Why you should be teaching Balfour
Too many times a significant mark in our modern Jewish History comes and goes without so much as a glance. Ignorance and apathy towards the events in history that have led the Jewish Nation and the State of Israel to what it is today leaves us disconnected from our past. And it is our strong roots, acknowledgements and appreciation of our past that powers us to work towards our future.
That is why, as the centenary of the Balfour Declaration is swiftly coming along, we at Israel Foundation have created a well thought-out program for use in any educational setting- formal or informal which will bring the Balfour Declaration to the forefront of Modern Jewry.
We hope that in this way, just as the Declaration was heard and respected around the world at that time, so, too, its legacy should be preserved and maintained.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW GREAT IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED !
Write a diary entry as Chaim Weizmann from the night before he is scheduled to meet with Lord Balfour to discuss the wording of the declaration.
• What thoughts do you think were running through his head?
• Do you think he was nervous? Why?
• What do you think he might have told himself to stay calm and confident?
Group students into partners, have 1 student play Lord Balfour and the other Lord Rothschild.
• Have them role play the conversation when Lord Balfour presents the declaration.
• Have students share and discuss what they said to each other.
Write a newspaper article about the Balfour Declaration.
• Give background on why it is important and the general purpose of the declaration.
• Explore the different reactions of those living at that time.
Pretend you are at the meeting where Lord Rothschild presents the Balfour Declaration to the Jewish Federation.
• "Live Tweet" the meeting as you think it happened.
• Include hashtag suggestions (#BalfourBreakingBarriers).
• Let this be a lighthearted activity aimed for teenagers
Write a "thank you" note to Lord Rothschild, Chaim Weizmann, or Lord Balfour
• Think about whether or not you have benefitted from their actions.
• As a student living almost one hundred years later, do we owe them a debt of gratitude?
Hold a debate. You can have Team Weizmann & Rothschild vs. Team Balfour.
• What are their views?
• Who does each team represent? (the Jewish people vs. the British government).
• Have each team research background information on the situation in 1917.
• This can be a large group activity.
• Make it YOUR Declaration
• In 200 words, share your declaration in favor of Jewish nationalism and reconstitution of a Jewish state in our ancestral homeland
- #KnowBalfour - A History Game
- Text-based discussions
- Community Engagement Programs
- Youth Movement and Campus Activities
- Youth Movement and Campus Activities
Additional discussion topics to use in any Balfour learning setting.
- Who was Balfour/what was his position in the government?
- Who was his correspondent, and what was his position?
- Who else backed the idea of the State?
- Why did Balfour write the Declaration in the first place?
- What influence and position did it have?
- Why did Balfour or anyone else think it was a good idea?
- Who didn’t like the idea, and why?
- What was going on in the world at the time?
- What was the sociopolitical background of the geographical area, and how did her inhabitants feel about it?
- Do any governments take it into account today regarding Israeli policy? Why or why not?
- Should it have any relevance today or not? If so, could the same thing be said today, or would it be different?
- How much do you think the world recognizes and endorses the right for Israel to exist?
- * (For older ages: Do you think they’re honest about their endorsement, or do you think they’re hypocritical?)
- Do you think your peers/family/friends know about the Balfour Declaration? To what extent? Why don’t we hear about it more these days?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
A celebration of the Balfour Declaration invites a deeper understanding of the long history of our struggle to create a place where the Jewish people could live free in our ancient homeland.
We aim to collect 1 million signatures by the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 2017 to be presented to world bodies, organizations, and heads of state.
MAKE IT YOUR DECLARATION!
SIGN, SHARE AND HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Together, we can show the world that the international recognition of the Jewish connection to Israel perpetuates all over the world today.
Interested in launching the Balfour Initiative in your community? Contact us for programming ideas and free resources for you to use in making this a meaningful and successful campaign all over the world.