Israeli Cities-be’er Sheva - òøéí áéùøàì- áàø ùáò
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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Teach about the significance of Be’er Sheva, the need for water in Israel, and making the desert bloom
Background: Be’er Sheva is an ancient city, thousands of years old. It appears in Tanach, mostly in connection with Avraham, who dug seven wells there. In 1948 it became part of Israel and was developed by the government. Ben Gurion in particular took an interest in making the desert bloom, and Beer Sheva became the capital of the Negev. Much effort was spent bringing water to Be’er Sheva, including the National Water Carrier, so that today the city has enough water to grow so large. It is currently Israel’s fourth largest city with a population of just under 200,000.
Agriculture, technology, pioneering.
Game 1: Johnny Over variation
One person is chosen to be IT. Have the chanichim go to an end of the room. They must try and run from end to end without being caught. If there is a lack of action, the person who is IT can call out “Johnny Over” and everyone must run from one end to the other. Whoever is tagged by IT joins him and tries to tag everyone else. The last person untagged wins and becomes IT in the next round.
In addition to this regular, well known game, we will make it more interesting by placing cups upside-down in the playing field. Under some of these cups you should place objects, could be candy or just objects like bottle caps. Chanichim should try to gather as many of these objects as possible. Since only some of the cups have things under them, they have to stop and look, and then remember where they’ve already looked. If you put down a lot of cups, it’ll make things very interesting, as they still have to contend with whoever is IT. They get a point for every one they find (or if you use candy, they get candy.) Remind them that they should put cups back once they check, so that others have an equally hard time.
Discussion: From the very beginning of history, the search for water has been life or death. In the Torah we find several stories of the Avot looking for wells. This occurs in regard to Be’er Sheva as well, where Avraham dug seven wells. Be’er Sheva is a city located in the Negev, the big desert in the south of Israel. The word Negev is both the name of the desert, and in Biblical Hebrew, it also means south. (Modern Hebrew uses the word Darom.) Because it’s in a desert, water is all the more important. In this game, we stopped to look under cups, similar to what we would do if we were trying to dig wells and find water. Sometimes we succeed, but it’s not easy and there are a lot of failures.
Game 2: Transporter
Have the chanichim line up across the room. Give each one of them a book. (Obviously you shouldn’t use anything with Kedusha, but most Batei Keneset have some children’s books around.) The chanichim must transport a tennis ball across the room using only their books. Each book must touch the ball on its way across, and the chanichim shouldn’t get out of line. You can give them a time limit to work towards, or use multiple tennis balls.
Discussion: Today water is equally important in Israel, but we no longer get large supplies of water from wells the same way Avraham did. Instead, one of the major early projects of the Israeli Government was to build the National Water Carrier, a system that transported water from the Kineret down to the Negev. This allowed the city of Be’er Sheva to grow and develop, enabled people to live all over the Negev, and even made it possible for some agriculture to be practiced therein. This was one of the major pioneering efforts of the State, and in its early stage Be’er Sheva was considered a wild frontier, like the Wild West.
Game 3: Eitz, Pri, Perach
This is a game we used to play every week in snif for lack of better ideas. Have the chanichim sit in a circle. Chose one to be in the middle with a nerf ball. The person in the middle walks around the inside of the circle, tosses the ball to one of the people and says either Eitz, Pri, or Perach. The person who catches the ball has until the count of five to name something belonging to that category – a tree, fruit, or flower. If s/he succeeds in doing so, s/he becomes the new leader. If not, s/he is out and play continues.
Once you play for a bit, you may want to change the categories to three other things, maybe more difficult ones or ones that are more pop-culture.
Discussion: Be’er Sheva was central in Ben Gurion’s plan to “make the desert bloom.” He felt that with the right technology and hard work, it would be possible to reclaim the desert for agricultural production. Indeed, within a few decades much of this has occurred. Israel is today among the leaders in the world in agricultural development in harsh environments – they go around the world to help other countries in agriculture. Be’er Sheva became the capital of the Negev and houses a university among other things. Ben Gurion continued to call for people to move to the Negev his whole life, though efforts weakened when people started pushing for movement to the Galil, Golan, and YeSh”A following the Six Day War.
 Matanky, Lenny. Shabbat Games p. 20