Challenge Course Israel

In this session we will explore how to use group challenges, low ropes, and no ropes courses to look at challenging issues in Modern Israeli History.

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Core Learnings: 

Ropes courses provide an active way to engage with the core of a challenging story in history
Transforming a story into a physical feat that needs to be accomplished is a powerful way to learn Israeli history and understand the values being reflected in the story
You can use minimal amount of supplies and just the Goodman resource cards to teach about Modern Israel History
The Jewish people have faced many challenges throughout history and have needed to find ways to overcome those challenges


Cave in Ein Gedi:

  • This is a reworking of the classic Spiderweb Challenge. Depending on the size of the group split the group into two or three teams. While many people might have done this activity or Cow Fence, this is slightly different.
  • The goal is to get someone in through the spider web without touching the web, once there that person needs to grab a piece of the cloth (a bandana), and then get back again.
  • For additional complexity they can be challenged to do this silently. If anyone touches the web, you get sent back. The group that does it faster wins.
  • After explaining the rules the facilitator explains that they are David and his posse who are confronting King Saul in the cave in Ein Gedi (1 Samuel 24).
  • At first the facilitator asks the participants about the challenge: Saul came to kill David, what it meant to do this activity in silence, confront your oppressor, and show restraint in not killing him in response.
  • After the challenge the entire group will reflect on the story of David and Saul. Then they will reflect on how it felt to confront a bully. Then we will look at the role of confronting the bully in Israeli history. When are we David and when are we Saul?

History of Aliyah (Lighthouse Activity):

  • Phase 1 – Blindfold one person and put him/her at one end of a room or outdoor area that has various obstacles in it (i.e. rocks, cones, chairs, trees, etc.). Select another group member to be the “lighthouse” and place them at some point in the obstacle course. Give the blindfolded person an object representing the Jewish people.
  • The job of the lighthouse is to guide the ship (blindfolded person) verbally through the rough waters (obstacle course) avoiding any of the obstacles safely to Israel. The catch is that the lighthouse is only allowed to give directions when the ship is facing the lighthouse. We start with Event Card #2 Pre-State Aliyah (1881-1939). The game grows in complexity as it moves through the History of Aliyah to Israel.
  • Phase 2 – Same game play but now there are two lighthouses. One that is trying to help the Jewish people to get to Israel and the other is the British trying to steer them away. Use Event #1 Balfour Declaration, Event #3 Aliyah Bet (1939-1948), and Place #10 Atlit Detention Camp.


Variations could include a variety of obstacles and challenges and content might include:

  • Event #6 Aliyah From Arab Countries (1949-1952) -- Explore complication of having multiple ships on the water at the same time.
  • People #11 Natan Sharansky – How might the Masses Rally for One to Escape?
  • Event #14 Ethiopian Aliyah – Getting to a Place in Israeli Society
  • Event #16 Russian/Soviet Aliyah – The Jewish Questions
  • People #14 Hannah Senesh – Invert the narrative to having her leave Israel to go to Europe to Save Jews
  • Event #11 Operation Entebbe (July 4,1976)
  • People #2 Theodor Herzl – Use for Reflection on Exercise to explore the the idea of a Jewish Homeland
  • Society #4 Law of Return

Background Cards: