by Adrian A. Durlester
Here’s the roundup of this week’s Jewish news for use in your classroom. Follow the hyperlinks for the best from the Jewish web.
Will BiBi Be Back? — In just a few days, on February 10, Israelis will be voting for new leadership. Some pollsters and pundits say the election is already over, and Netanyahu and the Likkud party will win a big majority. Others say indecision is in the air, and that a significant number of Israelis remain undecided. Even among those who indicated a choice to pollsters in one poll, a good 30% say their final vote could change. The aftermath of the Gaza incursion is still settling in, and, while it was taking place, elections were far from the minds of most Israelis except for the politicians. Still, with each passing day, more and more polls are showing Netanyahu and Likkud with a substantial lead. Netanyahu, who has been critical of the current Kadima-Party-led government for its restraint in the Gaza incursion and subsequent cease-fire violations has received endorsement from the leadership of the ultra-religious Shas party.
by Adrian A. Durlester
What Jewish Problem? Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that, according to exit polls, Barack Obama received 77% of the “Jewish Vote.” Jeremy Ben-Ami of the J-Street lobby (a dovish pro-Israel pro-Peace organization supporting more direct and insistent U.S. involvement in bringing about peace and a two-state solution) told Ha’aretz that “American Jews resoundingly rejected the two-year, multi-million dollar campaign of baseless smears and fears waged against [Obama] by the right wing of our community…We can only hope that these results put to rest for good the myth that fear and smear campaigns – particularly around Israel – can be an effective political weapon in the Jewish community.”
Your students are going to want to talk about the election whether you want to or not. Might as well look for some Jewish angles. Lot’s more to use on Ha’aretz’s U.S Elections web page, http://tinyurl.com/6lzsbf.
Now It’s Israel’s Turn For a Big Election. In case you missed it during the whirlwind of the Jewish holidays and the U.S. Presidential election, Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, is facing an ever-growing corruption scandal and tendered his resignation back in late September. Israeli President Shimon Peres asked the Kadima party’s Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, to form a new government. After a month or so of trying to put together a coalition, Livni told Peres that the political compromises she would have to make, particularly to right-wing parties, were more than she could accept, even to become Prime Minister. So Israel is headed for elections some time in February, 2009. Livni’s likely challenger is none other than Benjamin Netanyahu. On a simplistic level, it’s right-wing hawks versus centrist and leftist doves. This article from Ha’aretz (http://tinyurl.com/5by2d3), among others, uses Israeli reaction to Obama’s victory as a lens through which to view Israel’s upcoming political choice.
This week, we’re debuting a new feature in TAPBB. It’s called News2Use, and it’s by Adrian Durlester. Each week, Adrian (who used to edit C.Ha and Bim Bam) will pick a few stories in the news, talk about their “Jewish angles” and recommend ideas for bringing them into your classroom.
by Adrian A. Durlester
The Shofar — A Rhapsody In Green? This High Holidays Feature article written for the JTA by author and toy designer Edmon J. Rodman (perhaps best known for his YouTube video where he builds a pyramid of matzah) asks:
“Is green the theme of the shofar this Rosh Hashanah season? In a year of sustainability and carbon footprints, high gas and hybrids, the shofar is the simplest, most eco-friendly method of reaching the Jewish community with a vital message. The shofar, if you pause to think about it, is a rhapsody in green…A totally natural product, its availability is a byproduct of an already ongoing ancient enterprise — sheep herding. Powered by one human, and empowered by a congregation, the shofar requires no batteries, power cord or transformer. When we hear it, we are the ones who become transformed.”
A discussion suitable for almost any grade: What do you hear in the call of the shofar? How does it call us to take care of our planet? Find the complete article at: http://tinyurl.com/greenshofar.
Tzipi, you’re in. Ehud, you’re out. If Israel is your topic of interest, one of this week’s hottest stories is, of course, the resignation of Ehud Olmert and the potential rise to power of Tzipi Livni. Lots of articles all over the web. A nice place to start is with this article from Time Magazine: http://tinyurl.com/timesep22olmert.
For grades 5 and up: How might the resignation of Olmert and the new government to be formed by Tzipi Livni affect the situation in Israel?