(Kudos to Rav Natan Slifkin for the link to this video on his indispensable website www.rationalistjudaism.com)
The focal point of this unit in Ivrit is the following clip of one of the leaders of the zealots, Moishele Friedman, who is being interviewed by the mainstream media. What I find absolutely amazing in this short clip is just how much it has to teach us on so many levels, how much it touches on (Jewish history, Israeli politics, the religious-secular divide, extremism, the Shoah, intolerance, modesty and immodesty, the distinction between Medinat Yisrael versus Eretz Yisrael, and so on). It is an extremely rich educational tool that should be mined deeply by both Ivrit teachers and Judaics teachers alike. But first things first - the students had to break into groups, and translate the dialogue line by line into English.
Once they actually understood what was said, this clip left my students amazed and completely befuddled, with a thousand urgent questions, both in Hebrew and English - the ensuing conversation was also in as much Hebrew as the students' ability allowed. Here on the West Coast, my students are really only exposed to a handful of local community Rabbis - apart from the Chabad shluchim here, there is no other Chassideshe community, and no comparable Chareidi community to what you see in the clip. Their experience with the frum world is overwhelmingly positive, and it is not a stretch to say that they believe that if you are a religious person (or even dress the part) then you are therefore "good". Watching this gave new meaning to the term v'nahafoch hu.
"Mar Abba, why would they spit on a little girl?"
"Aren't they religious, look at how they are dressed?"
"What's a פרוצה?
"Why would they call someone a prostitute? That's so gross!"
"Mar Abba, she's dressed so modestly, what did she do wrong?"
"What happened to the lady in the car, why did they smash her car and throw a rock on her leg?"
"What's a kollel?"
"Why are they dressing kids in concentration camp outfits? Why do they think Israelis are like Nazis or Communists?"
Welcome to Israel, kids. Welcome to this complex, beautiful Jewish world of ours. Welcome to your family, warts and all. What you are watching is ultimately connected to you in so many different ways.
Sure beats your typical worksheets in Ivrit class, no?