Lesson: The Great Assembly and the Knesset of Israel
Time: Two 45 minute sessions
Topic: The Judicial system through the ages
1. Students will recognize the idea of the High Courts
2. Students will understand how the system worked
3. Students will learn the terms: Elders, Sages, and Menorah
4. Students will gain an understanding of the 3 authorities that rule in Israel
5. Students will understand that the Knesset is the equivalent of Congress
6. Students will learn the terms: Elected positions, elections, democracy, Judicial System
*the students will understand how the school’s values compare to those of the country
-Have a conversation with the students about the values discussed in the lesson
Key words: The Great Assembly, the Elders, Sages, the Menorah, house of Representatives, elections, Democracy, Judicial System
-Write on the blackboard: “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it to Joshua, Joshua to the Elders, and the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets to the Men of the Great Assembly”. Tractate Avot, Chapter 1. Then start discussing the passage.
-Introduce new information- start talking about the Men of the Great Assembly: What is a synagogue? Who could join the Great Assembly? Assign the class a short research paper on the subject of the Great Assembly (legislation, new moon and calendar, compiling the Mishnah and Gemara). Show a picture of where they sat. Have a conversation about what is special about this type of system? What is special about the specific structure?
– Show the video of the virtual tour of the Knesset
– The internal structure of the Knesset is a Menorah and there are 120 members of the Knesset. Undertake votes on bills and voting results are for the most of the 61 members (ask the children why 61?).
-Similar to the American Government, there are three branches; the legislative (Knesset), the executive (the Prime Minister and his Cabinet), and judiciary (courts).
Terms: House of Representatives, elections, Democracy
Introduction: Discuss the student council elections and compare the processes of selecting Representatives.
New information: Provide the students with literature on a Democratic state and have them answer questions about it.
Tools: Video, information sheets
Summary of the Lessons:
1. Where in the Knesset do we see the Menorah and why>?
2. How are elected officials bound by values and how do those values compare to those of our school?
3. Can you also be a leader or are only government officials leaders? Find the differences.