Israel is 60

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					Subject / Title of activity: Re-evaluating the importance of lavish birthdays. A Persuasive letter to the Prime Minister Submitted by: Carol Wolff Level: 5 points Brief description: Group discussions about the history of birthdays, how birthdays are celebrated, compare personal birthdays to National birthdays. Objectives (Can be stated in terms of benchmarks): Students will:    Organize information and ideas creatively as well as logically, using paragraph structures appropriate for their purpose. Teach students to use graphic organizers. Write a formal letter, stating an argument. Appx. time needed: 3 X 45 min. lessons

Intended for grade: 12th

Keywords: Spectacular Impressive : Massive






Spectacle : Marvel :

Materials needed: 1. Graphic organizer charts. (draw on board) 2. News articles from Ynet news : o Thousands protest ‘reckless spending' on 60th Independence Day celebrations. o Peres announces 60th anniversary guest list. o Israel prepares for its 60th birthday party. 3. Quote from Leon Uris's book Exodus. Lesson plan: As follows

Lesson Plan

Grade Level: 11th (5 point)

Time: 3 lessons of 45min.

Re-evaluating the Importance of Lavish Birthdays
Expectations Students will: Organize information and ideas creatively as well as logically, using paragraph structures appropriate for their purpose. To write a formal letter, stating an argument. Pre-assessment a) Students: Students should be able to: • Describe the internal and external political factors, significant events, and geographical realities that led to the creation of Israel. • Be familiar with current day celebrations in Israel (with both individual and National birthday practices) • Be familiar with the letter writing process of a formal letter: Stating an argument for and against. Students must be familiar with the parts of a letter, appropriate language, proofreading, editing, etc.

Students who have difficulty taking notes, may be paired up with another student and receive a photocopy of the lesson notes. b) Learning Environment: - Regular classroom atmosphere and set-up. c) Resources: 1. Graphic organizer charts. (draw on board)

2. News articles from Ynet news : o Thousands protest „reckless spending' on 60th Independence Day celebrations. o Peres announces 60th anniversary guest list. o Israel prepares for its 60th birthday party.
3. Quote from Leon Uris's book Exodus.

Exodus: "How are things at home, " David whispered. "Things at home?" The same as always. Bombings, shootings. Exactly as it has been every day since we were children. It never changes. Every year we come to a crisis which is sure to wipe us out - then we go on to another crisis worse than the last. Home is home," Ari said, “only this time there is going to be a war.”
4. Students will need pen and paper for writing assignment. Background: Teacher writes on the board: Recognizing birthdays – Why? Discuss as a class: Why do people celebrate birthdays? (Students do not need to take notes on this, teacher writes key words on board) -Once ancient peoples began taking notice of the moon's cycles, people began to pay attention to the changing seasons and the pattern that repeated itself - Eventually; the first calendars were created in order to mark dates: Examine current day birthday celebrations for individuals: - parties - music and noisemakers - food - presents and cards - social gathering - cakes - candles

Milestone Birthdays: (13, 16, 21, 50…)

Different cultures celebrate birthdays in different ways: - Pagan beliefs of evil spirits. - It was believed in pagan cultures that evil spirits were present on birthdays. - As a result, birthdays became a reason for friends and family to be joyful with the person of honour, in order to keep the spirits away. - Kings and nobilities were the only ones to celebrate -History tells us that only kings and other members of nobility were privileged enough to celebrate birthdays. -It eventually became a tradition for most citizens to celebrate.

Discuss, as a class, the characteristics of birthday parties in Israel. Have a student volunteer to come to the board and outline points mentioned in discussion.

Teacher prompts group discussion: Write these questions on board. (Students need to make notes of their findings)     What is typical of a birthday party for a child? An adult? Why do our celebrations alter as we age? Discuss which milestone birthdays tend to be celebrated more elaborately in society (13, 21, 50) In what ways do the characteristics discussed connect to the Pagan ideas of keeping bad spirits away? (noisemakers, parties, candles)

Note: We must be aware that not all cultures celebrate birthdays similarly. (If time allows, discuss with the class different practices and celebrations that exist in society) Students now compare findings with how Israel celebrates her birthday compared to personal celebrations.  Draw a Venn Diagram on the board and tell student to copy. One circle is labeled "Personal Birthday" the other "State Birthday" Fill in Venn diagram together with students finding the similarity between the two birthday celebrations. Aspects characteristic of Israel Day celebrations - fireworks - food - parades - music - day of festivities

 Class discussion on findings and then focus on Yom Ha'Atzmaut.  Discuss characteristics of the day‟s events (at the local and national level).  Use visual stimuli to enhance the learning needs of visual learners (photographs of various celebrations)  Discuss student experiences with Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebrations. Teacher Prompts for Discussion:  For what reasons, has the celebration become more and more extravagant?  What connections can we make to the growing elaboration of Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebrations, to the shift towards lavish birthday parties that people throw in today‟s world?  In what ways does this reflect Israeli society?  How can we re-think the necessity for the lavish spending on birthdays and perhaps use the money for more useful projects? Consolidation of Learning Ask students the following questions to consolidate knowledge and ideas:

• What is the reasoning behind celebrating a birthday? • Why is Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebrated and recognized as a holiday? Write or read the quote from the book Exodus. Prompt students to think about life in Israel – has life changed in the last 60 years. Is this quote still relevant for today?  Handout news articles (Use the news articles to prompt the thinking of the students.) Read articles with class and discuss difficult words. After reading the articles, read the quote from the book Exodus again and ask the students to consider this in light of the celebrations.

Application Students will write a letter to the Prime Minister. The letter is to be a minimum of one page.

Teacher states:
"In your letter, using examples from today‟s lesson, outline your knowledge of how birthdays (both for the nation and for individuals) over the decades, have become more and more lavish. In your persuasive letter, convince the Prime Minister that there is no need for celebrations to be so extravagant. Think of some more useful ways to spend all the money that is spent on birthday celebrations in our country. If need be, review the expectations for writing a formal letter. Discuss rubric with the Class so that they know what is expected of them.

Assessment Students will hand in their letter to the Prime Minister for evaluation. Students must demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas in a clear, organized manner, appropriate to persuasive letter writing.

Resources :

Quote from Leon Uris's book Exodus Ynet news articles: o Thousands protest „reckless spending' on 60th Independence Day celebrations. o Peres announces 60th anniversary guest list. o Israel prepares for its 60th birthday party Birthday Celebrations:

Israel prepares for its 60th birthday party
Israel will celebrate in style with laser shows, parades, other extravagant events. New bike paths, as well as 60 playgrounds, picnic sites to open in honor of country’s Independence Day

Zvi Zinger
Published: 04.10.08, 08:05 / Israel Culture

Just how is Israel going to celebrate its 60th anniversary? In style, that‟s for sure. IAF air-show, paratrooper demonstrations, large-scale Woodstock style concerts, laser shows, and, of course, the traditional fireworks are all in store to help launch Israel‟s 60th Independence Day celebrations. Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila, who is charged with organizing the anniversary celebrations, held a press conference this week and announced all of the events planned for Israel‟s big anniversary bash. Here is how we‟re all going to celebrate: On the eve of Independence Day, May 7, a spectacular laser, music and light show will adorn Israel‟s skies. Residents of Beersheba, Eilat, Haifa, Netanya , Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ashdod will all be able to enjoy and marvel at this brilliant spectacle. On Independence Day Itself, Wednesday May 8, The Israeli Air Force will treat us all to an impressive air show and a fly-by across Israel‟s skies. A huge paratrooper demonstration will also take place, as well as a naval review by the Israeli Sea Corps. Israeli President, Shimon Peres, will also hold a joint birthday party at his Jerusalem residence for all Israelis sharing a Hebrew-calendar birthday with the State of Israel. The party does not end here, however. On the day following Independence Day, May 9, three huge anniversary parties will celebrate Israel‟s Independence with the finest in Israeli music. The three massive concerts will take place, respectively, in Tel Aviv‟s Rabin Square as well as in Nitzanim beach in the south and Achziv beach in the north. Each of these concerts will be geared toward different age groups, and will feature different and unique musical styles. “These are not extravagant, lavish bashes, but concerts geared toward all of Israel‟s citizens; not just the A-list crowd that has dominated previous Independence Day events,” said Minister Avraham. Special projects to also mark 60th anniversary In addition to these special events and concerts, Israel‟s 60th anniversary will be marked with several special projects that have already begun months ago, and will continue long after the anniversary celebrations are just a dim memory.

Israel‟s infrastructure will be getting a 60th anniversary makeover. A 60 kilometer (37 miles) path will be constructed in and around Lake Kineret, and 60 monuments for the casualties of Israel‟s War of Independence will be renovated. A new state bike path, covering over 1,200 Kilometers (745 miles) will be opened, as well as 60 picnic sites complete with wheelchair access. Israel‟s children also have cause for celebration with the opening of 60 new, and uniquely designed, playgrounds across the country. New educational and cultural initiatives have, and will be, launched in honor of Israel‟s independence as well. Some 45,000 students in the 10th and 11th grades now have the opportunity to tour the region between Latrun and Jerusalem and learn about the battles that raged in this area during Israel‟s War of Independence as well as the Six Day War. Over 3,500 students tread these paths daily, learning about the valor lying in our country‟s past. Furthermore, a national competition of children‟s artwork will also take place, with the winning pictures featured in a calendar specially designed for Israel‟s 60th anniversary. More unique projects include an exhibition and photo album to be presented in Yad Vashem in honor of the Holocaust survivors who have been such an invaluable part of the State of Israel during its 60 years of existence. In September, furthermore, a special violin concert conducted by Shlomo Mintz will be held in the old city of Jerusalem, featuring violins damaged in the Holocaust and mended specifically for this unique event. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert commented on Israel‟s 60th anniversary celebrations during a cabinet meeting Sunday, and stated that “these will not be gaudy, pointless celebrations, but events that highlight how far the country has come in 60 years, and the challenges that we all still face in terms of education and culture. Unlike previous celebrations, this year‟s events will allow all of Israel‟s citizens to truly celebrate the country‟s independence, as well as take part in a vital, important growth process that we hope to launch as the country turns 60.”

Peres announces 60th anniversary guest list
Many international celebrities to participate in 60th anniversary festivities, including President Bush, Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev. Barbra Streisand to sing Jewish prayer Associated Press President Shimon Peres said Wednesday that the festivities marking Israel's 60th birthday and including top personalities from around the world will open with a tribute to Israel's staunchest ally, the United States. "After 60 years we want to stand up and say 'thank you America,'" Peres said in an interview with the Associated Press. The May 13-15 conference will be attended by President George W. Bush and Barbra Streisand singing the Jewish prayer Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King), which Peres described as "unbelievably beautiful." Peres said the conference, focusing on Jewish and Israeli contributions to humanity, will include subjects "as varied as one can think of ... from arts and science and philosophy to medicine and ecology." Besides Bush and Streisand other notables will include Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev and Rupert Murdoch. "We are going to have probably 10 presidents from different countries, six former presidents, ministers, prime ministers, scientists, philosophers, and artists," Peres said. The conference is expected to be one of the highlights of weeks of celebrations marking Israel's 60th birthday, including concerts, Holocaust remembrance events, a workshop promoting Israeli-Arab coexistence and a 1,200-kilometer trans-country bicycle trail. Peres said that most of the conference's 2,000 participants will be Jewish, but that it's open to people of all faiths. The list of confirmed guests also includes Henry Kissinger, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, former Czech President Vaclev Havel, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, Google founder Sergey Brinn, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman, Ratan Tata, chairman of India's Tata group, US Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and Abdurrahman Wahid, former president of Indonesia.

(News Flash: Barbara Streisand has turned down the offer)

Thousands protest ‘reckless spending' on 60th Independence Day celebrations
Petition calling for restrained spending signed by 72,000 Israelis; Minister in charge of celebrations: Protest misguided
Roni Arison
Published: 03.21.08, 01:53 / Israel News

Is the additional NIS 100 million (roughly $28 million) budget allocated by the government towards Israel‟s 60th anniversary celebrations justified? As it turns out, many Israeli citizens feel that the answer is an unequivocal no. An internet petition, which began circulating online in January and was presented to government officials in February, called on the government to “stop the lavish, careless spending on Independence Day celebrations, and allocate these funds towards more worthwhile pursuits such as education, healthcare , culture and welfare.” About 72,000 web surfers have already signed this petition, and the numbers keep growing daily. Organizers of this cyber-protest are urging web surfers to keep adding names to this already impressive petition. Dr. Ron Avni, one of the organizers of this petition noted that “there are so many problems throughout the country that need remedy, and yet the government sees it fit to allocate such a large amount of money to Independence Day celebrations. This is a strident, jarring, incomprehensible waste of available funds.” While Sderot‟s residents experience economic strain, Holocaust survivors are living below the poverty line, and so many social ills need to be addressed, noted Avni, wouldn‟t this be money be better spent on remedying these serious problems in lieu of anniversary celebrations and the artists and managers involved? 'Misguided protest' Avni does not object to the celebrations but feels the state ought to spend the same amount of money on Independence Day it does every year. “After all these are not centennial celebrations. There is no special significance to the 60th year of independence.” Minister Ruhama Avraham, who heads the committee charged with 60th anniversary celebrations, said in response to Avni‟s comments that “while activism and public action are an integral part of any democracy, Dr. Avni has taken it in a misguided direction. The numbers presented by Dr. Avni are inaccurate, and he bases his petition on half-truths instead of precise facts. The budget allocated to the celebrations is no greater than in previous years.” Avraham further noted that “monetary concerns aside, Israel‟s independence, earned in lives and blood, is not something to be taken lightly or for granted. It is not something that we should simply dismiss as frivolous.”

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