Standard 5

Grade: K–2 3–5 6–8 9–12

Students will, through the study of Tanakh, understand and value that the Land of Israel informs and shapes the historical, theological, and sociological experiences of the Jewish people.

PREAMBLE

The Land of Israel plays a central role in biblical law, narrative, and poetry in the Tanakh and for the development of Judaism, Jewish identity, and the Jewish people. A comprehensive study of Tanakh includes an exploration of the role that the Land of Israel plays in the ongoing development of the Jewish people and their nation-state. Themes that inform such an exploration include: brit, sacred space, exile and return, connections to the Land, and Zionism and the modern State of Israel. Approaching these ideas through the study of Tanakh will help students make personal connections with the Land of Israel.

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STANDARD

GRADE LEVEL K–2
STANDARD 5 BENCHMARKS
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5.1 Explains that the Land of Israel was a special place for the Israelites in the Tanakh and is still a special place for the Jewish people today.

Suggested Resources: Genesis 12:1-5, Lech-lecha; Genesis 24, Abraham's instructions to a servant to find Isaac a wife; Exodus story; songs and pictures about modern Israel; teachers or parents who come from Israel; Shalom Sesame

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Express ways that the Land of Israel is special.
  • Create a scrapbook, draw pictures, contribute to a class montage.
  • Sing songs based on Tanakh text about the Land of Israel: "Uufaratzta," "Eretz Zavat Halav," "Lechi Lach."
  • Learn "HaTikvah" and its significance to the Jewish people.

5.2 Explains that the Torah tells of the brit that God made with Abraham and Abraham's family to give them the Land of Israel.

Suggested Resource: Debbie Friedman, "Lechi Lach" ("And You Shall Be a Blessing") on CD

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Give examples of promises between two people.
  • Role-play Genesis 12: Act out the story from the Tanakh, respond to God's promise, e.g., ask, "You are going to Canaan. What are you going to bring?"

5.3 Associates the "seven special species"/שבעת המינים with the Land of Israel.

Suggested Examples: Exodus 3:7, description of the Land; Deuteronomy 8:8, "a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey"

Suggested Resources: Matt Biers-Ariel, The Seven Species, Stories and Recipes, Inspired by the Foods of the Bible, UAHC Press; Azaria Alon, The Natural History of the Land of the Bible

Sample Learning Activity:

  • Design a poster, graphic, or shadowbox to display the seven species.
  • Prepare special foods with the species.
  • Create a story about the Land of Israel to accompany the recipe.
  • Illustrate a "land flowing with milk and honey"/ארץ זבת חלב ודבש

5.4 Demonstrates knowledge of key places mentioned in the Torah.
(See Standard 1.5)

Suggested Examples: Haran, Canaan, Egypt, Sinai desert (midbar)

Sample Learning Activity:

  • Place Haran, Canaan, Egypt, and the Sinai desert in the correct location on a map of the patriarchal period.
  • Trace the wanderings of the patriarchs and matriarchs in and out as well as within the Land of Israel.
    • Highlight a map; use a Velcro board.
    • Walk a floor map.

GO TO
STANDARD
GRADE LEVEL 3–5
STANDARD 5 BENCHMARKS
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5.5 Understands the ברית/brit between God and Abraham in regard to the Land of Israel.

Suggested Examples: walking the Land and placing altars, Genesis 12, 13:17-18; purchasing the cave of the Machpela, Genesis 23

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Note the differences between the covenant with Noah and the covenant with Abraham.
  • Analyze the various ways to show possession of the territory as seen in the narratives about Abraham.
  • Keep an itinerary of places and events of Abraham's journey.

5.6 Associates the sacredness of space in the Torah with places of interactions with God.

Suggested Examples: Genesis 12:8, 13:18, 15, 21:33, 22:14, Abraham's altars; Genesis 15, Hagar and Beer-lahai-roi; Genesis 21:22, Isaac's altar; Genesis 28:10-16; 32:25-33, Jacob's ladder and struggle with the angel; Exodus 3, Moses and the burning bush; Exodus 20, Har Sinai; Exodus 25-27, Mishkan

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Identify sacred places in the Tanakh.
  • Explain why the Land of Israel is called "ארץ הקודש."
    • Describe what it feels like to be in a sacred space.
    • Design a poster, "Achen yesh adonai bamakom hazeh v'anochi lo yadati." ".אכן יש ה' במקום הזה ואנכי לא ידעתי"

5.7 Demonstrates knowledge of additional key locations mentioned in the Torah text.

Suggested Examples: Yam haMelach, Sodom, Genesis 14; Moriah, Be'er Sheva, Genesis 21:15; Sh'chem, Hevron, Ma'arat haMachpela, Genesis 24; Yamah, Negba, Tzafona, Kedmah, Genesis 28:14

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Place the Negev, Yamah-Negbah-Tzafonah-Kedmah, Moriah, Be'er Sheva, Sh'chem, Hevron, and Yam HaMelach in the correct location on a map of the patriarchal/matriarchal period.
  • Indicate the journey of Abraham and Sarah, Moses, or other biblical characters on the map.
    • Write or paste a relevant verse to a map.
    • Make an individual map of the biblical time period.

5.8 Connects the Shalosh R'galim with the Land of Israel.

Suggested Examples: Exodus 23:12-19, 34:18-23; Leviticus 23; Numbers 28-29; Deuteronomy 16; the agricultural significance of the festivals; Passover-Hag Ha'Aviv, Shavout-Hag Ha'Katzir, Succot-Hag Ha'Asif

Sample Learning Activities:

  • List the season and agricultural activity originally associated with each festival.
  • Identify a biblical agricultural name for each festival.
  • Explain the significance of the pilgrimage (aliyat haregel) with being in the Land of Israel.
  • Design and keep a holiday portfolio with a section on the connection to the Land of Israel.

5.9 Understands that the concept of living in the Land of Israel stems from examples in the Torah and continues to inform Jewish life today.

Suggested Examples: Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Moses, Joseph's bones, Naomi, the Israelites all desired to go or return to the Land

Curricular suggestion: can be integrated into the Israel curriculum

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Identify aliyah as a positive and potential component of Jewish identity as illustrated in the Torah.
  • Role-play biblical characters about feelings about Israel.
    • Create slogans for making aliyah.
    • Communicate with new olim (via email or teleconference).
    • Discuss what it would be like to make aliyah.

5.10 Locates the names of places studied on the biblical map.

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Keep a log or an itinerary of places learned.
  • Create a biblical Israel guidebook with names, places, and events.

GO TO
STANDARD
GRADE LEVEL 6–8
STANDARD 5 BENCHMARKS
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5.11 Explains what biblical agricultural laws tell about Israelite society in the Land of Israel.

Suggested Examples: Mitzvot sh'tluyiot b'aretz/ מצוות שתלויות בארץ e.g., treatment of strangers, orphans, widows, poor people, Deuteronomy 15; peah, leket, shich'chah, Leviticus 19:9; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; sh'nat haYovel, Leviticus 25:12; shemitah, Leviticus 2

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Evaluate how mitzvot relating to the Land of Israel help create a sacred place.
  • Connect commandments/mitzvot associated with having the Land with social responsibilities and concern for the environment.
  • Identify one biblical law relating to the Land and apply it to a modern environmental issue.
    • Research organizations in Israel today that address issues associated with mitzvot regarding the Land.
    • Create an ad campaign on how to protect the Land.

5.12 Identifies the role that the Land of Israel plays in the ongoing identity formation of the Jewish people.

Suggested Examples: Numbers, wanderings in the desert and getting to the Land; Deuteronomy, Moses's plea to see the Land, Naomi, Esther, exile of the two kingdoms—the impact of galut (exile)

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Analyze narratives for the poignancy of having the Land or being landless.
  • Discuss what it means to have a covenant and not have the Land.
  • Describe the universal desire for nationalism and relate this to the biblical roots of modern Zionism.
    • Defend Moses's case to enter the Land.
    • Plan and participate in a United Nations convention or World Zionist Congress.
    • Draw political cartoons.

5.13 Recognizes that the notion of "exile and return" begins in the biblical text.

Suggested Examples: Genesis 12, tension between lech-lecha and Abraham's descent to Egypt; Genesis 24:1-9, Abraham's search for Isaac's wife; Genesis 28:10-20, God's assurance to Jacob to return to the Land; Genesis 28:28-31, Jacob's request to be buried in the Land; Genesis 38-50, Exodus 13:15, Joseph, from exile to Diaspora to burial; Numbers 32:1-11, tribes on the east side of the Jordan

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Identify two biblical figures whose actions are conflicted regarding exile and living in the Land.
  • Interview a biblical character living in galut, e.g., Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Esther, Naomi.
    • Take a position in Four Corners on the topic.

5.14 Recognizes that biblical archaeology can help illuminate aspects of the biblical era.

Suggested Examples: Hazor, Joshua 11, Judges 4, Meggido, I Kings

Suggested Resources: Lee Levine, "Biblical Archeology," Etz Haim Torah and Commentary; The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, Volume I, edited by James B. Pritchard

Suggested Website Resources: The Israel Museum website, Archeology Wing: "The Jewish Virtual Library, Virtual Israel Experience," Archeology Section, Sponsored by The Israel Foreign Ministry, An American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Bring example(s) from archeology that illuminate aspects of daily life in the Land of Israel during biblical times.
  • Examine archeological finds and their impact on our understanding of biblical text.
  • Write an editorial of a biblical event based on an archeological find and a second based on biblical text.

5.15 Recognizes the centrality of the ברית/covenant as it relates to the Land of Israel.

Suggested Examples: Abraham, Genesis 12; Jacob, 28:14; spying out the Land, Numbers 13 and 14; inheritances of the Land and the daughters of Tzelophad, Number 26-27; consequences of not following the brit, Deuteronomy 4:25-32, 11:13-12:1, 30:1-5; Book of Judges; Book of Kings, Solomon's prayer, I Kings 8:22-37

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Articulate the Torah's theological position connecting observance and inheriting the Land.
  • Examine historical rationales for not inheriting the Land.
  • Explain how biblical claims to the Land and modern claims differ.

5.16 Examines the relationships of the Israelites to the other biblical inhabitants of the Land.

Suggested Examples: Genesis 15:19, Deuteronomy 7:1-11, Book of Joshua, Book of Judges

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Raise questions regarding relationships to the inhabitants of the Land in light of "… a great nations with just laws."
  • Debate different aspects of the issue.
  • Role-play a position in a class "town hall" meeting.

5.17 Demonstrates how and why the map of biblical Israel evolved over biblical time.

Suggested Examples: the periods of Abraham, Joshua, Judges, David, Solomon, Split Kingdoms, 722 BCE and 586 BCE, Ezra-Nehemiah

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Identify the various borders of the Land of Israel on a map.
  • Discuss the impact of changing the borders on the people living in and out of the Land of Israel.
    • Create a PowerPoint or other form of presentation with the changing map of the different time periods.

5.18 Understands the significance of the use of nature in biblical poetry and metaphor.

Suggested Examples:

Metaphors and similes relating to the Land of Israel and its flora, fauna, and topography

I Samuel 2:21—"O hills of Gilboa, Let there be no dew or rain on you."

I Kings 4:33—"…from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs from the wall."

Song of Songs 2:1—"I am the Rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."

Isaiah 35:1—"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, the desert shall rejoice."

Isaiah 11:6—"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid: the calf, the beast of prey and the fatling together."

Joel 2:22—"Fig tree and vine have yielded their strengths."

Suggested Resource: Azaria Alon, The Natural History of the Land of the Bible

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Explain a biblical reference and its connection to the Land of Israel.
  • Suggest a rationale for the use of a particular allusion to nature.

GO TO
STANDARD
GRADE LEVEL 9–12
STANDARD 5 BENCHMARKS
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5.19 Explores the connection between exile from the Land of Israel and the transition to a text-based identity.

Suggested Examples: Nehemiah 9, move from centralized sacrificial worship to diffuse prayer, pilgrimage festivals celebrated in homes and synagogues, fulfillment of laws connected to the Land replaced with the study of those laws, scroll of Esther

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Explain how exile from the Land created a need for new rituals.
  • Trace a biblical ritual from its Land-based origins to text-based observance, e.g., sacrifices, Pesah observance.
  • Analyze the use of "writings" in exilic works.

5.20 Discusses the development of biblical theology relating to exile and return to the Land.

Suggested Examples: Ruth, Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 11:14-21, 18, Hosea 14

Suggested Resource: Michael Fishbane, "Notes to Commentary on Haftarot," JPS Bible Commentary, Haftarot

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Compare preexilic and postexilic prophecies in relationship to sin and punishment.
  • Develop the concept of teshuvah based on prophetic voices.

5.21 Identifies the geographic and cultural roots of modern Israel in the biblical text and analyzes how these interface with the claims of other peoples to the same Land.

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Use various biblical texts to explore the complex conversation regarding multiple claims to the Land.
  • Participate in a dialogue on the topic.

5.22 Examines the relationship between the Tanakh and the history and literature of Zionism and the State of Israel.

Curricular Suggestion: can be combined with a History of Zionism course

Suggested Resources; Megillat Ha'atzmaut, Theodore Herzl and the Uganda Plan; A.D.Gordon; Rav Kook

Sample Learning Activities:

  • Analyze different phases of biblical Israel's national development and the political, anthropological, and historical circumstances that influenced particular developments.
  • Select a modern Israeli political, literary, or religious text, personality, music, or issue and analyze the extent to which the item of interest is rooted in biblical themes.