Hakamat Hamedina Agriculture - -

File details:

Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 10-18
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal
Goal: To teach about the huge importance of agriculture in the New Yeshuv, how this fits with our ideals, and depict the amazing obstacles that were overcome by the settlers.

Required Props & Materials

Materials: Bucket, spoon, small bowls or cups, cards for minesweeper


Resource Contents

Background

When Jews were trying to gain support for the idea of a Jewish homeland in Israel, one of the obstacles that they came up against was that many scientific experts claimed that the Land of Israel was unable to support agricultural activity. That is, no crops had been grown in Israel for thousands of years - the land was considered a wasteland. The Jewish settlers had to battle against these conditions to redeem the land and show that it could be productive. This was one of the main struggles of the New Yeshuv, which was literally life and death, as crops were needed for them to eat.

Game 1:Minesweeper

Im sure everyone is familiar with the computer game minesweeper. This game will be a form of that, with the same basic rules and a small twist. Before Shabbat, prepare 64 cards. Divide the chanichim into two teams. The teams will alternate picking spots on the board. The variation here is that instead of numbers (which would normally tell you how many adjacent bombs there are) there will be fruit: Grapes=5, Dates=4, Wheat=3, Cherries=2, Orange=1, and a blank is equal to 0. Instead of bombs, simply draw an X. The goal of the game is to get as large a harvest as possible. Each team keeps track of how many fruit they get. This makes the goal of the game a little different than a conventional game of minesweeper, and there may be times when this leads to interesting strategy. Furthermore, a team may choose to mark a spot they think is a bomb. They can do so by announcing that it is a bomb. If they are correct, they get to go again and receive half a point. If they are wrong, or at any time uncover a bomb, they lose a turn. The board will look as follows: (G=Grape, D=Dates, W=Wheat, C=Cherry, O=Orange, X=Bomb, and everything else is blank and should be treated as a zero.)

O

X

X

X

O

O

X

X

C

G

X

D

O

C

W

W

O

X

X

C

C

X

C

O

C

C

O

O

W

X

C

O

O

C

X

G

W

X

W

O

C

X

X

X

X

X

W

W

W

W

W

C

C

W

X

X

X

O

So this gives us a total of

20 X, 12 O, 12 C, 11 W, 1 D, 2 G, 6 blank

Make sure you have them arranged in order before snif so that you can simply put them down on the floor without revealing what is on the other side. Also, make sure to use paper that cannot be seen through. If this is problem, paste the cards onto construction paper. Arrange the cards on the group in between the two groups and have them pick a square, one at a time. The group with the largest harvest wins.

Explanation:

The First modern Aliya to Israel was made in 1882 by a group of pioneers in their teens and twenties from Russia, a group known as BILU. (Beit Yisrael Lechu VNelcha. Yishayahu 2:5) They felt that in Israel the Jewish people could undergo a political-economic and national-spiritual awakening. What this means is that they felt that by working the land, farming, and building up Israel, Jews would gain a deeper spiritual connection to their religion and also improve their standing among the nations of the world as a productive nation (Jews were often seen as a people who lived off the work of other nations.) The members of BILU came to Israel and moved to Petach Tikva, the first modern Jewish settlement in Israel. They founded several other communities, including Rishon Ltzion (literally meaning the first to Israel) and Zichron Yaakov. These communities were entirely agriculturally based - they grew grapes for wine, and several other crops. It was very difficult work, as the land of Israel had been barren for thousands of years, (much like the empty spaces on the minesweeper board, not everything produced crops.) but with a lot of work they brought forth crops, and eventually many of the settlements were successful. Although this did not entirely secure Israels stability, it did pave the way for other waves of aliyot to come to a country that was being built, as opposed to a wilderness.

Game 2: Draining the Swamp

Divide the group into two teams. Set up 6-10 small bowls of water and an empty bucket or large bowl on one side of the room. Give each team member a spoon. All team members should go to the opposite side of the room. One member at a time will race across the room to the bowls, where they will have ten seconds each to scoop as much of the water out of the bowl and into the bucket. They will then race back and tag the next member of their team, etc. First team to empty all the bowls wins. Make sure to tell the chanichim that they will be penalized for spilling water on the floor (perhaps they will have to spend one turn cleaning it up instead of scooping water, or perhaps the next team member will have to wait ten seconds before he/she goes.) Also, this will work best if you station one madrich on each side of the room. The one next to the water will have to time the chanichim and make sure they stop after ten seconds.

Explanation:

When Jewish settlers came to Israel, they found a very desolate land. One of the worst regions was Emek Yizrael, the Jezreel Valley. It was swampy and malaria infested. Nonetheless, the settlers bought the land for 300,000 pounds from its Arab owners. The place was called Death Swamp by the former owners.

Nonetheless, the Jews of the Third Aliya went to work on the land. They drained the swamps (i.e. our bowls of water) using large tree trunks (i.e. our spoons). In this area they founded a settlement called Nahalal, the first Moshav. (A moshav is a communal settlement like a kibbutz, but with more private property.) With their enthusiasm, they quickly made the valley bloom. In time the area became the breadbasket of Israel.

Game 3: Fruit Basket

You can play this game for a little bit, using the same pieces of paper from the minesweeper game. Distribute the wheat, cherry, and orange pieces, one to each chanich. Have them sit in a circle with the exact number of chairs, but one person in the middle. That person must say either cherry, orange, or wheat. When he does, all those with that crop must switch seats. S/he then tries to get one of the seats. Whoever gets stuck in the middle must call out the next crop. To make the game more exciting, you can say that if someone gets stuck 3 times, they are out.

Explanation:

Perhaps it will suffice to simply mention that the crops we have chosen for these games were not random. Jaffa Oranges became one of the great crops of the early settlements. Wheat and dates are one of the sheva minim, (and wheat is also found on the Bnei Akiva semel.) Grapes were the biggest crop grown in the first settlements, most notably Zichron Yaakov, where there is still a big winery. Cherries were also a crop grown in Israel.

Another important point worth mentioning is the number of commentators who explain agriculture redemption as a sign of the Geula. It seems from Yechezkel and the commentaries on it (including in the gemara) that the Land of Israel only responds to Jews. As long as Jews live in Israel, it produces plants. When they are exiled, the land will lie fallow (as it did for 2000 years). But as soon as the Jews come back, the land will give produce again. Indeed this did happen. The Gemara goes on to tell how the agricultural redemption of Israel is one of the true signs that Mashiach will soon come. Perhaps this would be a good point to emphasize during mifkad, explaining how amazing it is that Israel was such a wasteland for thousands of years, and as soon as the Jews returned it began producing crops again.



Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Games > Social Games

» All > Eretz Yisrael > The State of Israel

» All > History > Towards Establishing a state 1890-1948

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