A deck of cards is one of the oldest forms of entertainment around. Thousands of games and activities have been created using just a single deck. These cards have been used extensively across multiple educational settings. They are rich in content and designed to model excellence in Israel education. We offer ideas for using the cards to help build relationships among and between participants, and to empower them to take ownership of their learning as they discover many of Israel's stories and deepen their own connections to those stories.
What's in a Deck?
This newest iteration of our widely-popular Israel Resource Cards uses a holistic approach to showcase many aspects of the people, places, sites, events, and cultures of Israel. These cards were written to reflect a relational approach to education and aim to bring to life the rich stories and narratives that help shape our relationships with Israel and Israelis.
In the playful style of Trivial Pursuit, cards are organized in the following categories:
- Sites and Insights
- The Many Faces of Israel
- Sports and Leisure
- Arts and Culture, including Cuisine, Visual Arts, Music, Literature, Media, and Place
- Moments in Modern Israeli History
- Core Texts
Sites and Insights
Cards in this category highlight some of the most iconic sites in Israel, with an emphasis on the insights that will keep you thinking long after you’ve seen them in your rear view mirror. Some of them date back thousands of years, while others are quite modern,but all of them offer opportunities to connect your own story to the story of Israel,as you claim your place in the bigger picture.
The Many Faces of Israel
Cards in this category focus on a broad sampling of sectors of Israeli society—where they came from, what they contribute to the country, and how they fit into the vibrant reality of modern Israel. You’ll find information about Jews, Muslims, Christians,Arabs, Druse, Bedouin, and others. Each card shines a light on a part of society, and whether they’ve lived in Israel for centuries or have more recently returned, they all help shape Israeli society as it marches into the future.
Cards in this category focus on the biggest cities in the country, along with a few smaller ones, geographical and political regions, and bodies of water. You’ll learn where they’re located, what makes them special, and a few random facts that are sure to surprise you.
Sports and Leisure
Cards in this category focus on multiple aspects of the sports and leisure scene in Israel, including how and where people train and the public’s love for professional sports and international competition. Use them to highlight and draw connections to your community’s favorite pastimes, and to learn about uniquely Israeli pursuits.
Cards in this category highlight a range of people, living and dead, whose lives and actions have helped to shape the course of Israel’s history. Some of them are household names, while others are less well known. All of them bring messages of leadership and passion that can enrich our lives and help shape our own stories.
Arts and Culture, including Cuisine, Visual Arts, Music, Literature, Media, and Place
Cards in these categories offer a crash course on what’s happening in Israeli music, design, bookstores, theaters, restaurants, and more. They capture the reality of a country where so many traditions come together yields a dizzying array of trailblazing artists, musicians, writers, and chefs whose work has both local and global impact.
Moments in Modern Israeli History
Cards in this category highlight a few significant moments that have created the timeline of modern Israel history. From the Declaration of Independence to the summer that Israelis took to the streets demanding a lower cost of living, Israel is filled both with moments that have shaped history and moments that have changed the course of history.
Cards in this category focus on a few examples of the innovations emerging from Israel and helping to make the world a better place. You’ll find examples of stunning technological advances, as well as myriad social start-ups that benefit Israel and the world. These innovations bring people together in song, harness goodwill and expertise to save lives, and present optimistic ideas for the future.
Cards in this category provide a bird’s-eye view of a handful of key texts that can enrich any Israel-related programs, activities, and discussions. There are many ways to approach notions of Jewish sovereignty, the ethics of war, the nature of Israeli society, and more—and all of those ways take on greater meaning with the added insights of these core texts.
A number of different editions of Israel Resource Cards have been developed to bring Israel stories and content to your learners in a variety of fun and educational ways. Each of these sets include a sampling of cards chosen to support different educational goals within specific settings, and are not intended to be comprehensive. Explore the many different editions below. Each set is available via individual digital download links below, or you may order cards to be mailed directly to you.
Israel Experience Edition
Included in this edition are cards that can be useful for introducing participants to people, places, and ideas that they may encounter of their Israel experience.
Thematic Edition: Diversity
The cards in this deck feature the many faces of Israel through an exploration of cultural and ethnic groups, events, and places that bring people together. They provide insights into the countless ways diversity can both bring people together and lead to sharpened tensions.
Thematic Edition: Leadership
This deck is filled with moments of inspired leadership and decisive leaders, along with tales that examine and challenge the effectiveness of leadership in Israel. Every card employs a holistic approach to telling the story of people, moments, places, events, and more that have, or continue to, impact Israeli society.
Thematic Edition: Community and Responsibility
Framed around the Hebrew word for responsibility—achrayut—אחריות—this deck delves into concepts and understandings of responsibility to one’s self, community, and others. Explore an array of community builders, unique communities, sub-groups, and interdependent circles that strive to build a better future.
Thematic Edition: Perspectives in Tension
This deck explores differing perspectives and conflicts within Israeli society as well as between Israel and its neighbors. Differing opinions and conflicting values can foster deep animosity and division; however, in many instances, productive disagreement can lead to positive outcomes.
Thematic Edition: Tradition and Innovation
This deck pays homage to Theodore Herzl’s vision for the Jewish State: Israel is the ultimate “Old-New Land”—merging deep-rooted history and traditions with cutting-edge innovation. It offers multiple entry points to the nexus of old and new in Israel, and can challenge the place of tradition and innovation in our own lives.
Mini Edition: Cuisine
This deck highlights a variety of foods and stories, and some of the people and places behind them. The foods that people eat offer a tantalizing window into the 100+ cultures, traditions, and values represented in the melting pot of Israeli society.
Mini Edition: Visual Arts
This deck highlights many of the leading Israeli artists, the institutions that guide them, and some of the resulting works that dot the country’s landscape. From colorful street art to playful sculptures, Israel’s visual arts scene is a dynamic, vibrant representation of the country’s creative energy.
Mini Edition: Sports and Leisure
This deck focuses on multiple aspects of the sports and leisure scene in Israel, including how and where people train and the public’s love for professional sports and international competition. Beaches and hiking trails compete with sports and other leisure pursuits, and sometimes it seems as if everyone is on the move.
Mini Edition: Music
This deck shines a spotlight on many contemporary and timeless singers as well as some of the icons that shape the music scene today. Israeli music reflects the country’s melting pot of cultures; the East-meets-West merging of many of those influences captures the imagination.
Mini Edition: Sites and Insights
This deck highlights some of Israel’s most iconic sites and cities, with an emphasis on the insights that keep us thinking long after we’ve seen them. Some date back thousands of years, while others are quite modern, but they all offer opportunities to connect and understand the bigger picture of the story of Israel.
Mini Edition: Drama and Theater
This deck highlights some of the people behind Israel’s performing arts and literary scene and its creative genius, as well as a selection of the cultural inputs that drive it. We gain insights about the country and its complex meshing of ideas and ideals through works as varied as the Bible, contemporary short stories, film, and more.
Day School Edition
Included in this edition are cards that support some common Israel education standards for day schools.
No matter how and where you decide to use these cards, you should always ask:
- What are my goals?
- How might I use these cards to support my goals?
- How do I imagine participants interacting with / using these cards?
- What cards should I use? What cards are not here that I could add?
Below are some suggested ways to use the cards, no matter which deck you choose.
Choose Your Own Adventure!
- Choose a handful of cards with which your learner may be familiar. (i.e. the kibbutz, David Ben Gurion, Jerusalem, etc.)
- Ask participants to get into small groups and have each group choose 3 cards.
- Ask them to construct a "day in Israel" using the three cards.
In order to build a "day in Israel," suggest the following steps:
- Brainstorm all of the possible themes that might link your cards together.
- Choose one theme that you are going to use to construct your day.
- Create an opening activity and a closing activity for the day.
- Describe the narrative thread that connects the three cards.
Remember, this isn't about reality – so put aside the fact that you might not be able to go from Tel Aviv to Eilat to Haifa all in one day. It’s about process!
Each player selects seven cards at random. Reading their cards, they need to ask other players for specific cards that they think will go with their card. For example, if a player is holding the David Ben Gurion card, perhaps he/she asks for the Negev card since the two have an association. Upon laying down the pairs, each player needs to explain the way(s) in which the cards are connected. This may require the player to extend their imagination a bit. If they aren't sure of their card, they can choose from the middle pile of cards, and pose a question/theme/idea/statement that somehow connects the two cards.
Choose only the "People" cards and ask participants: If you had to tell the story of Israel through the narrative of 5 people, who would you choose? Which 5 people collectively tell the story of Israel? Have each group share and discuss why they chose these figures.
Connect the Dots
Ask participants to choose 3 cards that relate to Passover (or Purim, Rosh Hashanah, etc). In small groups, have them explain the reason they chose each card. Ask one student from each group to share with the larger group.
For older students: Ask them to create a theme that emerged from that conversation. (i.e. freedom, belonging, home, etc.)
Story of My Life
Utilize them as a tool on an Israel experience to empower North American staff to "share the stories." (i.e. Hannah Senesh's story on Har Herzl or in Caesaria, or the poet Rachel at the Kinneret cemetery, etc.)
- Place all the cards on the floor and ask participants to do a "gallery walk" and pick out 1 or 2 cards that resonate with them. Go around the circle and have participants share why they chose the cards that they did.
- Lay out the cards and have people pick one that resonates with them and one that they'd like to learn more about – have them share both stories.
- Lay out the cards and have participants pick one from each category (People, Events, Places, Symbols) – have them explain why they chose each and find connections between the cards from the different categories.
Send the ways in which you're using the cards to firstname.lastname@example.org.