A.2. Applies/Does'nt Apply
This game can be organized while sitting in a circle, or standing.
- Ask people to stand if the statement applies to them, and to remain seated if it does not.
- It can be made more mobile, if you place a placard on one side of the room for “Applies” and another on the opposite side for “Doesn’t Apply,” and ask the group to go over to whichever side is relevant.
Statements may be related to major issues / strong beliefs; or to facts about
Some statement suggestions:
Factual: I am over 18.
I am from the East Coast of the U.S.A.
I have never been to Israel before.
Issues: The West Bank should remain in Israeli hands.
Peace Now is a sign of hope for the State of Israel.
Diaspora Jews lead meaningless Jewish lives.
A.3. Concentric Circles
This is an excellent introductory activity. It enables group members to introduce themselves to each other in a non-threatening manner.
Split the group into two equal circles. Have them form two concentric circles, with partners facing each other.
The facilitator or moderator explains these rules to the group:
When the moderator says “speak,” partners speak to each other either about a predetermined topic or any other.
When the moderator says “stop,” partners immediately stop talking - even if they are in the middle of a sentence.
The moderator says “switch”: the entire outer circle moves one space to the right. At the signal, partners begin talking.
The moderator allows about one minute (or less) for each pair, until every pair has spoken to each other.
B. Group Crystallization Activities
B.2. Fear in a Hat
For this game, you need paper and pencil for each participant, plus a hat or tin.
The game is played in a circle.
Ask everyone, including the moderator, to complete this sentence on paper (anonymously):
“In this trip/group/program, I am afraid that …“
Put the scraps of paper in the tin, or receptacle, in the center.
Pass the tin around, stopping at each person while s/he draws one out and reads it, enlarging on the sentence and trying to express what s/he believes the writer was feeling. Explain that there are to be no comments about what will be said.
The moderator goes first!
(For example, the group leader reads the first one, and might say:
“In this group I am afraid that I will be laughed at … (continues talking) - I am afraid to express my feelings because everyone laughs at me, so I never say anything.”)
Continue around the circle.
The leader should make sure that everyone just listens, and does not comment, or argue.
Then discuss what was noticed or discovered.
Likes and dislikes in a hat (two tins)
Worries in a hat
Gripes in a hat
Wishes in a hat, etc.
B.3. Pass the Buck
This game requires a “Buck” (pen, glove, etc.).
The leader holds the Buck, and explains that no one can speak unless s/he is holding it. Pass it on to the next person in the circle, or to whoever raises his/her hand to speak.
Toss it quickly back and forth: you have to speak when you have it, or you are out.
Use it to tell stories: whoever has the Buck has to continue.
This game can be used by the counselor or leader as an effective tool in many situations. For example, during a group meeting when participants are not hearing each other out, or are competing for attention.
B.4. Chinese Whispers
An exercise to enhance cooperation in communication and to generate focused communication.
The group members are asked mill around, but not to speak directly to those with whom they want to talk.
Instead, when they see someone they would like to communicate with, they need to send him/her a message via someone else: e.g., “Tell Debra I said thank you for helping me yesterday.”
Continue until messages run out.
Try as graffiti on poster board/brown paper on the walls.
Try with bits of paper being delivered from one person to another.
Play at a run, speed up, in slow motion.
Effectiveness and content of communication, how many conversations each member generated with different people; how many different people approached him/her with a message.
B.5. Group Yell
A great activity after a long hike, or even a long lecture!
Have the group huddle together in a crouching position.
The facilitator/leader begins a low hum motioning the members to join in. As the leader and the group begin to rise slowly, the sound level also rises, so that at the end, everyone leaps into the air and shouts at the same time.
Repeat until everyone has really shouted at the end.
Add specific words or sounds chosen by the group in advance, such as Jerusalem, Peace, Home, etc.
B.6. Bad News and Good News
This is an excellent activity to use during or before Shabbat, or before any big event to give everyone a chance to share something lightly personal.
As a round start a sentence with, “The nicest thing that happened to me this week was…” Emphasize that it might be something big and exciting, or small and pleasant. (Perhaps just a smile from someone special.)
Write them anonymously, guess who wrote them.
In a light frame of mind, do “Bad News.” “The worst thing that happened to me this week was…” (Follow this with Good News!)
Do "Bad News" and discuss the degree of sympathy desired.
B.7. Mental Gifts
This exercise fosters greater acceptance, emotional generosity and thoughtfulness towards other members of the group and is totally random. Member self-confidence and inter-personal communication are also enhanced.
A pencil and a few small pieces of paper should be given to each participant.
a. (If large blackboard/poster board/brown paper sheeting is available)
Write each group member’s name at the top of a section of the board.
Everyone walks around writing up "mental gifts" in each person’s section. They should be something you think the person would like, or something you think they should have. Example: “I give you the gift of appreciating your own wisdom.”
b. (If no board/paper is available)
Everyone writes his/her name on four or five scraps of paper. These are put into a large hat or bowl.
Each member draws out five and addresses "mental gifts" to that name.
At a signal everyone delivers his/her gift.
They can be shared aloud, if desired.
Repeat this at intervals during the year/seminar/camp.
Try to see that gifts become more relevant to the needs of the recipient.
B.8. Guess Who Said It
This exercise fosters greater acceptance, emotional generosity and thoughtfulness towards other members of the group. Member self-confidence and inter-personal communication are also enhanced.
The game is played in a circle.
One person is chosen, or volunteers, to leave the room.
Three or four people make positive statements about him/her, trying to include specialized information that not everyone might know about the person.
When s/he returns, s/he stands in a circle, and the statements are repeated to her/him one at a time, while s/he tries to guess who said each one.
(The counselor/moderator should not select a hesitant person to leave the room first; the leader should emphasize only positive statements.)
B.9. Breaking into the Group
This group dynamics exercise is for experienced moderators on a known group only and can be used therapeutically to address issues of group acceptance and behavior.
Note: To be used with caution – the group's physical resistance may occur and impact emotionally.
The leader asks the group:
“Is there anyone who is feeling alienated today who would like to volunteer for an exercise?” (A volunteer is selected.)
Group members then form a circle facing in, holding hands.
The volunteer walks around the outside of the circle, until he or she selects a place to break in. The person then fights to get into the circle, forcing apart the arms of the members at the chosen point of entry, and assumes a position in the circle joining hands.
Of what significance was the spot the student chose to enter?
How did the people at the point of breaking in respond?
Did they resist?
Did they give in too easily?
Why did the person feel alienated in the first place?
What can the group do to prevent some incidents of alienation?
B.10. The Magic Circle
The magic of this activity is that it engages everyone in issues concerning group life in some way in a productive manner, but it is random and unthreatening. On the one hand, no one is allowed to answer his or her own question – yet everyone gets to raise a question openly and hear a variety of solutions to this and other problems.
The group sits in a circle. Anyone can start the exercise by asking a question, or posing a problem, without suggesting an answer.
The person sitting to the left of the person who posed the problem then offers a solution and describes another problem.
The person to his or her left follows by answering the last question and posing a new problem.
This continues around the circle, so that everyone has a turn.
C.5. The Word Wizzard
This exercises is strongly directive but highly constructive, because it limits the use of language to the minimum in random combinations, in order to enhance the mechanisms, like body language, lines of communication and content focus. By ringing the changes in partners, it also creates opportunities for members to communicate meaningfully with a variety of participants. It thus enhances their familiarity with one another, multiplies their respective channels of communication and improves their independent message content gradually, with a final creative assignment to afford a productive outcome.
Pencil and a few sheets of paper are needed for each group member.
Give the following instructions slowly, and one at a time, with pauses between.
The facilitator or leader opens up with the following,
“I am a wizard, I am taking away all your words. But as I am generous, you may have four of them back. Write down the four words you want to keep, out of all the words in the world.
"Find a partner, communicate using only your four words, plus gestures…"
"Now you may share words with your partner, write down his or her words. Now you have up to eight words."
"Change partners and communicate with these words on your list only."
"Now share your words."
(Repeat, changing partners 4 to 6 times.)
"Now take your list and try to write a poem using just those words.”
D. Dissolving Group Tensions
D.2. Resent and Appreciate
This is not a run of the mill game, but a highly crucial tool to address specific experiences and draw the threads together again in a positive manner.
When used to dissolve tension, the emphasis should be on checking the group pulse after the second round and using it to encourage the group.
The exercise can also be used for evaluation purposes throughout any course, or group work, when the facilitator may also wish to review the outcomes by noting them down and analysing them with the group.
Have the group sit in a circle and explain the procedure in a light-hearted manner:
- Ensure that everyone understands the meaning of both words – resent, appreciate – and that the purpose is to relate to the activity just completed, or an experience in the group.
- During someone else's statement, no one is allowed to comment.
- Anyone is allowed to say “I pass,” which means “No comment.”
- Anyone can say “I resent nothing,” or “I appreciate nothing.”
Each person makes a statement beginning with. I resent…
Repeat the round, beginning with. I appreciate…
D.3. Gripes Auction
This is a good non-specific ventilation exercise for tension, but the trick is to keep it light-hearted, encourage a fair amount of noisy competition - and not to let it get tedious: not all the gripes need to be sold.
Cards or pieces of paper should be prepared in advance with each gripe (listed below) written as a separate card.
Pencils and paper should be distributed to all the participants.
All the gripes are read out first, so that participants can decide on what to bid.
The leader then holds a series of these cards, each featuring a different gripe, and begins putting them up for auction, in a light-hearted manner.
Each person has 100 points to spend. A sheet of paper should be reserved to note "buyers" and the "sale price" for each gripe, so that no-one spends more points than he or she has. Buyers, of course, receive the gripe cards they have purchased.
When the auction is over, those who hold cards explain why their particular gripe is important and how it affects their lives.
List of Gripes
Banks Little Children Gossip Greasy Food
Heat Baby-sitting Dogs Broken telephones
Dirty Toilets Smokers Pocket money Vandalism
People who yell Newspapers Sports Drama lesson
Burglars Parents Cats School dances
Israeli men School Homework Dentists
Crowds Brothers Books Violence
People who push ahead in line Sisters Teachers Television
Falafel Youth club Grandparents Policemen
Doing Laundry Holidays Pollution Fashions
Shopping Doctors Inefficiency
Brainstorm the group's own list of gripes and work with that, instead of the above. No personality types from the group, please…
G. Evening Activities
G.2. Freeze Improvisation
Two group members begin a dramatic improvisation on any theme.
Any group member may yell “Freeze”, at any time. At this point, the two actors freeze in the position they find themselves.
The group member who shouted “Freeze” taps one actor on the back, at which point that person leaves the improvization and the group member assumes the identical exact physical position.
S/he then starts a new improvization and the game continues in this fashion, until a variety of scenes are improvized.
G.3. Electric Current
Players stand, or sit in a circle, holding hands.
All close their eyes and the leader taps one member on the back. That person then squeezes the hand of the person next to him/her.
As soon as someone feels the hand squeeze, s/he passes it on to the next person in the circle.
The electric current may be sent from two different starting points, or in two directions simultaneously.
G.4. This is a Shoe
This is a semi-dramatic, silly rule game for a crystallizing group, which also channels communication around the group in a structured manner and involves practices, like hearing someone out. If members are cooperative, it can also be played in a new group to improve acquaintance in a non-threatening manner.
Players sit in a circle.
The leader has an object in his or her hand (for example, a shoe) and explains how the game is played, going forwards and backwards, one person at a time.
S/he passes the object on to the next in line, saying, “This is a shoe.”
The next person asks, “A what?” The first person again answers, “A shoe.”
Now the leader repeats, “This is a shoe” and the second player repeats to the next in line: “A shoe.”
The third player now asks “A what?” and passes this question back down the line to the leader who answers, “A shoe.”
This word is passed on down the line until the fourth person is reached, who also now asks the question, “A what?” is passed back again to the leader.
The game continues in this way until everyone has participated.
G.5. Paper Bag Dramatics
Prepare a bag with a variety of objects (e.g., Shabbat candles, Magen David, Hebrew newspaper, etc….).
Divide the players into small groups. Each player picks one object from the bag.
After everyone has an object, each group must compose a short skit using all the objects its players have picked. The best skit wins.
For large groups use one bag for each subgroup.
Instead of composing a skit, the players should compose a song, or tell a story,
using the objects.
Use objects related to a Festival (i.e., dreidel, matzot). Tell all the players that their skit has to revolve around that Festival.
G.8. The Rule of the Game
Rules are important in groups, but ridiculous rules can be used to release tension.
This rule game sets one player against the others, so it should only played for fun and in a group which is cooperative internally.
Have the group sit in a circle. One person goes out; others choose a rule. Example of a good rule to begin with:
Answer every question as if you were the person on your right.
When s/he comes back, s/he has to discover the rule by asking people questions about themselves.
Players have to answer questions honestly, according to the rules.
How to set rules:
Rules can be hard or very simple, according to age and experience.
Rules may be visual (scratch head before answering), or structural (each answer begins with the next letter of the alphabet).
One gender tells lies, the others tell the truth.
Rules are part of everyone's life, including the group's, but everyone should be part of the process of creating them, during norming. This game helps do it for fun and allows the leader to bring non-dominant members into the process.
Place chairs in a circle.
Designate a “lawyer” and explain how to play the game, to him or her.
The lawyer stands in the center and announces to the players, “Starting from now, you must not answer when I speak to you; the person on your left must answer for you. You must not nod, or smile, or respond to me in any way. Do you understand?”
The players almost invariably answer, and they are out...
The lawyer starts again, asking different people questions and putting them out, if they answer for themselves, or break the rules of nodding/smiling.
The lawyer progress to another rule, making it more sophisticated, such as: no one may answer “yes” or “no”…
New rules may be added as you go along (up to a point!), or new "lawyers" appointed.
Silent games are great equalizers; this is also a multiple rule game that is a great ice-breaker, fast and fun to play.
Ask the group to sit in a circle and explain how to play the game – silently!
The leader stands, makes one simple movement, e.g. a spiral movement, with one finger.
The next person makes the same spiral movement plus a new one, e.g., a foot stamp, etc., each person repeating and adding as the game goes around the circle.
If someone misses a movement, or talks, he or she is out.
Have the group invent a new rule.
G.11. Who Started the Motion?
This just has to be the classic "guess the rule" game that everyone knows and is therefore good for creating tempo before starting an activity..
Have the group form a circle. One volunteer (A) leaves the room.
The leader chooses someone to start the motion such as slapping, tapping feet, waving, etc.
Practice: Everyone watches the starter and changes motions when s/he does, while appearing not to watch her/him.
The group continues playing and the leader calls “A” back in. "A" has to guess who the starter is.
Use blindfold and sound, instead of motion.
G.12. Fit the Reader
Dramatic game and good creative fun. Requires magazine, journal, or book.
The leader chooses a piece of written material from a magazine, newspaper or book – any paragraph, ordinary or otherwise.
He or she explains how each person in the group is to assume the role of a particular kind of reader. One person is given the paragraph to read – without preparation – in the manner or style chosen by the reader.
1. In the manner of a horse-racing commentator as the horses near the post.
2. In the manner of a children’s story reader.
3 . In the style of a dignitary making a speech on a public occasion.
4. In a style full of insinuation and innuendo.
5. In the style of a rabbi.
6. In the manner of a suspicious policeman.
G.13. Chain Statues
A fun crystallization and dramatic game.
Participants are seated in a circle.
One person is asked to take a statue position in the center of the circle.
The leader indicates that another person should go up to the statue and move an arm or leg or hand, and then join on where they touched the statue.
Continue adding people to the chain this way. The leader may say “Freeze” at any point, and everyone stays exactly where they are.
Continue playing until everyone is up
Chocolate bars (about one for every five people), or any similar prizes, are needed.
Select three judges, give them time to design a points system to award prizes. Points should be awarded for originality and persuasiveness.
Each participant comes before the judges, one by one, and tries to convince them that s/he deserves a chocolate bar.
Do in writing; make an improvisation where the judges are bribed, etc.
G.15. Who's Missing
Small prizes, such as sweets, can be used for this game (optional).
The group is seated, at random around the room; one person, A, goes out.
The group moves around, changing places, and one more person, B, leaves by the other door, or hides.
A returns and has 20 seconds to guess who’s missing. If s/he does s/he wins (a small sweet, if you wish to give prizes), if s/he doesn’t, B wins.
Add consequences/forfeits for the loser (usually: actions to do).
G.16. Adverb Game
A rule game that can be puzzling and funny, or a good warm-up for a main activity.
One volunteer leaves the room, others choose an adverb, e.g., “slowly.”
When s/he returns he must find out what the adverb is by asking people to do things “that way,” e.g., “Shake hands that way” (so they would shake hands very slowly). If a member doesn’t want to, or can’t do what s/he says, he or she should therefore say, “I don’t want to,” very slowly.
After each command the volunteer makes a guess at the word; s/he can continue until s/he guesses - or gives up.
Leader calls out adverbs, e.g., “nervously,” and everyone moves around the
room that way. (This is good as a link or warm-up activity, before moving into an
active game, or drama.)
You’ll have to agree on boundaries for this game: some people will go to any lengths to avoid being caught by the Blob!
The Blob begins as a sole individual, playing a game of tag.
As soon as s/he catches someone, s/he joins hands with him or her. Now the new person part of the Blob, too, and they both set out, hand in hand, in search of victims. Everyone the Blob catches (only the outside hand on either end of the Blob can snatch at players) joins hands with it and becomes part of the lengthening protoplasmic chain.
And the Blob keeps growing.
The Blob can also split itself into parts and organize raiding parties on the one few who have managed to escape.
The thrilling climax occurs when there’s only one player left to put up a heroic last-ditch stand.
G.19. Prui Prui
This is a very gentle, fun crystallization game that speeds up as it goes.
Everyone stands in a group, closes their eyes, and starts milling about, looking for the Prui, who doesn't talk. Explain all the rules about seeking and joining up with the Prui.
When players bump into someone, they should shake his/her hand and ask, “Prui?” once.
If the other person asks “Prui?” back, then he or she has not found the Prui. [If there is no answer, the person is to repeat the question, to make sure.]
Keeping their eyes closed, each person moves on and finds another person to ask.
When everybody is bumping about, shaking hands, with strains of “Prui? Prui? Prui?” floating around the crowd, the leader whispers to one of the players that s/he is the Prui and how to play to the end.
The Prui is a sighted person, s/he opens his/her eyes, but must remain mute.
When someone bumps into him or her, and shakes their hand, asking gently, "Prui?" there will be no response. If this happens, players should ask a second time, to make sure: “Prui?” If there is still no answer, Eureka, the player has found the Prui at last!
Now the finder can open his or her eyes – becoming part of the Prui, too, and holding the Prui’s hand. When someone bumps into the new partner, s/he can shake with whichever hand is free, but not respond to the question. That’s how the Prui grows!
Players can only shake the Prui’s hand at either end, so if a player bumps into two clasped hands, he or she will know that the Prui is somewhere in the middle. To join the Prui, he or she should feel their way to the end of the group.
Soon enough, everybody’s happily holding hands, except one or two lost souls groping their way along the line of bodies. When the last stray joins up and opens his/her eyes, the smiling Prui usually breaks the silence by letting out a spontaneous cheer.
G.20. Laughing Chain
For relaxation in a happy atmosphere, this is an activity that can keep group members connected in a busy evening when they have been doing things separately - and especially towards the conclusion.
Have the group lie on the floor so that each person’s head is on another’s stomach.
Tell the person at the top of the chain to begin laughing.
Watch the laughter spread.
G.21. Musical Hat
With the group seated in a circle, a hat is passed (quickly) or thrown from hand to hand. At a given signal from the leader, whoever is holding the hat has to sing a song.
All sorts of additions to this game are possible.
If the group comes from a variety of countries they should sing one of their national songs; if they do not know each other well, they could choose to sing a song which they think describes their personality in some way.
After a verse (or a few lines only for the more shy participants) the whole group should join in the song – or learn it if it is unfamiliar to them.
After each song, the hat is rotated again.
G.22. Catch the Dragon's Tale
Choose a good-sized area for this event, clear of obstacles, such as trees.
About eight to ten people line up, one behind the other. Now everyone puts their arms around the waist of the person in front. The last person in line tucks a handkerchief in the back of his or her belt.
To work up steam, the dragon might want to let out a few roars!
At the signal, the dragon begins chasing its own tail, the object being for the person at the head of the line to snatch the handkerchief. The tricky part of this epic struggle is that the people at the front and the people at the end are clearly competing – but the folks in the middle aren’t sure which way to go.
When the head finally captures the tail, who’s the victor and who’s the defeated? Everyone! The head dons the handkerchief and becomes the new tail, while second from the front becomes the new head.
Two dragons trying to catch each other’s tails is formidable – and also a great game.
G.23. Story Chain
This game can be used very effectively for creating a particular mood within the group, as preparation for an activity.
The leader should start to tell a story – with a dramatic opening, if the group is full of energy - or a quieter, more descriptive start, for the end of the day’s activities.
After a few lines, a member of the group continues the narration, until everyone has had a turn and the story is concluded.
G. 26 Snake in the Grass
The leader asks for a volunteer to be the starter snake and outlines the physical area of the game. The snake then lies down on the ground on his or her stomach. Everybody else gathers fearlessly round to touch him. (One finger will suffice – you don’t want to get too close to a snake.)
When the leader shouts “Snake in the grass!” everybody runs, keeping within the bounds of the snake area, while the snake, moving on his belly, tries to tag as many as he can. Those touched become snakes, too. The atmosphere gets even better if all the snakes are hissing.
Non-snakes run bravely around in the snake-infested area, trying to avoid being caught. (For your own sake and the snake’s sake, take off your shoes and watch out for snake-fingers.)
The last person caught is the starter snake in the next game.
G. 27 Hug Tag
This variation on classical tag is a perfect example of how to turn an old game into a new one, with positive energies helping group members connect, support each other and express togetherness.
The game is played by whatever rules the leader prefers, but with one exception – the only time a player is safe is when s/he’s hugging another player.
After playing for a while, make the game a little more communal, by stating that only three people hugging are safe.
Then four, five… everyone.
G. 28. Amoeba Race
A fun game with cooperation and competition, to keep the group on its toes!
The leader explains to the group how to create an amoeba:
First, you’ll need a lot of protoplasm, a cell wall, and a nucleus.
- Protoplasmic people should be those who don’t mind being close.
- Those who like to contain themselves (and others) would make a good cell wall. They should surround the protoplasm, facing outward, and link elbows.
- Someone with good eyesight and the ability to keep on top of things should be the nucleus, seated on some shoulders of the protoplasm.
Now you are an amoeba!
- Try a trip down a field, or around the block. A rhythmic chant might be helpful for coordinating movements. (What sort of sound does a one-celled creature make?)
- Now try a little cell division. Pull yourself in two, hoist up a second nucleus, and see which amoeba gets to the other end of the field first.
G. 29. Pina
One person takes a deep breath and begins walking around the circle, tapping everyone on the head and saying “Pina.” The idea is to get back to your place before taking another breath.
Success in this game will depend as much on the size of the circle, as it does on a person's lung capacity!
G. 30. Islands
In this game, the object is to avoid making contact with anyone and to stay in as long as possible.
Place a few objects (purses, books, etc.) on the ground and have everyone start dancing around them while clapping and chanting or singing.
When the leader signals “Islands,” everyone runs to touch one of the objects. The last person to get to one is out.
If any two people touch in the process of scrambling for the objects, they’re both out of the game.
As the group gets smaller, reduce the number of objects until there are only a few people ready to pounce on a single one.
Another version is simply to see how many people can touch a
single small object, without touching each other.
G. 31. Vampire
To start, everyone closes their eyes (vampires roam only at night) and begins to mill around. The leader should keep participants from colliding with anything but warm, living flesh and explain that if they get caught by the vampire they will be transformed into one, too.
However, participants can’t trust the leader to protect them from the consequences: the leader will surreptitiously notify one of them that he/she is the vampire and explain how to play this role.
Like everyone else, the vampire keeps his/her eyes closed, but when s/he bumps into someone else, there’s a difference. S/he snatches the person and lets out a bloodcurdling scream. He or she, no doubt, does the same… (The vampire would be advised to avoid leaving telltale marks on the necks of her victims.)
The quality of the vampire's performance depends solely on the authenticity with which s/he executes his/her "snatch and scream".
Any victim of the vampire, becomes a vampire, too. Once the victim has regained composure, he or she goes back on the prowl, seeking new victims.
However, the game will not quickly degenerate into an all-monster convention - for when two vampires "feast" on each other, they are transformed back into ordinary mortals. The question is whether the vampires end up neutralizing each other before all mortals are tainted by the bloodsucking scourge!!
Why not try a little experiment and see? There’s always hope even in the midst of a bloodcurdling crowd.
This random game can be used to see how the crystallized group feels in a competitive environment, to help them assess whether they respect and trust each other in any situation .
Cut out pieces of paper equal to the number of people in the group. If there are more than ten, break into several groups and sit on the floor in circles, explaining the rules of the game.
On one piece of paper in each group, place an X (murderer). Fold all the papers. Each person picks one piece, without letting on if they received the X.
The person getting the X is the "murderer" and begins killing off people by winking at them. The object is for the "murderer" to eliminate as many people as possible without being identified.
A person who is “murdered” must wait a few seconds and then fall over “dead.” S/he is then out of the game.
If someone who is “alive” thinks s/he knows the murderer, s/he can “accuse,” but only if s/he has actually seen the murderer winking at someone. A false accusation eliminates the accuser.
How do you feel playing this game?
Do you trust each other?
Are you a group?
G.33. Skin the Snake
You can play this game as a cooperative exercise, but it’s also a great game to play competitively, as a race between two teams (boys/girls…).
The more the players discover about the fine points of the game, the faster they’ll get, and vice versa ad infinitum – or at least ad Olympium.
Each team should have about 20 to 25 players, lined up one behind the other. Members then reach between their legs with their left hands and grab the right hand of the person behind them. Meanwhile, the person in front of them is reaching back to grab their right hand (which they should offer). Once the chain is formed, they're set to go.
At the starting signal, the last person in line lies down on his/her back. The person in front of him/her backs up, straddling his/her body, and lies down on his/her back right behind him/her. (Everyone is all still holding hands, of course.) This continues as the whole team waddles backwards down the growing line of prone bodies and slips into place.
When the last person to lie down has touched his/her head to the ground, s/he gets up and starts forward again, pulling everyone else up and along. What just got done gets quickly undone as everyone “Skins the Snake.”
When the last person is back on her/his feet and everyone is in the original chain, still holding hands, get set to run. The winner is the first team that gets all its members across the point where the head of the line started.
If anyone breaks hands during any part of this process, you must stop, go back to that point, and reconnect before proceeding.
Here are some initial pointers:
Players will be less likely to trip over their team-mates if they all take off their shoes.
When the line is backing up to lie down, they should bunch close together so they’re all touching.
To lie down, they should get as close as they can to the person in front and put their feet close to his/her side with toes pointed in. (Some people think it’s better to hook one's feet around and on top of the person in front - check this out, first.)
In the split-second timing, the players at both ends of the line become all important. The last person to lie down should touch his/her head to the ground for just an instant, roll back up, and start pulling, being careful not to break the chain. The last person to get up has to be fast and agile and have a really good grip.
Should the lightest players be at the ends, or in the middle? Let the group to experiment with this…
G. 34. Centering
Have group members choose partners. They now sit back to back, legs straight out in front and interlock their arms.
Pushing against each other’s backs, they now try to stand up together as one unit. The only way to do this is to find their common center.
G.35. Photo Match Up
A good introductory game for a group at a second or third meeting – or fun for the evening!
Ask all participants to bring an old picture of themselves to the session. Mix up the snapshots. Everybody guesses who is whom.
G. 36. Questions & Answers
Make a "computer" from a large box. Cut out a monitor space and a slit in the box on either side. Decorate with magic markers.
The leader puts his or her head inside the computer.
Half the group makes up questions and the whole group holds on to them afterwards. At the same time, the other half makes up answers (the sillier the better) and they place them inside the computer.
In turn, each participant slips a question through the slot to the leader, who reads the question aloud in a simulator voice. The leader then slips out an answer from the stack of answers - without reading it and the participant reads the answer aloud. (Or the participant reads the question and the computer reads out the answer.)
Laugh a lot!
G. 37. Machines
A non-verbal, physical crystallization game to create atmosphere, dissolve tensions.The leader acts a kind of orchestra conductor to keep it going.
One person begins the machine with a mechanical movement and appropriate sound.
Another person attaches to him or her and adds a movement/sound. The chain begins to move along.
Members continue joining the machine, using sounds and movements as they go through space.
If there are too many people for one machine, the leader can divide the group into several machines and have them meet each other and interact.
G. 38. Teacher
A dynamic theme game for group sizes up to 20.
The group forms a circle and the leader explains he/she is the teacher, the guru, or wise man/woman.
The Teacher/guru throws a ball, pencil or any small object to someone in the circle.
The second person becomes the Teacher and has to tell all s/he knows about Jerusalem, shoes, a wall, the sky, Shabbat, a candle, etc.
Have each person in the group assume the role of Teacher.
G. 39. Computers
A creative and hilarious crystallization or thematic evening game.
Divide the group into subgroups of four or five participants, each of which is now a computer. Have them stand quietly in semi-circles, facing the “programmer.”
The “programmer” operates one of the computers by saying the first word of a sentence. The component parts of the same computer respond by creating the rest of the sentence, one word per person. The sentence is ended by one component saying “period,” “question mark,” etc.
The process is repeated with each of the other "computers".
G. 40. Scavenger Hunt
The leader divides the group into small groups.
Each group makes a list of 10 items for another group to find (scavenge) around the neighborhood, or the premises.
The leader should make a copy of all these lists before arranging for groups to exchange lists. Groups have to return with what has been scavenged (30 minutes for on the premises; longer for the neighborhood).
The leader chooses one object from each group and the members have two minutes to prepare an improvisational skit around it (for each group in turn).
Points out of 5 are awarded for each find by a panel of leaders/one person from each group (members are not allowed to vote on their own group's finds).
G. 41. Middle Man
Have three volunteers sit together in a row, but close to the rest of the group.
The person in the middle converses continuously with the person on his right and the person on his left, who have each selected two subjects to talk on.
The "middleman" or woman has to keep the talk going and is involved in both conversations simultaneously.
G. 42. Orchestra
Working together to the best of one's ability and accepting leadership is like making music. This game is a great outlet for energy and enhances the dynamics of working together.
Have the group sit in a circle, or in an orchestral formation. The leader chooses a conductor.
Everyone creates a sound and rhythm using voice and/or hands, feet, etc., which the conductor orchestrates.
G. 43. Acronyms
This is a good activity for collective effort – as well as for review - in a longer programme.
The leader asks a volunteer to make up a sentence about something the group has seen, done or heard that day and tells the group the first letter of each word.
The group asks questions to which the volunteer may answer "yes" or "no". The questions may refer when, where, the number of times a letter appears in the sentence, and whether the letter stands for a noun or verb.
The group may also be divided into teams to collaborate on guesses and score should be kept.
G. 44. Singing
How to create a singalong in a bus, or in between activities.
A good way of arousing lively singing is first to ask people to come up with songs of different countries, in different languages. Most of the foreign language songs known to people are popular folk songs that are probably known to all, or at least several people in the group.
Each person who thinks of a song is called to the front of the bus/group to sing. Those who know the song join in.
In cases where someone comes up with an unusual tune or an unknown one – well, the solo performance is either going to be good or very funny.
G. 45. Song Charades
The leader divides the bus/group down the middle into two teams.
A slip of paper with a Hebrew or English song is passed down one side of the bus/group and the team acts out the title of the song. When twenty people act out the words, they will all progress at different rates!
The other team has to guess the song within three minutes and begin singing.
Suggestions to start off with:
Blowing in the Wind; Hineh Mah Tov uma Naim; I Want to Hold
Your Hand; If I had a Hammer; Hatishma Koli; Boi – Tni li Yad
Venelech; Hit Me Baby One More Time; Murder on the Dance Floor
H. Hebrew Games
H.2. When I Went to Israel
The leader asks all the participants to sit in a circle.
The first person (or the leader) says:
(When I went to Israel, I took with me…)
and supplies the name of an object in Hebrew.
The next person in the circle repeats the sentence, saying what the first person took and adding an object of his/her own.
Continue around the circle.
H.3. Shinui Shinui
The leader gives each person in the circle a word, or a number in Hebrew.
A volunteer is asked to stand blindfolded in the middle of the circle and be the tag.
The leader calls out two of the participants’ Hebrew words. Those two have to switch seats without being tagged by the blindfolded person.
When the leader calls out “Shinui, shinui,” all participants must move to another seat without being tagged.
Any person who is tagged gets into the middle and is blindfolded and a new round is played.
Use Hebrew or English names.
H.4. Name Game
This game is played sitting in a circle.
The first person says his/her name in Hebrew and a Hebrew adjective which begins with the same first letter as his/her name.
The next participant says the name before his/hers and adds his/hers, and so on, around the circle.
H.5. Israeli Hopscotch
The leader prepares a hopscotch board on the sidewalk with chalk. In each block the leader or participants write a Hebrew word.
When playing Hoscotch, each participant who lands on a word must say the word and translate.
This can be done with expressions, names of places, numbers, etc.
H.6. Hebrew Clothes Relay
The leader splits the group in half and lines the participants up into two lines at the front of the room with two bags full of clothes (for which there should be a list in Hebrew!).
The leader now calls out the Hebrew name of an article of clothing. The first member of each team runs up to the bag of clothes, takes out the appropriate article, dons it, and repeats the Hebrew word, returning the garment to the bag.
The team that returns the clothing to the bag first gets a point.
The leader proceeds to call out the next Hebrew name.
Read statements in Hebrew which reflect personal opinions; e.g.,
(Diaspora Jews should go on aliyah to Israel)
Participants who agree stand up, those who disagree remain seated.
The difficulty of the statements can be varied according to the group’s knowledge of Hebrew.
H.8. Find Your Partner
The leader hands out cards to each participant, with half of a Hebrew expression.
Participants mill around trying to find another person with a word that fits their part of the expression.
H.9. Find Your Partner (Variation)
Group members get cards with half a phrase. The leader calls out words.
When a member has a suitable word s/he calls it out and gets a card (one point).
The person with the most points wins.
H.10. Homa Umigdal
All participants tap two fingers continuously on the table (or if in a bus, on the seat) in front of them. (The group as a whole is now making the sound of pitter-patter).
The leader faces the group and taps his/her fingers as well. When s/he chooses s/he calls out either “homa” or “migdal.”
Upon hearing the word “homa,” participants place their hands on the table one foot apart from each other, palms facing each other.
When the leader calls out “migdal,” participants place two closed fists on the table, one on top of the other.
After a word is called out all return to tapping their fingers on the table.
The leader also tries to confuse the group by calling out a name and making the wrong sign with his/her hands. Anyone who makes the wrong sign for “migdal” or “homa” is out.
H.11. Aleph to Taf
The leader calls out the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Anyone in the group can call out a word in Hebrew that starts with aleph. The first person to call out a word gets a point.
The game continues that way throughout the alphabet.
The game may be played in categories, e.g., names, food, places, fruit and vegetables.
The leader prepares beforehand a list of words commonly found in Hebrew songs, e.g.,
The group is split into teams of 6-10 and they sit separate circles in the room.
The leader calls out a word and the first group sings a song with that word in it.
Once the first song is sung, the leader calls on the next group with the same word, and so on, until the groups don’t have any more songs to sing.
The last team to sing a song gets a point.
The leader goes on to the next word until songs with that word are exhausted, etc.
Scoring can take many forms. E.g., if the whole team knows the song, more points are gained. If only one or a few, fewer or no points are given.
Alternatively, each team scores one point for every song sung.
H.13. Etz, Pri, Perach
The group leader walks around the inside of the circle and points to one of the players and says either “Etz, Pri, Perach… Pri”; “Etz, Pri, Perach… Perach”; or “Etz, Pri, Perach… Etz.”
The leader then begins to count to five. The player must name either a fruit, a flower or a tree, depending on what the last word was, either pri, perach or etz respectively. If s/he manages this, s/he becomes the game leader. (Only flowers, fruits or trees found in Israel are allowed.)
Use another three groups of words (i.e., mispar, ot, shem -number, letter, name). This should also be played in Hebrew.
The game is played sitting in a circle and needs to be run at a fast pace.
The leader first reviews the Hebrew numbers from one to one hundred.
The first player begins to count; each player counts one number aloud, in Hebrew, but the seventh player does not say seven, s/he says “buzz.” Every time a number has a seven in it, “buzz” is substituted for the seven (i.e., buzzesray).
Any player who makes a mistake is eliminated.
Substitute “buzz” for all sevens and multiples of seven.
In addition to using “buzz,” use “fizz” for the number five.
I. Map Games
I.2. Line Up
The leader passes out a card with the name of a place in Israel to each participant.
The group has 30 seconds to line up from north to south.
The leader then calls out the names in order to see if the line is right.
Use first names and line up alphabetically, ages, etc.
I.3. Pin Jerusalem on the Map
The game is the same as “pin the tail on the donkey,” but in this variation, participants locate the city of Jerusalem on the map of Israel.
Pin Israel on a map of the world, or locate a different city within Israel.
I.4. Map Puzzle
Cut up fairly large maps of Israel into puzzle-shaped pieces. For each map create one group and see how quickly each group can put its puzzle together.
Each group must put the map/puzzle together nonverbally.
I.5. Place the City
This game is to be played without consultation between participants, even if not in total silence.
The leader prepares the outline of the borders of Israel on the floor of a large room with masking (duck) tape. The map should be about the size of half the room.
Participants are each given one or more picture postcards (or simply a card) with the name of a place in Israel, and a short time together to walk around the map and place their postcard(s) on the appropriate spot non-verbally.
After all the postcards are placed, participants stand and look at the map for a minute without talking. Then they have another minute to return to the map and still without talking, move any postcards they think were misplaced.
Following this, the leader hangs up a large map of Israel and points out the different places, while each chanich puts his/her postcards in the proper place.
I.6. My Map
This activity may be done on a weekly basis, or once at the end of the trip to recall places and experiences. In class or community, this is a useful review exercise.
Participants are given a worksheet showing the borders of Israel, with nothing else indicated. They should draw or write on the map their recollections and feelings about the different places they have studied or visited.
This map or maps become a running record of the participants' feedback, or experiences.
I.7. Talking Postcards
A creative review activity.
Toward the end of the trip or educational program, the leader gives out a picture postcard to each participant of a place in Israel they have studied or visited.
All the participants have a couple of minutes to write an advertisement for that place on the back. Why is that site unique? (Participants can write about experiences that happened to the group, historical facts, the place's religious importance, impressions, etc.)
The leader collects up the cards and distributes them again in random order. Each person now reads one to group.
A fun idea is then to “auction” the postcards/places off, according to the descriptions.
Read the “advertisement” while the postcard is resting on a table and see if the group
can guess which site is described.
The winner is the group member whose card stumped the group.
I.8. Israeli Postman
A variation of fruit bowl and other place exchange games.
For this game, the group should be sitting on chairs in a circle.
Each of the participants chooses the name of an Israeli city. The cities selected are written on the blackboard or on poster paper.
One person is chosen to be in the middle and s/he removes his/her chair from the circle. The person in the middle is the “postman.”
The postman then announces the arrival of a letter from city X to city Y.
The two players using those cities’ names must exchange seats without letting the postman sit down on one of their chairs.
The player left without a seat becomes the new postman and the game continues.
To add a little extra excitement, allow the postman to announce a “special delivery”;
all the players must exchange seats at once.
Instead of using just the names of cities in Israel, you can use: moshavim, kibbutzim,
geographical regions (e.g., the Negev, Galil, etc.), mountains, etc….
The leader starts by naming a city, state, country, river or lake beginning with the letter A (Afula). http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/PLACES/places.html
The first player must name a city…. etc., beginning with the last letter of the previously named word (Acre).
The second player must then name a city…. etc. beginning with the last letter of the last named place (i.e., Eilat).
The game continues in this fashion. Any player unable to give a name is eliminated.
The last players remaining “in” are the winners.
Instead of all places, use only places in Israel or use things associated with Chagim.
J.4. Famous Jewish Personalities
As the group members walk into a room, the leader attaches an index card to each one’s back or forehead with tape, bearing the name of a Jewish personality.
Participants walk around the room asking each other yes or no questions about the person whom they represent.
Afterwards, the group sits in a circle and the leader asks each person to identify his/her character and tell what he or she has learned about him/her.
Suggestions for characters:
Abraham, Bella Abzug, Shalom Aleichem, Woody Allen, Shulamit Aloni,
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Menachem Begin, David Ben Gurion, Leonard Bernstein, Rachel (Bluwstein) the poetess, Mel Brooks,
Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein,
Anne Frank, Sigmund Freud,
Emma Goldman, A.D. Gordon,
Theodore Herzl, Emma Lazarus,
Karl Marx, Golda Meir, Bette Midler, Chaim Potok,
Mark Spitz, Henrietta Szold,
Chaim Weizmann, Elie Wiesel, etc.
J.5. Jewish Expressions Relay Race
Sentences or Expressions can be Jewish expressions from history, simple questions, or statements on any Jewish topic.
The leader plits group into teams of 5. Scrambled Jewish expressions are given to each group: they have to unscramble their sentence and bring the completed sentence to the judges, where they receive a new sentence to unscramble.
1. He who saves one life is like one who saves the entire world. (Sanhedrin 4:5)
2. Man is his own worst enemy. (Bereishit Rabbah)
3. Suicide is equivalent to murder. (Pesikta Rabbah 24)
4. If I am not for myself who will be for me? And if I am only for myself what am I? And if not now, when? (Ethics of the Fathers)
5. Rabbi Gamliel said: Acquire for thyself a teacher. (Ethics of the Fathers)
6. Hillel said: Separate not yourself from the community.
7. Don’t judge your fellow man until you are in his place. (Ethics of the Fathers)
8. The Land of Milk and Honey
9. If you will it, it is no dream. (Herzl)
10. We’ve come to Israel to build and to be rebuilt.
J.6. Pass the Symbol
Participants each choose a Jewish symbol.
In the first round, each person states his or her symbol.
In the next round, one person starts by saying his or her symbol and that of any other group member. The group member who hears his/her symbol called should repeat their symbol and that of someone else.
Can be done completely nonverbally.
Each person picks a physical movement as his/her symbol.
J.7. Find Your Other Half
The leader hands out index cards with half the name of a famous Jewish person written on them, (prepare cards of the exact number of participants) and participants have to find their "other half".
Once they have done so, each couple talks about their characters and discusses what they know about him/her.
Finally, they have to present something about that character to the group as a whole, such as a one-minute speech, song or skit, or a letter they would have written.
J.8. Word Find
Pencils and paper are required for each group member.
The leader calls out words on a Jewish theme (long words are better: Enlightenment, Jerusalem, international, Nebuchadnezzar, etc.). Participants have an agreed-upon time limit to make as many new words as possible. The object is to find words that no one else has listed.
The leader then picks one participant to read out his/her words. The group crosses out any words mentioned that they have written down.
J.9. Word Chain
The leader chooses a word on a Jewish theme.
The next person in the circle says another word, beginning with the last letter of the previous word, with the objective of remaining with the same Jewish theme.
J.10. Jewish Telephone
The leader whispers a Jewish expression into the ear of the next participant in the circle.
The participant whispers it to the next group member, etc.
See if the same expression is repeated by the last person in line.
J.11. Jewish Objects
The leader splits groups up into small teams sitting around a table, with a pencil and paper.
The leader announces the name of a Jewish object (e.g., menorah, kippah) – this can be done from a hat, if preferred. He or she asks participants to think up creative ways they would use the object.
The teams list their ideas, and afterwards they are sifted out together.
The leader and the group now look for which ideas were: the most original, funny, functional, etc.
This activity may be used after other symbols activities to review what is important to the group.
The leader asks the participants in a round:
“If you had to take only one symbol of Judaism with you before the end of the world, what would you take?”
The leader asks each group member to explain why he or she picked a particular item.
J.14. Shiriah (Variation)
The leader splits the group into two or three teams.
He or she calls out a (Hebrew) word on a Jewish theme.
The first group sings a song with that word in it.
The second group goes next, and so on until they can’t think of any more songs.
The last group to think of a song gets a point.
The leader then calls out another word.
Use Hebrew words, Hebrew songs, or a combination of Hebrew and English.
The leader prepares a Jewpardy board. (See example). Participants are split into two teams.
A representative from Team 1 chooses a category and a level of difficulty.
The leader turns over the card and reads out the question on back.
If the participant answers correctly, his/her team receives the number of points on that card.
If not, the card is turned over until someone else answers it.
Each person in each team should have a turn to answer a question.
Sample Jewpardy Board
Jewish Holidays Jewish history Jewish Personalities Israel Bible
* 10 Which are the three Pilgrim Festivals? Pesach, Shavu’ot, Succot
* 20 In which city did Mordechai save the Jews from peril? Shushan
* 30 How many days do we celebrate Succot? Seven days in Israel
* 40 Which Jewish holiday is directly connected with the modern State of Israel? Yom Ha’atzma’ut; Yom Yerushalayim
* 50 Name the four names of Pesah. Zman Cheirutenu, Chag Ha’aviv, Chag Hamatzot, Chag Hapesach
* 10 Which period in Jewish history saw the death of the most Jews? Holocaust
* 20 On which mountain was the Torah given? Sinai
* 30 When was the Six Day War? June 1967
* 40 What was the fate of the Jews of Massada? They killed themselves.
* 50 In what years did the destruction of the First and Second Temples take place?
First: 586 B.C.E.; Second, 70 C.E.
* 10 Which great Jewish leader stuttered? Moses
* 20 Who wrote a diary of his/her experiences during the Holocaust, which later became a famous book? Anne Frank
* 30 Which Jew formulated the theory of relativity? Albert Einstein
* 40 Who was a Jewish Supreme Court judge? Louis Brandeis
* 50 Name the Jewish philosopher who was put under cherem (excommunicated) from Judaism. Spinoza
* 10 Who was the father of modern Zionism, a man whose actions helped to create the State of Israel? Theodor Herzl
* 20 Who was the first Prime Minister of Israel? David Ben Gurion
* 30 Name the country from which Jews were saved in Operation Magic Carpet. Yemen
* 40 Name five Israeli wars and give dates.
War of Independence 1948
Sinai Campaign 1956
Six-Day War 1967
Yom Kippur War 1973
Lebanon War 1982
* 50 Name the first kibbutz. Degania
* 10 Which character was turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back at Sodom and Gemorrah? Lot’s wife
* 20 Name the five Books of Moses. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
* 30 Who committed the first murder? Cain
* 40 From which city did Avraham come? Ur Casdim
* 50 Name the twelve sons of Ya'acob. Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, Issachar, Zevulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Joseph
J.17. College Bowl
Note: The leader should prepare a quiz which will suit the level of knowledge of each group.
The leader divides the group into two teams and reads out a question.
The first group to make the sound of a buzzer (leader can provide bells or buzzers) answers the question.
- If correct, the team gets ten points.
- If incorrect, the other team has ten seconds to answer. If they answer correctly, they get 5 points.
The team that finishes with the most points wins.
J.18. Line up By Jewish History
The leader gives each participant a card with the name of a landmark event in Jewish history and the dates of the event.
Participants have an allocated amount of time to line up from the earliest to the latest date.
After the line-up, participants read off their cards and their dates.
Timelines can be found here http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/timelines.html
Israeli Independence 1948
Capture of Eichmann 1960
The Six Day War 1967
The Yom Kippur War 1973
Operation Yonatan (Entebbe) 1976
Sadat Comes to Jerusalem 1977
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty 1979
The Lebanon War 1982
Operation Moses 1984
Exodus from the USSR 1990-1991
Operation Solomon 1991
The Oslo Accords 1993
Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty 1994
Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin 1995
Centennial Zionist Congress 1997
Israel's Jubilee 1998
K.2. Draw Body on Brown Paper
An experienced moderator should be responsible for running this exercise. It is initially very private, but also helps people to get to know one another on a more than superficial level and will develop a group sense.
This game is good for a group who will be spending 3-4 weeks, or longer, in one place, e.g.., kibbutz, a camp. This game can later be repeated weekly, before another activity, allowing 30 minutes each time.
Recommended as an evening program activity, with a relaxed atmosphere, soft music and lighting.
All participants receive a 2 meter (or longer) sheet of brown packing paper and are asked to pair up with a friend, so that they can trace each other’s body outline on a sheet of brown packing paper. (This is done by having the participant lie down on the floor while his or her partner traces his or her body outline on the paper.)
Put on soft music and supply crayons. Ask the participants to draw into the outline their feelings and experiences.
The moderator goes around the room and asks each person explain what s/he drew (without feedback).
Participants draw their outlines and fill them in weekly, but explain their drawings
only in the first and last session.
K.3. Road Map
An experienced moderator should be responsible for running this exercise, as there will be private moments and shared ones which might be sensitive.
A large sheet of paper per person and pencil, or felt-tip pen, are required.
Each person is asked to make a road map of his or her life so far, beginning with birth and extending to the present. Each map should somehow show the good places (either scenic, or open road) or the bad places (bumpy spots, etc.), hospital (road works, etc.). Participants shoud also include barriers, detours, and the general direction of their present course.
Each participant then compares his or her life’s past course with an imagined future, i.e., goals, etc.
- What are these goals
- How will they be achieved?
- What has made the good spots?
The moderator goes around the room and asks each person explain what s/he drew (without feedback).
1. Participants may extend the road map into the future (conjecture, daydreams)
2. They may construct lists of positive and negative problems and events, for which they will need to decide on points system, to help them evaluate their life.
3. The group can role play passing detours, etc.
M.20. Pot Luck
(Adjustment – role play)
The leader asks pairs of participants to write down (anonymously) on separate slips of paper the top one or two problems they anticipate that group members might face with others in their life, after the program/group winds up. [Hint: Studies, home, community, new environment, different friends…] They should fold up the slips and to place them in a hat or bowl.
A volunteer is asked to shuffle the papers and the leader hands one slip to each group member. To address problems, the leader asks members to form pairs, or groups of three. If someone receives a problem that he or she put into the hat, a substitute slip is given and the original placed back in the hat. If someone receives a problem that is very similar, the same applies.
Each pair (triad) now has two (three) problems to address and is allowed five minutes to prepare each one. The task is to discuss how best to resolve the issue and present it in a role play. Both topics should be addressed and role plays prepared.
One partner will role-play the group leaver, and the other will be the person with whom they interact. They should try this both ways, to get maximum inputs. For the presentation, they will need to act out the problem and their idea of how the group member should address it, after it presents. In a triad, the actual role-play is conducted in the small group, while third person plays the observer and will report to the entire group on the different ideas brought forward, the investment of effort, the degree of satisfaction and success in this process.
For each public role play, or discussion, the topic is presented by those who addressed it. No interruptions or criticism is allowed. If similar topics arose, all related role plays should be presented in sequence, without discussion.
Discussion should address whether there are other inputs which might contribute to resolution and how members felt about playing the role of someone outside the group. After 5 or 6 role plays, the group needs a break.
The final discussion should relate to the interaction between group members and others in their environment, and the best modes or ideas for addressing problems: What happens when one side is interested in adjustment, but not the other side; how members can convey needs; what happens when both sides try to work it out.
Finally, review whether this exercise has given members the opportunity to address their concerns and if it has helped them practically, boosted their self-confidence.
L. Simulation Games
L.2. New Society Game
This is a fantasy game which could be about the group norms, cliques, special needs, immigration, or any other topic where there is a majority and the "other", or an outsider minority – and how to create constructive outcomes. Note that the "other" is represented by a pair, to reduce stress that can be produced in these situations, even when imaginary.
The simulation requires experienced observation and management, as it is really about the impact of accepting, ignoring, or even rejecting "others" transplanted into a group, with different behavior codes and languages from themselves. A review of the host side of the game will help host groups understand these processes; listening to the guinea pigs will debrief them and allow the group look at options to modify group behavior with new members, or personal behavior when engaging in a new environment.
Age: 14 and over
Number of participants: 60 or over
Leader (one per sub-group)
Overall moderator – if necessary possible without
Time: At least one hour, 30 minutes to play, 30 minutes for discussion.
Split group into 3 or 4 sub-groups of equal numbers; each group should have at least 20 participants. It is preferable that each group should be in a separate, adjoining room; if this is not possible, make sure the groups cannot hear each other.
Tell the entire group that they are setting up a new society. Make it absolutely clear, and constantly reinforce the rule that there is to be no talking.
Each group needs to come up with a new language, but it can only be a sign language:
- They need signs for: yes, no, will you play my game. (The signs should be as imaginative as possible.)
- They also need 1-3 (depending on the size of the group) simple, non-verbal games (e.g., slapping a partner’s hands). These games should be for 3-4 players.
Each sub-group works separately.
Once the games and signs are decided upon, get each group on its feet and moving around, “talking” to each other and playing their games.
When all the groups are playing smoothly, the moderator starts pulling out a couple of participants from each group and putting them into another group, telling them to join in for two minutes. The leader should observe what happens in each group.
After two minutes, the two guinea pigs can return to their groups and join in with their own group.
This process is repeated several times, depending on the size of the groups and how the game is going. If it is going well, transplanted participants can remain in their host groups.
Stop the game after about 10-15 minutes and ask everyone to return to his or her original group.
* To each group as a host:
How did they feel about the first "guests" they received?
What happened with them and did this change as the game went on?
How did they behave towards these new people in the group – and did this change as the game went on?
Do they think the new people were able to join in, and why?
* To the participants who were "transplanted":
How did they feel?
Did they feel more inclined to try and join in (assimilate) or to stay with the person from their own group?
What did they try out and did it work?
Was their a difference between the first and later "guests"?
Was there an affinity between outsiders from different groups?
• To what situations can this experience be applied?
[Issues of assimilation/integration vs. separatism, tolerance and acceptance of the other.]
• The leader chooses one situation to explore with the group.
Problems of Aliyah, e.g., language barriers, different culture;
Problems of Diaspora life – the reaction of a host society to newcomers;
Problems of Antisemitism and tolerance.
Israel Independence Day - Activities
Introduce the characters in the discussion and make them meaningful to the participants.
Similar to all the picture pool triggers where participants choose an item with which they can identify and present it.
Pool of role cards and photos of Israeli youth from Israeli magazines, arranged separately on a central table.
• Explain that participants are going to be introduced to a group of young Israelis.
• Have everyone browse through the characters and pick the one with whom they most identify and a photo which seems to resemble that character.
• Go round the group giving everyone a chance to say: "This is Yael/Beni. I chose her/him because...."
• It is important to keep answers short and the participants interested. If necessary, the moderator can add non-commital, but encouraging comments, like: "Our first Tami" or "Another David"... or even to suggest choosing another character...
• Interesting to see which characters get chosen most or least...
Understand and explore the characters from a non-Israeli starting point.
Invest a sense of encounter with young Israelis and enable participants to feel at ease with them.
Role play with the Israeli character bouncing off the members of your group.
Role sheets [Identity Cards]
Pencils and paper
• Divide the group into two. One half of the group is allocated a selection of Identity Cards and each person has to study the role. In the other half of the group, everyone has to jot down a few details about themselves to make a short autobiography.
• Sit the group in two concentric, facing circles, so that everyone has a partner. Each pair has to get to know each other by asking questions, starting from name, family, hobbies... Allow 2 minutes.
Now ask the inner circle to move around one seat to the left and the outer circle to move around one seat to the right, so that new pairs are formed. There should be a really brief introduction to each other, with partners having to respond to the issue of what Israel Independence Day means to them. Allow enough time to discuss it briefly.
• Bring everyone together and review how this went - generally, then specifically:
How did people feel playing an Israeli? playing themselves?
How do we get to know others? How do we make friends - what do
we need to have in common?
How did we handle our differences?
Did our reaction to the other person change as we learned more about them?
Did knowledge bring a sense of empathy, closeness or feelings of distance?
Enter Israeli characters to greater depth.
Stimulate a discussion in role to explore an Israeli age-peer group.
Explore attitudes to controversial issues.
Compare and contrast young people in both societies.
Each self-contained unit of Israelis plays out discussions on at least 3 of the 5 set dilemmas.
• Divide participants into groups of seven and hand out one set of role cards to each group. Participants choose their roles - not one they have previously played. The educator should check that this goes smoothly.
• Allow a minute or two for participants to refresh their memories about the make-up of their character. Each character presents him/herself to the others in their group.
• Distribute several copies of dilemma sheets [below] to each group. Ensure that the groups understand the dilemmas and explain that they are going to be allowed 3-4 minutes to discuss each one. In this time, the groups are to have everyone react to the issue under discussion and then debate freely as young Israelis.
If there are five groups, each group can prepare to stage a debate on one issue for the presentations. If there are only two or three groups, you can ask each group to pick one topic to present later on. Allow a few extra minutes to prepare presentations.
The educator should be alert for misunderstandings and misinterpreta- tions of role at this stage.
Note: Participants may have difficulty getting into role and starting up. If this happens, gently stop the presentation and ask them to remind everyone else who they are playing, add a few gentle directions and let them resume.
Use the other groups each time to see whether these were the only reactions to the issue before going on to examine whether young Jewish teenagers in the Diaspora are different or similar in outlook to Israelis and why.
Think about your own response to the dilemma and give everyone in your group a chance to state their view before you start a free discussion. Try to give reasons for your own position, in accordance with your role.
What do you think about the peace process as young Israelis?
[Hint: good/bad for Israel - in what way?
how is it paced?]
If territory is the price for peace, should Israel make concessions?
[Hint: will territorial concessions endanger Israel's
Which is more important - having the whole land of Eretz Yisrael or
having a smaller state where the majority of residents will be Jewish?
A new immigrant from [choose where from] has entered your class. How
will you relate to him or her?
[Hint: how do you feel about new immigrants, especially from
the US/former USSR/Romania/Ethiopia? Do you empathize with
Think of three major factors which can ensure the survival of the
[Hint: Hebrew language, State of Israel, teaching the
Shoa, Jewish traditions, Jewish education, serving in the IDF,
marrying another Jew, keeping kosher, observing Shabbat...]
Which of these seems least important?
To which of these are you committed as a young Israeli?
Commitment at 18?
Explore implications of community commitment at an age when most Israelis are going into the army.
Validate different approaches and attitudes.
Create a sense of shared destiny.
Use of a new selection of roles from the Diaspora; closed response options and interpretation of their significance.
Question sheet [see below]
Extra role cards [prepare these yourselves - ideas below!]
• Reconstitute groups by using the four extra roles to form groups of 12.
• In role, participants mark their choice of response.
• Whip round to see answers in your group.
• Bring everyone back together again.
• How did the new roles' responses tally with or differ from the Israeli responses?
Did the participants perceive different levels and types of commitment?
How did they relate in role to the concept of commitment to community - partial or total at age 18?
Did this have an impact on their perception of life in Israel and Israelis?
Were they open to discussing the concept of commitment in personal terms - what types of commitment were addressed and how did they relate to them? [Don't push this if they're not interested and ready!]
Did the discussion of commitment have any benefit for your group as young Jewish near-adults?
Below are a few different types of volunteer commitment a young Jewish person could make to his or her community at age 18. Which do you choose, in your role and why?
a. Once a month roster for outside services with car [meals on
wheels, transport for the handicapped].
b. One and a half hours weekly with special needs, invalids or
c. Half day per week [in the community center office, in a
Jewish school, in hospital wards with Jewish patients,
library or any community agency].
d. Youth and club leadership several times a week.
e. Full-time one-year volunteer in any community service or
agency [youth club, health & welfare, administration,
Mikhail came to Israel 3 years ago from Kiev, capital of the Ukraine. He is almost 18 and has one 11 year old sister. His parents were both doctors; here his father has retrained as an anaesthetist, while his mother has not been able to find work as a cardiologist in Haifa, where they live, so she works as a senior cardiac nurse. At home they speak Russian and Mikhail speaks good Hebrew - his parents less so.
Mikhail goes to a local high school, where he is most interested in mathematics and computer science. His hobbies are meeting his friends, going around together and working on his computer. He has a part-time job. He does not belong to any youth movement; he goes to a computer club at the local community center, but is not involved in any of their other activities.
Mikhail's friends are mainly Russian, some are Israeli, and he wants to be together with them in the army next year. Army service in Israel seems different from that in the CIS [former USSR], but it could be shortened if there were peace in the Middle East. There would also be more prosperity and opportunities in Israel. On the other hand, Israel is so small, compared to most other states, that it would be foolhardy in terms of security to give away border territory - so another solution must be found.
Mikhail knew almost nothing about Israel and Jewish tradition when he arrived, and has learned only a little. It is interesting, but not part of his life. He reads about Jewish history and knows from his grandmother about the Holocaust.
Malka is 17, and came to Israel at age 11 from Ethiopia via the Sudan in Operation Moses. She remembers that the journey overland from her village in Ethiopia to the Sudan took two weeks and was extremely difficult - a number of adults and children died on the way, including her baby brother.
Today, her family lives in Ashkelon and she studies at an Aliyat Hanoar boarding school. She will finish high school this year and wants to become an officer in the army. Most of Malka's friends are Ethiopian, but not all of them.
While she doesn't feel that people treat her differently because she is Ethiopian, Malka nevertheless feels that children in other families have more opportunities to advance, because their financial situation is better. Malka's father does not have regular work because he has no profession or qualifications and his Hebrew is not good; her mother has never worked outside the home.
Malka is distressed by the fact that many young Ethiopian Jews in Israel are abandoning Jewish traditions they followed in Ethiopia, but she realizes that this is all part of the change the community is experiencing in Israel.
Malka is a keen supporter of the peace process, but hopes that it will not involve too many territorial compromises. "We didn't dream of the land of Israel all these years to see part of it given away now to the Arabs," she says.
At seventeen and a half, Dani, who hails from Rishon leTzion, has an older brother of 23 - a student - and an older sister, who is 20 and is in the army. His parents were born in Israel; his mother is a sales representative and his father an economist.
The family has never been observant, although they used to light Chanukah candles when he was young; Dani believes life in Israel offers alternatives to Jews today which are more in keeping with life at the end of the 20th century - a national identity.
Dani plays accoustic guitar and is interested in art and literature as well as music. In his free time, he practises with a band and visits friends. At one time he was in the Scouts, but he feels he is now too old for that type of activity and none of his friends go there. Two years ago he joined the Civil Guard and goes out on patrol at night in different neighborhoods of the town once every few weeks. They also do training in self-defense, security and policing, which is really interesting. Dani goes to an Arts high school.
Dani would like to join the music corps in the army, but rates his chances low - so he will try for a top unit, where the service is worthwhile. He believes it's time to end wars, live normally in Israel and that people in the country will vote to give up territory for peace because this is a once-only chance - even if it's not perfect.
Josh is 18 and has two sisters [younger] and one brother [older]. He lives with his family in Jerusalem and was born in New York; his family came on aliya 6 years ago. His father is a lecturer and his mother is a social worker. Josh goes to a Yeshiva high school - a religious school. The family speak English and Hebrew at home.
Josh is very enthusiastic about history at school, as well as his Jewish studies. In his free time, he goes to a youth movement, where he also enjoys the volunteering program with children with physical disabilities. Mostly, he studies and spends time with family and friends; occasionally he goes on hikes.
Next year, Josh wants to join the combined Yeshiva/army service program, known as Hesder, which will take 5 years to complete. Most of his friends are going there and they will get into one of the good units. He feels it is also important to have people around you to whom Jewish observance is central, otherwise you start to neglect it.
Josh thinks he would never refuse to serve where he was sent, but does not see every inch of Judea and Samaria as being indispensible to Israel. Saving human lives is more important than retaining land; the people should be allowed to decide whether the terms of an agreement are fair - maybe the pace is a bit fast and it is better to review things now than make mistakes.
The main thing is that Israel should be an example to other countries and peoples as a Jewish state and this would also be easier if the proportion of Jewish residents were higher - if we keep the territories, this ratio will decline.
Etti was born in Kiryat Shmonah, where her grandparents came from Morocco. She has two older brothers, both in the army. Her father works in a large bank and her mother teaches kindergarten. The family celebrates all the Jewish holidays, but is not orthodox.
Etti is at a local high school, studying on the vocational track, in her final year, specializing in accounting. Many of her girlfriends already left school and are working, but Etti wants a qualification. In their spare time, they all meet up to go to the cinema or take a trip into Haifa. At weekends, there are discos and parties - everyone smokes and drinks quite a bit, but her friends are not into drugs. Etti has never been in any youth movement - it's not where her friends go.
Many girls don't go to the army, saying they are religious and that the environment is therefore unsuitable. Etti will probably do her service, but expects it to be boring and difficult - although it should be interesting socially.
While she feels few girls do useful jobs in the army, she says it is nevertheless the army which has to defend the country and cannot do it without secure borders: giving back the Golan would imperil all of northern Israel, because one can't rely on these agreements compelling terrorists to cease activities. Judea and Samaria are the same. If the Arab states want to make peace with Israel, they shouldn't only make demands - they should offer real peace.
Sima was born in one of the early settlements in Judea, south of Jerusalem. Later, her parents moved north into Samaria, to Kedumim. She is now the eldest of five children. While not orthodox, the family celebrates all the Jewish festivals and Sima went to an area high school which is religious. Sima's father is an engineer and her mother is a pharmacist. Her parents came to Israel as children from Rumania, and Sima understands Rumanian, but doesn't speak the language.
Sima likes science subjects at school and is a medical aide in the local volunteer ambulance service, Magen David Adom, which is really important for the small community where she lives. She learns cardiac massage, resuscitation techniques, how to deliver babies and finds it fascinating and worthwhile - she'd like to study medicine. When she was younger, she belonged to the Betar youth movement and agrees with their views about the importance of Israel having secure borders and the historic value of Israel's claim to the whole land.
Next year, Sima hopes to join the army medical corps, although they take fewer women than men! Career-wise, this will be an important period in her life.
Beni is just 18 and studies 12 hours a day at the Ponovezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak. His family were originally from Eastern Europe, although his parents were born in Israel. He has four brothers and two sisters - he is the middle child! One brother and one sister are already married.
When Beni is not studying, he helps in his father's goods store; his mother is a high school teacher. Like some of his friends, he spends time "playing around" with computers and finds this an interesting occupation - there is no computer at home, so he goes to friends' homes or is allowed to use one at the yeshiva.
Beni is an excellent yeshiva student and will continue next year; when he gets married, he will study and teach in the Kollel [the section for married students], where he may be able to get an apartment. Many Ponovezh students do basic army service at a later stage, when they start working: Beni may eventually leave Kollel and go into computer sales or something similar.
Right now Beni's priority is to learn as much as possible - the Torah is the only thing that will keep the Jewish people safe in the long run and each student who studies is preserving our security, giving the country strength. The army is important to the country, but faith and devotion to G-d are the primary security and will protect Israel. Whatever the results of peace negotiations, whether we have to return territory or not, is immaterial.
The Jewish people has survived two millenia without a state; being here together is important, but our spiritual survival more so. Beni feels that not only does saving lives come before holding on to land which was historically Jewish, but that the value attributed to the land today is political and ideological, rather than spiritual.
Sherry is 18 and going to study law [.?.] at Harvard [.?.]. She expects it to be hard work, fun and worthwhile. She believes the earlier one starts and finishes formal studies the easier and the better.
Sherry has a younger sister who is already a gifted musician. Sherry's Jewish education was at a community primary school and supplemental school. Her parents are professionals, involved in the Federation [...]. Sherry has never been to Israel, but would like to as a student, in order to get to know more about the country and its people [...]
Sherry's main motives in studying law [or ?] are defending minority rights [or ?] and she is less motivated by the financial promise of a law career [or ?] than the benefits it could bring to others.
Mike is 18 and has decided to "take a year off" in Israel after high school. At present, he is interested either in a year course with some volunteer experience [or a yeshiva] or a year on kibbutz with an Ulpan. Afterwards, he will return to Business Studies, but has not yet applied for any particular college.
Mike has a brother and a sister, both younger than him. His family run a large business [...] and he received a Jewish education at a day school. He has been to youth activities at his Federation community center and to Jewish summer camps; he has also spent some time at the [...] youth movement.
To him, this year is the only time when he can take a break from schooling: after college, it's time to move on. Mike feels that Israel will be interesting - he went on an Israel Experience program two years ago - and it will be an opportunity to become independent.
AT 18, Judy wants to become an Social Studies major, but she does not feel it has to be this year. When she was on a community volunteer project last year, she felt that she was making a contribution and now wants to continue that by working full-time as a volunteer in a Jewish social services project before going to college. It will offer some experience and help her decide where her interests lie.
Judy finished her supplemental school education at 16. Her parents are professionals [...] , but they divorced when she was nine and she was brought up by her mother. She has a younger sister. Her father is involved in community life. She has been to Jewish and non-Jewish summer camps, but not to Israel.
Brad wants to study in the field of Computer Science but is not sure whether to do this now and in [name your country]. He thinks he could get a place at the Technion in Haifa if he tries, and he is interested in living in Israel eventually. He went on an Israel Program two years ago. However, he doesn't speak Hebrew, so he will need to study first.
He has applied for the introductory year at an Israeli university [...] and is now waiting for a reply. If he doesn't like it, he figures he can always apply for a place at college in [...].
Brad has two older sisters, both students - one in Israel. His father is a successful businessman/dentist... and his mother is in advertising. They are both involved in UJA [or ?] and have been delegates to conferences in Israel...
The Rise of the Zionist Movement
by Steve Israel
A. Contemporary Questions beyond this Unit:
1. What do you understand by the term "Exile?"
2. Why do Jews use both the terms "Exile" and "Diaspora?" What lies behind the choice of these words?
B. Background Text:
It is 1882, after the Kiev pogrom.
Sarah and Aharon Davidovich feel torn. It is not enough that their whole community has been destroyed around theim; that much of their own property has been ruined or stole; that their faith in the future has been deeply shaken. Now, their children - all they really have left - are leaving them. Each of their children has come to tell them of their decision.
Hannah, their younger daughter, is staying in Russia, and will either go to Moscow or Vilna. She may work among Jews, she may work outside the community. Life will be dangerous.
Leib is leaving for America and will send for his wife and children as soon as possible. He, too, is set for a difficult life in a new land without family. He wants his parents to join him with his wife and children.
Rivka and Chaim are leaving with their children for Palestine and face an extremely harsh life. They talk of becoming farmers, but Sarah and Aharon - who know very little about Eretz Yisrael - have heard that it is difficult to make a living there. It is a poor land, not suitable for a young family. Rivka and Chaim have suggested their parents join them, maybe not immediately, but in the future.
Sarah and Aaron love all their children equally and cannot bear the thought of never seeing one or more of them again. They will have to make a choice of some kind. They have never been in such a situation before - to lose property is terrible, but to lose their children, too?
C. Simulation - Weighing the Options:
Organize into groups of five for this assignment.
Each group prepares its points for the three options [if you have at least ten minutes]; alternatively, have each group tackle a different option.
Compare and analyze the points.
Which were the strongest arguments? Which way would these parents have decided - and why?
What should Sarah and Aaron do? They are traditional Jews and wish to remain so; the problem is where they will live. Sum up the reasons for going to America / Eretz Yisrael / staying in Russia with a brief explanation.