Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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This is the place!
Goals: Convey the importance of Israel being a place for Kibbutz Galuyot and a place for all Jews.
Materials: Pieces of paper of Kibbutz Galuyot game, story, peula sheet.
I. Game: Three Feet to Israel
This game may seem complicated at first, because the directions are long, but it’s a great game, and it gets across our message excellently, so give it a shot. (P.S. This game needs quite a bit or room, so we’ll need to coordinate when and where each kvutza will play.)
Setup: Consists of 2 boundaries on opposite sides of the playing area, each designated by an imaginary line.
Object: to get from one boundary to the other without being tagged by the person who is IT.
How to Play: Game begins with all the players (except IT) standing behind one of the boundaries. IT stands at a point between the boundaries. IT begins the round by calling out the words “Three Feet to Israel.” At this point, all the others take three giant steps. The foot on which each player lands on the thirds step is the pivot foot, and must remain in place, or else IT may try to tag the person. If IT succeeds in tagging the player who has moved his/her foot before s/he reaches safety at the opposite boundary, that player becomes IT as well. (so there’s more than one IT) the other foot may be moved in any direction, without the player being tagged.
OK, so how does someone get from between the two boundaries to the opposite boundary? There are three possible ways.
a) By tagging IT. Remember, each player may not move his/her pivot foot, but the other foot is free to move. IT should walk among the players and tease them, of course trying NOT to be tagged, but giving the players a little opportunity to tag him/her if they’re quick. If the player manages to tag IT, s/he is free to walk across the playing area to safety at the opposite boundary. (without being tagged.)
b) By making a run for it. If the player feels s/he can outrun IT, she may decide to run across. But remember, once the player moves his/her pivot foot, s/he may be tagged by IT.
c) By being led across to safety by another player. One one who has already made it across to the opposite boundary may run back to try to save others, and s/he may help only one player at a time. Once the helper has left the safety of the boundary line, and until s/he has reached another person and taken the other’s hand, s/he may be tagged by IT. The two players may both walk across to safety without fear of being tagged, only as long as they’re holding hands or touching each other. If they let go for even a moment before reaching to opposite boundary, both may be tagged by IT.
A round ends when every player has either made it across to the opposite boundary or has been tagged and become IT. Each successive round is played in the same way, except that usually after each round there are more Its than at the beginning of the round, making it harder for the remaining players. The winner of the game is the last one left without having been tagged. (Note: If a round is taking too long, a time limit should be set, at which point every player must either have made it across or have been tagged. If a player exceeds the time limit – ample warning must be given, of course – then the player automatically becomes an IT.)
Symbolism: If you think for a moment, the symbolism should be obvious. The opposite boundary is the ultimate safe destination, Israel, for the Jewish refugees. IT represents all the nations who tried to stop the Jews from reaching freedom (Great Britain, etc.) after the Shoa. The Jews tried to make it on their own, and many did, but the Jews in Israel also sent people back to Europe and Cyprus to help bring refugees to Israel. Of course, even when together (unlike in our game) these refugees and their helpers were not safe, but they were certainly better off. Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze L’Ze!
II. Kibbutz Galuyot – requires preparation before Shabbat.
This is a more typical game of tag – with a twist.
Setup: Several chairs are set up in various places in the room, each designating a country lived in by Jews during 2000 years of Galut. One chair – at the center – is designated as Israel.
Object: All the players must tag every country on their way to Israel without being tagged by IT. The first player to reach Israel wins. Once a player is tagged, s/he becomes IT as well.
How to Play: There are various ways in which you may run this game (in order to be sure each player reaches every country):
a) All the players begin at the same country and must move along from country to country is a designated order (chronologically is one possibility). IT follows them and tries to tag them.
b) The players may move in any order, but each country has an index card or slip of paper with it’s name on it, which each player ust pick up on the way around.
Suggested counties: (not all must be used) Babylonia, Rome, Ethiopia, Spain, Morocco, Syria, Poland, Russia, Germany, Argentina, Great Britain, United States.
III. Story: On Eagles’ Wings
Thrilling news swept through the Yemenite town where twelve-year-old Shalom lived. The Jews in the marketplace whispered excitedly to each other, “Israel has arisen again after 2,000 years. A new David rules in Jerusalem!” As the news spread throughout Yemen the Jews gathered their household goods and children and began a long trek through the desert towards Aden. From British-controlled Aden they would somehow find a way to reach the Promised Land. God would provide a miracle.
One scorchingly hot morning a glistening silver airplane appeared over the El Hasched settlement in Aden. Flying low, it circled the tent city twice.
The people rushed out of their tents, turned their faces upward and stared at the circling plane.
A shrill voice shouted, “The Lord God has sent us a silver bird.”
And as if on command, four thousand Yemenite Jews – men, women and children – bowed to the ground and, with their arms lifted up, recited the creed of their faith:
“Hear O Israel! The Lord our God; the Lord is one.”
A few days later Shalom and his fellow villagers climbed calmly aboard the huge plane. The only sign of emotion they showed was that the men covered their heads with their shawls and prayed aloud during the entire trip. Shalom spent every minute looking out of the round window of the plane. He could see the red Sea below and the reddish-gold coastlines of Arabia and Africa.
When they were about three hours out of Aden the little children began to complain that they were hungry. The mothers, who were dressed in their best clothing festooned with silver jewelry, tried to calm their youngsters, but not even a nasty look from the head of the family helped. The women decided to take things into their own hands.
At that point the stewardess was sitting in the pilot’s cabin writing a report for the airport officials in Israel. Suddenly the captain sniffed the air.
“Harry, Leah,” he said to the others “Don’t you smell smoke?”
“By golly, you’re right,” the copilot agreed. He quickly checked his instruments and found everything normal. The noise of the engines was even and quiet. Nothing seemed to be wrong.
A sudden hunch made Leaf jump up from her seat. As she opened the door leading to the passenger cabin, smoke began to pour through. The stewardess and copilot rushed out. In the aisle between the seats they discovered a small burning pile of newspapers and little pieces of wood. One of the women squatted beside it holding a kettle of food over the fire.
The copilot did a wild war dance with his size thirteen shoes and managed to stamp out the fire. The woman with the kettle screamed wildly and tried to shove aside the gangly American.
“Idiotic woman! You’ll set the whole plane on fire. I’ve seen some stupid things in my life, but never anything to equal this!” shouted the copilot.
Leah quickly poured water on the dying embers. Then she explained to the woman that it was dangerous to build a fire on an airplane. Finally she pushed the angry copilot back into his own cabin and began to pass out sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and tea to the passengers.
Having eaten, Shalom made his way up to the door between the passenger cabin and the cockpit, Each time anyone opened the door he stared longingly at the pilots, the strange steering mechanisms, and all the buttons surrounding the pilots’ seat. Yitzhak, an Israeli truck driver he had met in Yemen, had told him about motors and airplanes. He would give anything in the world to be able to watch the pilots fly the plane. But he didn’t dare ask.
So much had changed in a short time, thought Shalom. T one time back home he had dreamed of the day when he would be a teacher and would interpret Jewish law for his congregation. But Yitzhak had told him there were many rabbis in Israel. Now Shalom began to dream of different future. One day he would be a pilot whose plane would bring Jews to Israel from all over the world
Notes: It is important that you not only play the games with the chanichim, but also explain to them the ideas. One game requires preparation BEFORE SHABBT.