Can You Be A Zionist In Chutz Laaretz? - "?

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 8-14
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal

Objective: The chanichim will realize the complexity and the different sides of the issue of who is a real Zionist. Namely, that an American sending money to support the State of Israel, though important, today may not be considered by everyone to be a real Zionist.

Required Props & Materials
make sure you cut the paper before Shabbat

Resource Contents

Who is the ultimate wizard? Have four chanichim each take on the role of 1 of 4 Harry Potter characters, have them present themselves to the group and then have the group debate who they think is the ultimate wizard. You could discuss power, ethics, smart, brave, sneaky, resourceful, etc.

The 4 characters will be: Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, Ron Weasly and Draco Malfoy.

The point is for the kids to have fun and to start thinking in the form of debating and abstract thinking.

Let the chanichim debate for about 5-6 minutes. Play devils advocate, and keep it exciting.

Then point out to the chanichim that maybe at the beginning they all came into the sicha thinking that it was very easy who the best wizard was, but after debating and hearing their friends opinions, maybe they changed their minds or saw that the issue is complex.

So too for older children, tell the chanichim that they are now going to switch the debate into talking about who is the ultimate Zionist, and here too the answer is not clear cut or obvious. Its a complex issue with different sides to all opinions.

Trigger: Four Faces of Zionism (adapted from a sicha by Aliza Teplitsky)

Divide the chanichim up into small groups. Give each group the four profiles and have them read them over. Explain to the chanichim that these four characters are siblings whose father has just passed away. He said in his will that he would give his huge fortune to whoever of the four children was most Zionist, and then each of the other children would also get gifts depending on the order of their Zionism (#1 gets huge fortune, #2 big gift, #3 smaller gift, #4 tiny gift). But he didnt define what he thought the most Zionistic person to be!

Each of them in their small groups has to put the four characters in order of who they think is the most Zionist, who the 2nd most, and so forth. (Give the chanichim the 4 award ribbons that they should give to each character accordingly).

(Note: You could run this as a debate like the Harry Potter trigger, if you think it would work better that way, and if you think your kids will be able to handle it or if they want a change of pace).


Have each of the groups present their order and who they thought the most Zionist character was and why, and then open it up for group discussion. Which person is the most Zionist? Which is the least Zionist? The hadracha should act as moderators.

The chanichim although they are younger, should be able to get into this sicha. But it will need a lot of hadracha participation. Challenge the kids on the questions and points they are making play devils advocate. Encourage all the kids to debate this. Ask pointed questions and throw in comments to steer the discussion. The point here is to get the chanichim thinking and talking.

I. Points to bring up:

What is more important?

Serving in the army/believing in Zionism or actually living in Israel (even if you dont believe in Zionism)?

  • Sending money/political support or your presence in Israel by living there.

  • What you believe in your heart, or where you actually live?

  • Setting a dugma (make Aliyah) or teach others but stay back in America?

-How much are the people who are in America supporting Israel doing it for the chinuch/political reasons, and how much because deep down living in America is easier and more comfortable. How lishmah is their decision??

-Shira may not believe in Zionism, but at the end of the day she lives there! Whats more Zionist then that? (Theres an anecdote told in To Dwell in the Palace where a Zionist living in New Jersey calls up his sister whose Chareidi, doesnt believe in Zionism but lives in Israel, and tells her, his son is going to Israel for the year and he doesnt want him going to visit her because her anti-Zionism will rub off on him. She responds: Anti-Zionism? I live in Israel, you live in New Jersey!! Whose the anti-Zionist??)

-Interesting facts: When Ezra tried to get the Jews to return to Israel and rebuild the 2nd Beit Hamikdash, most Jews sent money and did not come physically. A bad historical precedent?

II. Tying it into the theme of the day:

Ask the chanichim: What if Israel said they dont need political support or money, and what they really need is numbers of people moving there?

Today Israel does not want our money or our political support. What they want and what is needed today in Israel is our presence! (If one of the hadracha or one of the chanichim is Israeli ask them what they think. Its always more powerful hearing it directly from an Israeli).

Who was Baron de Rothschild and what did he do? (See if they remember from the tochnit yom). Baron de Rothschild sent lots of money that supported and sustained Rosh Pina, Zichron Yaakov and Rishon LeTzion. Without his money and support these settlements would not have survived!!! But at the saw time the Baron called his home France and did not want to live in Israel! Was he a Zionist?

Today is the situation different then with the Baron? Today can the settlements and the State of Israel survive without American political support or money? (Even if its still necessary its still totally dependent as it was in the times of Baron de Rothschild).

Are Americans in chutz laaretz who send money and visit but dont make Aliyah real Zionists??

What is the role of American Jewry today? To give money or make Aliyah??


Firstly, there is no clear real answer. Since the four characters were very complex, probably none of them fit the chanichim's stereotype of an ideal Zionist. Is there an ideal Zionist? Unclear. Of course we want to push Aliyah but it is important to show that there are many reasons people do not make Aliyah and for them that is a valid life choice and no one choice is necessarily more Zionist than the other.

Additionally, the chanichim should be rethinking the role of Americans living in chutz laaretz and sending money and support instead of making Aliyah. Yes, support is needed, but Israel will survive without it. Life is very different then when Israel could not have survived without the Baron de Rothschilds support. Israelis today say they need our bodies and presence in the land, not our wallets.

Finally, its good for chanichim to be thinking about these issues, and for them to see and hear other peoples opinions. It is an important discussion to have, no? Good luck!

Yair from Tel Aviv:

  • Made Aliyah when he was 18 and served in Tzahal

  • Doesnt keep the Torah or Mitzvot

  • Believes in Zionism

  • Lives in Israel with his family his kids serve in Tzahal but do not know anything about the Jewish Tradition.

Yair believes he is the ultimate Zionist because he lives in Israel and served in Tzahal, even though he is not religious.

Shira from Beitar:

  • Keeps the Torah and Mitzvot
  • Lives in Israel
  • Doesnt believe in Zionism or the Secular government
  • Would not send her sons to Tzahal
  • Lives beyond the Green Line
  • Buys American Products and visits America whenever she can

Shira believes that she is the ultimate Zionist, because even if she doesnt believe in Zionism, she lives in Israel.

Dov from Boston:

  • Went to Israel for College

  • Believes in Zionism and is Shomer Torah UMitzvot

  • Came back to America and became a Rabbi

  • Teaches about Torah and Israel in America and does lots of Kiruv on college campuses

  • Sends hundreds of kids a year to Israel on summer programs and convinces people to make Aliyah

Dov believes that he is the ultimate Zionist because even though he lives in America, he really wants to live in Israel, but lives in America only because he feels the work he does here is more important and helps Israel more than if he lived there.

Yael from New York:

  • Went to Harvard Law School in America and became a successful lawyer.

  • Sends lots of money each year to Israel and also uses her political influence to get senators in America to support Israel.

  • Lives in America but visits Israel whenever she can, and even owns a house there in Jerusalem.

  • Sends her kids to a Zionist Hebrew Day School, Bnei Akiva on Shabbat and Moshava for the summers.

  • Does not ever plan on making Aliyah.

Yael believes that she is the ultimate Zionist because even though she lives in America, she believes she can help Israel most by sending them money and by helping with political support.

Draco Malfoy:

  • In Slytherin

  • His parents are powerful though evil wizards

  • As powerful and smart as Harry, but will resort to unethical means to achieve his plans

  • Very sneaky and has no problem breaking any rules

  • Gets away with stuff because his father is so powerful and bribes people

  • Leads a gang of bullies who pick on other kids

  • Plays seeker on the Slytherin Quiddich Team (partly because his father bribed the school)

  • Hates mudbloods, wizards who have muggle parents

  • A leader and powerful wizard who thinks hes better then everyone else

  • Is a prefect

Ron Weasley:

  • In Gryffindor

  • He comes from a big family, all of whom are very friendly and nice, and always invite Harry over for parts of vacation

  • Huge Quiddich fan, and plays Keeper in the latest book

  • Gets scared very easily, especially of spiders

  • Doesnt mind breaking the rules or getting into trouble

  • Gets very defensive when made fun of by Malfoy

  • Helps Harry with all of his adventures and fighting

  • Forgetful and careless, but will sacrifice anything to help his friends

  • Is a prefect

Hermoine Granger

  • Shes in Gryffindor

  • Very, very smart and top of her class

  • Knows many spells and lots of information about the magical world

  • Her parents are muggles

  • Doesnt like breaking the rules and tries to convince her friends to also stay out of trouble

  • Always comes up with very smart plans to solve problems

  • Very loyal to her friends Ron and Harry

  • Started a Save the Elves club

  • Is a prefect

Harry Potter:

  • Defeated Lord Voldemort when just a baby, leaving a scar on his forehead

  • He is in Gryffindor

  • He is very brave and has fought numerous enemies and allies of Lord Voldemort though being very young

  • He is a very powerful wizard he can defeat Dementors, and knows many spells

  • He is very loyal to his friends, Professor Dumbledore and Sirius Black

  • Takes lots of risks and breaks the rules

  • Plays seeker for Gryffindor Quiddich Team and is very good at that.

  • His parents were very powerful wizards

1ST Place


2nd Place


3rd Place


4th Place


Resource Comments

You can use this for younger children, if you feel they need a better trigger to help them segway into discussing who the ultimate Zionist is in the 4 faces of Zionism trigger/sicha.

Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Eretz Yisrael > Zionism

» All > Eretz Yisrael > Aliya

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