The aim of this activity is to start examining the real and desirable relationship between Israel and the Diaspora in the minds of the students.

  • Ask the students (in pairs?) to draw a diagram that represents the relationship between the Diaspora and Israel as they see it today. The various entities should be represented by circles. The circles can be of different sizes. The Diaspora can be represented by one circle or a number of different (smaller?) circles. The different circles can be inside each other, next to or distant from each other, or they can intersect. Each circle should be marked with an ‘I’ for Israel or a ‘D’ for Diaspora.
  • Present the diagrams or representative diagrams to the whole group and examine the meaning of each one.
  • Present the two texts from Klatskin and Ahad Ha’am as two mainstream, but alternative, positions regarding ways in which Zionism perceives the future relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. Either go through the two texts together with the group, or hand them out for the participants to try and understand by themselves. In any case, having gone through them, they should try and represent each by a circle diagram of the type that they have already drawn.
  • Use some of the examples to present the two diagrams suggested above as representing the two positions. Were any of the diagrams similar to those that the students drew regarding their view of the current situation? Of the two models, presumably only the Ahad Ha’am model is a possibility, and that is only likely to occur, if at all, in the small communities. Explore with the group the two positions and their implications. Ask what the two positions have in common and where they differ. As you go through the diagrams, erase the ‘D’ for Diaspora and replace it with an ‘E’ for exile or a ‘G’ for galut. Explain why you have done this, namely that Zionism never talked about ‘diaspora’ but rather ‘galut.’ Explain the implications of this.
  • Each person should now respond in writing to the common assumptions of the two Zionist positions. Do they agree with the positions? Do they disagree? If so, why? How do the positions make them feel? When they have written individual pieces, let them share their positions with each other in small groups, and get each group to prepare a group response.
  • Share the responses with the whole group and list any feelings that are expressed - such as anger, frustration or incomprehension - or any more positive feelings that may have been mentioned.
  • Now discuss Neusner’s article. How do they assess this as an answer for either their own national community or the Jewish world as a whole?




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11 Dec 2006 / 20 Kislev 5767 0