Israeli Street Party

Campers will get to meet the diverse group of people that make up Israeli society while walking in the shoes of an Israeli citizen in a party atmosphere. This session will include mingling, movement, and fun!

Curriculum Themes: 

Materials Required: 

Program Duration: 

Physical Space: 

Number of Campers: 

Age of Campers: 

Core Learnings: 

Israel is a small but diverse country, with people from very different cultures, countries, and religious affiliations.

Explanation: 

The leader should ask everyone to sit in the circle.  The leader should then ask everyone in the circle to brainstorm a list of people who live in Israel (secular teenager, soldier, christian arab, palestinian, orthodox haredi jew, et al).  The leader should have slips of paper, empty, pre-cut.  The leader should be writing down the archetypes the group comes up with on slips of paper.  When the group has come up with enough identities, the leader should shuffle the slips and distribute one slip to each participant.  The participants should be instructed to look at their slips and fold them and put them in a pocket.  They are not ‘secret identities’ but not for sharing just yet.   (8 minutes)

The leader should then ask the campers to go around the circle and say one word that comes to mind when their ‘character’ hears the word: Israel.  The campers should remember their word.  (3 minutes)

The leader should then ask the campers to stand up and create a gesture for their character.  The leader should demonstrate what a gesture is (a simple, repeatable movement that begins and ends in a neutral standing position).  The campers should be given two minutes to devise their gestures.  The leader should then ask everyone to, in order around the circle, show their gestures (without saying the identity of their character).  (5 minutes)

The campers should then be asked to walk in the space as their characters.  No talking.  Just walk in the space, making eye contact with other people, but AS your character.  The leader should, every now and again, say ‘freeze’.  The leader should then explain that when the leader says the word ‘gesture’ the campers should do their gesture.  When the leader says ‘word,’ the camper should say the word.  The leader will unfreeze the campers and again encourage them to walk through the space, every now and then saying ‘word’ and ‘gesture’.  The campers should be now asked to think about their character as they walk.  What’s their story?  What’s their name?  How do they feel about the other people around them?  About Israel?  The leader should continue to pepper the walking by calling out ‘word’ and ‘gesture’.    (5 minutes)

The leader should then ask every camper to find a partner.  They should introduce themselves to each other and find out who the other person is, what kind of Israeli.  The leader should announce to switch and find another partner every minute or so.  It’s a cocktail party, mingling, if you will.   (10 minutes)

The leader should, after about ten minutes, stop the group and do a quick interview.  The question should be “Who were you talking to?”   The question should NOT be “Who are you?” - the point is to get campers to talk not about the character they created, but the characters they MET.  (5 minutes)

After the public interviewing/sharing, the campers should be asked to find a spot to themselves with paper and a pen/pencil.  The campers should write a few senteces that describe how their character feels about Israel.  It is important to encourage the campers to dig beyond the 'stereotype' of what they might know about the character.  The goal is for the camper to find a more honest and deep connection to the intention and humanity of the character they are inhabiting.  The campers should also be asked to use their ‘word’ in their writing.  (4 minutes)

The leader, after a few minutes, should ask the campers to finish their writings.  Once everyone is done, the campers should come sit back in a circle. The leader should jump right in with the instructions for the next part of the activity.  The campers, in a moment, will be asked to stand up and walk around the space again as their characters, making eye contact with the other people in the space as they walk.  The leader will be calling out ‘word’ and ‘gesture’ as the group walks around, and the leader will also be walking around the space.  The leader will also explain before the spacewalk begins that if the leader taps your shoulder, you stand still and read your monologue until it’s over, then rejoin the group.  The leader should begin the activity.  

The leader will then ask everyone to stand up and begin walking through the space as their characters.  The leader should ask leading questions as they begin to walk.  “How does your character walk?  What does your character feel about the other people in this space?”  The leader should remember to pepper in ‘gesture’ and ‘word’ every now and then and continue to tap people on the shoulder at regular intervals.  Do NOT wait for one person to finish their monologue before tapping another’s shoulder to begin.  The overlap is GOOD!  In fact, three or more at the same time is great.  It should be a cacophony of gestures and words and monologues.  At a certain point tell the campers that you will no longer be calling out ‘word’ or ‘gesture’ but that they are on their own for deciding when they want to say or do their word or gesture as they walk the space.  At a certain point the leader will drop out of tapping people on the shoulder as well and inform them that they are free to do their monologues whenever it strikes them.  When this free phase has gone on for a couple of minutes, the facilitator should invite campers, on their time, whenever they feel ready, to come and sit back down in the circle without talking whenever they feel ready.    (10 minutes)

*FACILITATOR NOTE: if you play music during the last part of the program - which is encouraged, it should be music that is Israeli but that is NOT familiar to the group.  We want Israeli music that will serve the experience without distracting campers into singing along to their favorite Israeli songs.  Please avoid that, even at the cost of not playing any music at all.*

Once everyone is seated back in the circle, the facilitator should turn off the music and begin the discussion (see below)

 

Variations: 

The session, as-is, is for all ages but the very young (4th grade and down) who will not have enough social information about how even people in their own community engage with each other for this to be a palatable program for them.

Curricular Subjects: 

Comments

Ben Rotenberg's picture

Great for Israelis, and great for americans

I love this activity.  When the GE's and camp staff tried the program in December, it had a wonderful way of grabbing staff members to use some theatrical skills to relate to Israelis.  We tried this program at Shefayim with great results - it helped the Israelis to take on one image of Israel that they see all the time, and then try to "represent" that to their campers.   

Even though we often try to avoid stereotypes because they are not completely true, I think the idea of using a "type" helps participants take a character and build a story around that person.  Characters get to have their own voices and lives, and the more we invest in them, the more we understand about the world they come from.  

In order to make sure that people are respectful though, I think it would be best for campers above 8th grade, or for staff members.  I agree that you should not use it for anyone below 4th grade.