Middle East
Teacher's Guide

January 12, 2000 Update
Remember, the "Kids' Versions" are aimed at K-6.

Check out this date's update
The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:

Abeja - Racing the Sun, Waiting for the Moon
Kid's version available

Abeja relates informative and colorful diary entries describing the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. Travel with her from the Arab quarter of Jerusalem, through the Damacus Gate into Ramallah and end up in the city of Nablus.

Students might be curious about the whole concept of fasting (and feasting). Could do a modified "Ramaden" and have students fast for part of the day (keeping a journal of how they feel), followed by a small feast of sweets and chocolates and fruit (like in Abeja's dispatch).

ABEJA - Crusaders in the Holy

Abeja discusses her trip to an old Crusader castle in Akko, or Acre, Israel. Includes references to the First Crusade, Christian occupation of the Holy Land, and the various orders of knights (nights of Malta, for example).

Take a closer look at the evolution (or lack thereof) of religious tolerance throughout the ages. Specifically, compare how the early crusaders just insisted on "their way" as opposed to modern day religion and how people chose to adopt or practice it. People have more choice than before, or do they ( TV evangelists, cults, family preference, etc.)?

Abeja - Blood on the Rocks

Abeja gives a history of Caesarea, beginning with King Herod the Great, continuing through the Jewish revolt against Roman rule, the onset of Christianity, and the Muslim jihad. She concludes with the city's modern rebirth as a living cultural and historical memorial.

Might be informative to find books and/or photos on the web to show students Caesarea then and now, so they can see firsthand the many changes that have taken place historically, geographically and culturally.

Kevin - A National Memory that will Never Die

Kevin reports on the Holocaust and the role it still plays in Israel today. He also visits Yad Vashem, the Israeli national monument for the Holocaust. Includes information about the Shoah/Holocaust, the history of Israel, Zionism, the Swiss Nazi Gold scandal, concentration camps, and the way the Holocaust is remembered in Israel today.

Have students create their own memorial to the young victims of the Holocaust. They can either draw this or bring in one or more items that they feel represent something important to them (candle, flower, feather, leaf). Have them explain in a sentence or two the items they chose and why. Set up all the memorials in a corner of the schoolroom for all the students to see.

Monica - Four quarters, 20,000 people, 3,000 years of history . . . in ten minutes or less.

Monica briefly sketches the four quarters of Jerusalem's Old City, and wonders how these cultures can live so close together physically, but so far apart emotionally. Includes references to Jerusalem's Old City, the Wailing Wall, Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter, Muslim Quarter and Armenian Quarter.

At the end of Monica's dispatch she asks, "In your community, do people live side-by-side? Or do they live apart based on their religion, or on some other differences?" Discuss with students the reality of this in your town or city and their feelings (good and bad) about which exists in their community.

Monica - 2000: A Worldtrek Odyssey

Monica creatively reports on Y2K celebrations from Jerusalem by writing from the perspective of aliens who show up on a reconnaissance mission to learn about Earth and its inhabitants. Includes information about Jerusalem, the different quarters of the city and its different gates. Y2K/New Year's Eve celebrations and an organization called SETI--the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

This one's just fun to read! If kids are up for it, have them write one or two paragraphs reporting on their New Year's Eve celebrations as if they were a "visiting alien."

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