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Operation Protective Edge: Resources to Teach and Learn

The iCenter provides educators, parents, and students at Jewish day schools with strategies and materials to facilitate discussions and learning experiences around Israel.

Please find some of our resources below.

Frameworks for Talking about the Situation

Lesley Litman's picture
“…Israel…serves as glue holding [Jewish day] school communities together.”  This is a significant finding of a recent AVI CHAI-sponsored study, Hearts and Minds: Israel in North American Jewish Day Schools by Pomson, Wertheimer and Hacohen-Wolf.  According to the study, while day schools and day school parents may differ on religious practices, all agree that a positive view of and connection with Israel is critical.
Natalie Blitt's picture
At the end of the day, you don’t know what to say. I felt that a lot this summer, working at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. I walked around camp in the gorgeous Northwoods of Wisconsin, watching campers playing basketball and singing and trying to convince the swim staff they shouldn’t have to go into the lake because it was too cold. And watching members of the Israeli mishlachat whispering to one another in private, crying, checking emails, ducking into the few building with computers to check the news.
Devorah Levine Katz's picture
When Barak ben Avinoam is about to head into battle, he offers up this bizarre ultimatum to Devorah, the prophetess and judge of the time. “Come with me to the battlefield,” he says, “or I’m not going.” It is quite literally the last thing you would expect to leave the lips of a commander, a military man. Certainly the stereotype of a fighter is someone who has full confidence in himself and his abilities as a strategist. This seems like the worst sort of strategy out there.
Natalie Blitt's picture
As a parent, I struggle with the need to solve the world’s problems for my children. And if not solve, then at least explain, dissect, make them fit into neat little boxes that can be understood. This is how it all makes sense, I want to be able to reassure them. This is how I can promise you that nothing will happen that I can’t make sense of for you.
Jan Katzew's picture
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2011) is not a book about education, but it is a compelling instructive work about how we make decisions. He posits two co-existent systems of thought within every person: one that is fast, intuitive and emotional and a second that is slow, deliberative and rational. In the current highly-charged atmosphere that suffuses any conversation about Israel, it is all too easy to get sucked into thinking fast, in a word "tweeting," which not only limits the number of characters, it also engages emotion at the expense of reason.

iCenter Resources and Ideas

This summer Israel and Gaza erupted into war, and two things near and dear to me nearly burst with pain and sadness: my heart and my Facebook wall. Navigating my own feelings and reactions as a committed Zionist with my own influences, life experiences, and outlook has been challenging, to say the least.
In teaching Israel, we strive to connect our students to the real Israel. The Israel we encounter when we visit, or when we live there. The Israel we experience knowing that our friends and families live there, that members of our community make it their home. One way that we can expose them to the real Israel is through the authentic voice of Israelis. What illuminates Israel beyond a list of cities, dates, and events for us are the people. The people we know, the people we hear about, the people we pass on the street.
Alon Harris, an innovation facilitator at Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT), has led many iCenter workshops on developing innovative educational tools. He is also a talented musicain. Last week he sat down to record a song, because for him, it was the most accecible vehicle for his creative expression. He remarked: "At this time, people can channel their creativity to make connections, express their voice, and invite others to do the same."
For many outside of Israel during Operation Tzuk Eitan ("Protective Edge"), we are connecting with people and stories through our Facebook feeds. Some powerful images have been shared – some of them widely circulated and others very personal – which give us a glimpse into life in Israel conflict. Seeing these photos as educational tools, and using a set of questions that we have adapted from Zion Ozeri's Jewish Lens project, we can open up discussion.
Israeli singer/songwriter Etzion Mayer had the following words, when it was understood that three boys – Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Gilad Shaar, 16 – were kidnapped:

More Resources

Resources from the Jewish Educational World

Art & Music

News & Opinion Pieces

Other Related iCenter Resources

Ways to Act

  • Israel Gives: donate online to any of Israel's 30,000 nonprofit organizations
  • Yashar LaChayal: help supply water backpacks and other specifically requested supplies to Israel’s soldiers
  • Shorashim: help bring cellphone chargers, clothing, snacks and bulletproof vests to soldiers on the front lines
  • Thank Israeli Soldiers: send care packages and get to know soldiers receiving your gifts
  • NU Campaign: purchase a Thank You IDF t-shirt and a matching one will be sent to a soldier on the frontlines
  • The Shmira Project: pairs IDF combat soldiers with Jews around the world who do acts of kindness 
  • Latet: donate packages from small businesses in the south and distribute to families in need
  • IDF Widows and Orphans Organization: help sponsor scholarships, medical care and summer camp experiences for orphans and widows of fallen IDF soldiers
  • El Al: matching airline points to lone soldiers
  • A Package from Home: help send clothing and toiletries to soldiers on the frontlines
  • Leket Israel: send a basket of food to Israeli families in need
  • Bayit Ham LeHayal/A Warm Home for Every Soldier: donate to help provide basic supplies and long-term financial, physical and emotional support for lone soldiers
  • The Lone Soldier Center: help provide lone soldiers with much-needed backpacks
  • Gvanim Association: help bring additional staff to Sderot communities, more counselors and much-needed building maintenance
  • Rikma Communities: help support volunteers in organizing social activities and emotional support for people in the South
  • Lev Echad: help support this national volunteer organization that mobilizes thousands of volunteers and deploys them to where they are needed most