Israel Murder Mystery - ôøåôíåø æîï
Group Size: 15-60
Estimated Time: 90 minutes
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This is the place!
Written by: Naomi Rosenblatt and Netanel Afek, Cleveland
Age: Taf (1-3)
Goals: get the chanichim excited and a bit learned about
Tools: story attached, a map of
Suitable for Shabbat
Preparation set the scenario up, then read aloud the clues as they come up. They have to figure out where the clue leads to, and locate that city/place on a map. Then maybe we can talk a little about that place, then go on to the next clue.
Prrrrofessorrr Zman was also a big fan of Israeli history. He had a huge, famous collection of diaries from Israeli history. As he travels through history, it appears as though he keeps dropping pages from these diaries, which serve as good clues as to where he’s gone – but, the last word, which happened to be the city he’s going to, got erased in all the clues! Now, we just have to figure them out… (don’t worry – it’s taf. They won’t make too much of a fuss if things don’t match up).
So the game goes like this: each madrich will have a clue to say (read out) and hopefully a city to explain. If you don’t want to do the explanation, then someone else could do it. We could switch off in doing the interphases and telling of how we find the clues, but one person must have all the lines of the “professor-in-disguise”. Basically we’re all one group of adventurers who are looking throughout time – “where, in time, is carmen sandiego…”. We have to be confident, and in an adventure spirit to get the kids involved and excited about the thing.
In his lab, we found our first clue:
1) We (me and my 11 sons) are going on a trip this week to visit Avraham and Sara, Yitzchak and Rivka, No, they're not alive! We're going to visit Ma'arat Hamachpelah in… (Chevron)
where do you think that is? And more importantly – when do you think that is? I wonder why the professor would go there – it seems kind of off the path, doesn’t it?
Well, we reached chevron, and we go around and see (explanation). The professor-in-disguise tells everyone that it’s interesting that esav’s head is also buried in Mearat HaMachpela… (elaborate?)
Suddenly, on the very steps of Me’arat HaMachpela, we found the following note:
2) We are in the desert up on a high place. We just heard from a messanger that snuck in that Yerushalayim gell to the romans – we trust hashem, but we’re also very afraid. Our leader Mordechai ben Yair is deep in thought. The Romans are surrounding us and they are getting closer and closer. We don't want to surrender because then we'll be their slaves and our Jewish identities will be lost. As long as we’re alive, we will never give up... (
(help them figure it out – give them extra clues: this place is a city built upon a mountain in the desert; tell them it’s a very popular tourism sight our days; with no hope, givethem the letters, or start out the word…) wow. That feels inspiring. But why would the professor come here? Here of all the places… (explanation). The professor-in-disguie explains how the massada people trusted the wind to be in their aid, to blow the fire onto the big tower the Romans built, but the wind was against them and their whole wall was burned down.
When we looked deep into the big water pools, we found the following note near the wall:
3) It’s been many long months – many tiring, desperate months spent pushing back the swamps and fighting malaria. But finally, we have something that we can be proud of – the first kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. We’re working the land – in… (D’gania kibbutz)
(they will probably need to be told that it’s D’gania, but it’s good enough if they get it’s a kibbutz). That was a leap of close to two thousand years right there. Do you know why this leap happened? (because the
It took us a long time to climb the huge eucalyptus trees, but when we finally we made it, we saw this note hanging on to a branch:
4) We settled the land and started to work it after many years of no growth, but there’s no water! Wer’e getting so thirsty! It’s so hard to work the land, when there’s no water. I hope someone named David Ben-Gurion would come up with some kind of an idea to bring water to the middle of the desert - and actually bring us some water! We can’t continue like this, here in … (Be’er Sheva)
I remember some group in Bnei Akiva Cleveland being about shortage of water, and bringing water to the
Walking around the beautiful chalutzim settlement, we happened upon a new-opened well, that seemed to be some 3000 years old… well, instead of a bucket, there was a note attached to the rope:
5) All I wanted was to get into Eretz Yisrael – the land of the Jewish people. Instead, the British caught me and the others on the boat trying to sneak past the border. Now, I’m stuck in this awful prison with bunch of other leaders of the underground defense forces. I wish we could finally get the State of
(they would probably not guess Acco specifically, but lead them to say that it is a port city).
-1) So wait, settling the land wasn’t enough?
-2) Of course not, you had to get people to live in the land of their fathers!
-1) and that’s why the maapilim were so important to everyone… they were the hope of the yishuv (Jewish settlement) to gain a majority in
(explanation about Acco). The professor-in-disguise says that if the British caught a ship of maapilim, they would either jail them in
Walking around in Acco was pretty depressing, seeing the prison and all, but hearing the talk on the streets about Jewish pride and Jewish control over
6) I walked across the beach, expecting to see many people in the streets and clubs since it is the party city. However, I didn’t see anyone; the streets were empty, and the fading sound of radios was heard from the homes all around. Then I remembered – today is the day the DECLARATION OF
So lets see: what city has a beach, clubs, many people to walk around in it, is called “the party city” and hosted the declaration of independence? Exactly right! (explanation of how Tel Aviv was the first real city of
On the wall in independence hall we saw a great picture of the ceremony taking place, with Ben Gurion standing, and a portrait of Hertzl in his back. Exactly behind hertzl’s portrait in the picture, we found a note that said the following:
7) Here we are, trapped in our settlement, fighting against the Arabs. We are expecting our supplies from Yerushalayim soon – Yerushalayim is so close, and yet so far away… I can see it in the distance, yet in this bloody war, I realize that it is virtually impossible for help to arrive at our isolated block of settlements named… (Gush Etzion)
(elaborate a bit more about the clues and about the ‘isolated section of Yerushalayim’)
Gush Etzion stood alone during the independence war, and before and after it. It eventually fell to the Arabs. (explanation of what’s there, what was unique about its gush atmosphere). The professor-in-disguise notes that the Gush is not just one kibbutz – it consists of at least 6 major kibbutzim, and it has a cemetery, a yeshiva and stuff like that as well.
The beautiful environment almost made us forget what terrible battle overcame this place just couple of hours ago. When we looked at houses, they looked dark and burnt, but we couldn’t tell for sure… we figured it was only logical for the professor to come here after the declaration of independence since this was one of the results – the war of independence.
We kept walking around, until soon enough we picked up this note off the ground:
8) We have to go into this city, which is old and holy. We have to fight in the six day war. We will win the war and go to pray at an old wall which symbolizes the strength of the Jewish people! we must go in and free… (Yerushalayim)
Yerushalayim! We finally made it to our capital city, and our most beloved and dear city of all the holy cities. (explanation about what the six day war accomplished in
- #) Wait, you lived in
- Professor-in-disguise) Yes – no- I mean, yes… I would have liked to grow up in Jeruslaem.
- #) Aha.
As we ran towards the kotel with all the paratroopers who liberated the city, we found a note attached to one of the roofs! We had to stop and read it, and this is what it said:
9) I have just heard about a SPECTACULAR Israel shabbat taking place in (Name your city)! I want to go check it out, and see how much the people there have learned about Israeli history. Signed, Prrrrofessorrrrrr Zman
At this point, we get all excited…. We look around and say, “Oh my gosh, where is he? That clue means that he’s here! Where’s professor zman?” more excitement, get kids off their feat, start looking everywhere, under your shoes, behind sofas, under carpets, everywhere. When we start looking around at people, we ask the kids who they think is the professor. Hopefully with enough time (if it takes more than a minute, than just do it without their guess) they’ll guess it. Then _____ jumps out (whoever had the professor lines throughout the whole thing), with a costume/sign indicating that he is the professor. We all get excited!!!!
CONCLUSION: Remember to wrap up the peula by asking the chanichim what the connection was between the different steps. It was all basically part of israeli history, but it also symbolized almost each aspect about the society of Israel – find out (together with the chanichim) what values and morals each event/place has to teach us.