Each spring, the eighth graders at Levine Academy in Dallas visit Israel for almost three weeks. For the 40 or so students, it’s a trip they anticipate with excitement for years, beginning in kindergarten when their day school begins weaving Israel throughout the curriculum and programming.
The trip marks the culmination of their day school experience, and educators at Levine Academy want to ensure the students are prepared. This year they will be using the new Israel…It’s Complicated course in eighth grade.
“We’re very excited. We want to prepare our students to be open and to know more, to ask questions. But first students need the information. The new curriculum brings it all – it’s a great source to open the discussion,” says Anna Katzman, the dean of Hebrew language and programs at Levine Academy.
Meet the first digital app for Chaverim B'Ivrit, developed with the needs of day schools in mind.Read more »
Here are some highlights from our new materials—our personal favorites—to make your planning easier.
"Language is a key to identity and culture, and Hebrew is a key to Jewish identity and Jewish culture. We just have to approach it as such." So writes Jeremy Benstein, the linguist and cultural anthropologist and author of the newly released Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes: A Tribal Language in a Global World.
Benstein explores the significance of Hebrew in the life of Jews and Judaism, and argues that engaging with Hebrew - not with the aim of fluency or solely ritual participation - is a vehicle to enrich our connection to Judaism and its values. "We can try to make Hebrew more acce
Educating students about modern Israel is no easy task. It's the Jewish homeland, a place of both conflict and peace, both both ancient and modern.
The new Israel…It’s Complicated helps your students understand and navigate this complex terrain and develop their own personal connections to the modern state. Developed in close consultation with today’s top Israel educators, Israel…It’s Complicated is designed for students in grades 6-7, and provides both an overview of the Jewish historical connection to the land and a portrait of today’s modern Israeli culture. At the same time, Israel…It’s Complicated refuses to shy away from the nuance and complexities that Israel navigates.
As the unearthing of pathways, walls, pottery, official clay seals and more continues under the watchful eyes of thousands of annual tourists, scholars are learning more about the spot where King David once reigned, now known as the City of David.
What these archaeologists are not consumed with, however, are the borders and politics of the modern land they’re digging beneath—East Jerusalem—mostly inhabited today by Palestinians. And yet their work makes life above ground more complicated,
The new haggadah Welcome to the Seder brings in other cultures as a way of inviting people of all faiths and backgrounds to feel welcome at a seder.Read more »
Educating students about modern Israel is not an easy task. It presents numerous challenges, including our personal and political biases, where to devote our energies, and how to help our students truly understand the country’s many complexities. Challenging, however, does not mean impossible. So writes Richard Walter, associate director of the Center for Israel Education at Emory University, in the Foreword to the Israel…It’s Complicated Teacher Resource Guide.
Developed by Behrman House in consultation with the CIE, the resource guide offers a package of materials for teachers of all experience and skill levels. As Walter writes, “Our aim as Israel educators should be to create critical thinkers, not followers, no matter our personal politics.”
Here are three strategies you can focus on for effective Israel education, as excerpted from the Foreword:
- Focus on the broad concepts like ensuring the
The new Israel…It’s Complicated helps your students understand and navigate this complex terrain and develop their own personal connections to the modern state.Read more »
Create a pose that shows what bravery feels like in your body.
Try tilting your head up and standing straight and tall.
Or try making strong muscles in your arms.
This is one activity to try from the freshly updated Let’s Discover the Holidays series of 4-page folders, designed for children in grades K-2. Invite students to make a circle and do the activity with brave poses. Encourage students to notice where in their bodies they feel brave. (in my muscles; in my heart; my brain; my arms and legs) Suggest they try another pose and see if their brave feeling changes too.
This kind of mindful moment, along with new movement and creative arts activities, thought questions, and crisp, descriptive text, bring the holidays to life. Below are some sample pages from the Celebrating Purim folder for you to try out with your students.