Remember Social Studies?

I am probably dating myself, but when I was a kid we learned, in addition to the three r’s, what was called social studies. I am not sure if there was a specific curriculum set out, but my teacher decided one year that we would learn all about the Iriquois Indians. I grew up in upstate New York, so the teacher thought it would be appropriate to learn about the people who used to live in our “neighborhood.”

Looking back on it as an adult, I am a bit confused at the choice of subject matter. Although I was not religious at that time, my parents sent me to a Jewish school. All of the kids were Jewish – we didn’t have a native Indian in the whole place. So while the subject was interesting – it had nothing at all to do with my heritage.

One of the reasons for our making aliyah was for our kids to be exposed to their Jewish roots – and not only through books. Where else can you literally go to the places that resonate in Jewish history?

Now the Knesset has approved a plan to refurbish the places in Israel that represent our Jewish heritage, and they even have a plan to create walking trails from one to the other. I think it sounds great! Someday I’d love to take my kids (or grandkids, depending on how long it takes to set these up!) on walking tours over the summer vacation.

This is part of a plan to re-acquaint Jews with their roots – especially those who may have been “lost” to post Zionism. It certainly is easier to be proud of your country when you are aware of your own people’s history. What greater way to do that than by “walking the walk”?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shira Salamone
    Feb 22, 2010 @ 17:42:24

    What do you mean, “it had nothing at all to do with my heritage.” You were an American, weren’t you? This is an unnecessary slap at your former country, and, as an American, I don’t appreciate one bit. 😦

  2. Batya from Shiloh
    Feb 24, 2010 @ 04:41:02

    I was also educated in New York State, but in public schools, and our curriculum was set by the govt, school board etc. It was systematic teaching us city, state, national and world history etc.

    What I don’t like here in Israel is the split of the subject from our all inclusive “social studies,” which had history, geography, economy, citizenship etc to all these as separate courses, tested separately and not integrated. That’s one of the reasons especially secular-educated Israelis don’t feel connected to our Land.

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