history and in biblical thought, and seeks to encourage educators to take on the challenge of bringing these issues to the fore.

Be’hatzlacha!Esti Moskovitz-KalmanEducation Director – Makōm