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October 2013

We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are now grateful for full, uninterrupted weeks of teaching and learning ahead.  Let the rest of the year begin!

Jewish LearningWorks' Israel Education Initiative is proud to provide you with creative resource materials and innovative ideas to enhance Israel Education in your programs all year round.


In this issue, we invite you to explore educational opportunities for Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, to read about a new curriculum based on Israel's Declaration of Independence, and to engage with resources and local events. We hope that you find the material presented here useful and relevant to your work and encourage you to share your comments, thoughts and ideas with us and with the rest of our Bay Area community.   


Yitzhak Rabin Memorial
Commemorated on October 16 (12 Cheshvan) or November 4
18 Years to Rabin's Assassination
Chai (Life and 18) by Yossi Lemel
"We, the soldiers who have returned from battle stained with blood, we who have seen our relatives and friends killed before our eyes, we who have attended their funerals and cannot look into the eyes of their parents, we who have come from a land where parents bury their children, we who have fought against you, the Palestinians - We say to you today in a loud and clear voice: Enough of blood and tears. Enough. We have no desire for revenge. We harbor no hatred towards you. We, like you, are people who want to build a home, to plant a tree, to love, to live side by side with you in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men: Farewell to arms. We wish to open a new chapter in the sad book of our lives together, a chapter of mutual recognition, of good neighborliness, of mutual respect, of understanding. We hope to embark on a new era in the history of the Middle East." 
Address by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the occasion of the Signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, Washington, D.C., September 13, 1993                                          

On the twelfth day of Cheshvan, the fourth of November 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Eighteen (Chai in gimatria) years have passed. Several articles written in the past few years lament the waning interest in commemorating the day and the loss of significance it represents for children and youth. Some even suggest renaming it "Israeli Democracy Day" or "Tolerance Day." Many agree that the day offers an educational opportunity that should be seized in order to inform and inspire the next generation of citizens, civic leaders and potential peace makers.

In Israel, a law states that on Rabin Memorial Day schools will dedicate activities focusing on his life and legacy, the importance of democracy in Israel and the danger violence poses to Israeli society and the state. Every year the Education Ministry and the Yitzhak Rabin Center collaborate on a Memorial Day theme and activities for schools. This

The Choice is in Your Hands 
Chai (18) highlighted in green 
year's theme is "Choose Life" (U'vacharta Ba'chayim), inspired by a verse from Deuteronomy 30:19. The theme invites a deep conversation on several levels: personal choices, national decisions and their effect on individuals living in a democratic state; and the sanctity of life. A graphic poster "The Choice is in Your Hands" accompanies the activities and acts as a prompt for many of the discussions.

Food for thought:

How does your school commemorate the day? What questions are raised? What discussions ensue?

Rabin Center -  Lesson Plan

Peacemaker Heroes: Yitzhak Rabin by his granddaughter Noa Ben-Artzi

Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Rally Draws 30,000 People (Oct 12, 2013)

Forward Magazine: Waning Interest In Rabin Memorial

Israel Democracy Institute: Reflection on Rabin Memorial Day

Tractate Independence - New Curriculum! 

We are very proud to present an exciting new curriculum several years in the making.  Tractate Independence, a collaborative effort between Jewish LearningWorks and the Jerusalem-based organization Rabbis for Human Rights, is finally here!

Tractate Independence takes a Talmudic approach to the study of Israel's Declaration of Independence. It explores critical issues facing Israeli society and views those issues through the lens of Jewish history and literature. The curriculum engages the learner to discover the multifaceted reality of Israel in the context of its founding vision in an engaging, thought provoking way.

The curriculum is comprised of two booklets:  the first includes rich translated text (including ancient and modern sources) in a format of a Talmudic page.  The second includes 31 creative lesson plans ranging in methodologies from Hevruta-study, art, drama, and more.

Intended for middle and high school students.
We are piloting the program in a few local schools.
If you are interested in viewing and exploring this resource, please contact us at


Cultural Events

Tonight!9780815610199Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel   
Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, David Ehrlich's 
recent collection of short stories, Who Will Die Last, is an 
original and moving work of fiction. Ehrlich's themes relate 
to gay life in Israel, the pull of loneliness, and the power of 
community, while Israel's history, landscape, and conflict 
provide the backdrop.

Tuesday, October 17, 7:00 pm

Jewish Community Library 

Israeli Actor Chaim Topol in Conversation 
 Winner of two Golden Globes, multiple Academy Award nominations, and numerous international awards, Tel Aviv-born CHAIM TOPOL is Israel's most beloved actor.
Saturday, October 19, 2013 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Chaim Topol & Fiddler on the Roof Screening  
Sunday, October 20, 2013 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Sunday, October 20, 2013 6:00 pm - 9:45 pm
Castro Theatre

New Israeli TV    
Presented by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival    
From In Treatment to Homeland, some of America's smartest TV series have been based on Israeli shows. See the best and brightest new programs from Israel before they come to our own small screens.
In Hebrew, with English subtitles 
Sunday, October 27
Starts at 1:00 pm 
JCC San Francisco    
To Build & Be Built: Kibbutz History 
Ongoing until July 2014
Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Work in Progress: Considering Utopia 
Consider the concept of utopia both in a Jewish context and from a contemporary perspective.
Beyond Belief - 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art

Contact Jewish LearningWorks' 
Israel Education Initiative Team:
Ilan Vitemberg, Director
Vavi Toran, Arts & Culture Specialist