May 5, 2014

Israel at Home and in the Classroom

Yom Ha'atzma'ut is Israel's Independence Day. On May 14, 1948, or, on the Jewish calendar, the 5th of Iyar in 5708, David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the state of Israel. From that day on, the 5th of Iyar became a national holiday. Today, Yom Ha'atzma'ut is celebrated by Jewish people around the world. Israel gives the Jewish people

Some activities are perfect for Yom Ha'atzma'ut. Others are ideal for homes or classrooms that want to deepen children's connection to and love of Israel all year round.

Create a Mizrach
In many Jewish homes, a mizrach hangs on the easternmost wall as a reminder of Israel and the direction in which it lies. This is a wonderful visual for children that encourages them to think about Israel year-round. In this fun and colorful craft, children can create their own mizrach for their home (or classroom) using glue and colorful sand. Click here for directions.

From the Jewish National Fund.

Make Israeli Flag T-Shirts
Using plain white shirts, fabric paint, and cut-out sponges, children can make their very own Israeli flag shirts to wear for Yom Ha'atzma'ut festivities or on any other day of the year! Click here for directions.


Decorate with an Israeli Wind Sock
This is a fun twist on making an Israeli flag. This page also has a number of other interesting activities for Yom Ha'atzma'ut, including making an Israeli lantern. Click here for directions.

From Hebrew Podcasts.

Snacks in Blue and White!
Celebrate Israel with a selection of snacks that emulate the colors of the Israeli flag! Bake a vanilla cake and ice it with vanilla frosting and blueberries, keep it simple and healthy with vanilla yogurt and blueberries, or get creative and invent your own blue and white snacks!

Speaking of Snacks . . .
You can also prepare a selection of traditional Israeli snacks and foods, such as hummus, schnitzel, and falafel. Help children connect with Israel by engaging their sense of taste!

Blue and White Painted Planters
In the United States, Yom Ha'atzma'ut aligns with the beginning of spring. Celebrate these two events together, and create a lasting reminder of Israel, with these painted flowerpots. Click here for directions.


Israel, All Year Long
Some classrooms may prefer to incorporate Israel into their classroom all year long to really develop their students' understanding of and connection to the country. Some ideas include building your very own Western Wall using brown paper lunch sacks, teaching students the Israeli national anthem and other traditional Israeli songs as part of a song-a-week or song-a-month program, decorating your classroom with photos of Israel, and inviting special visitors to the classroom to share their experiences traveling or living in Israel.

And, of course, read a good book!
Explore the Holy Land with Kar-Ben! Travel around Israel while learning the importance of the land through these engaging books. The Kar-Ben website has an entire section dedicated to books about Israel - from books that show preschoolers celebrating Yom Ha'atzma'ut to Grover and his friends cleaning up a playground. Click here to see the full selection!

You can also see a special trailer for a new Fall 2014 book about a true event in the life of Golda Meir, Israel's first female Prime Minister! Goldie Takes a Stand: Golda Meir's First Crusade is available beginning June 1!

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