Teaching Jewish holidays in secular kindergartens in Israel is a major part of the early childhood education curriculum and often revolves around myths of heroism. The telling of these stories frequently evokes strong nationalist feelings of identification with fighting as they describe survival wars and conflicts in which the heroes are mostly male fighters and Jewish victory over the enemy is celebrated. Thus the teaching of the holidays hidden agenda strengthens ceremonial, patriarchal and national ideas. This paper proposes a number of educational alternatives in accordance with critical feminist pedagogy and Jewish values of social justice. The article focuses on three major holidays: Hanukah, Purim and Passover. It shows in each one of them the conventional reading of the holiday which is the traditional way it is being taught in secular kindergartens, the holiday through a critical feminist pedagogy lens and application in early childhood classrooms.
This article explores the mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic aspects of the ways in which the festivals of Hanukkah and Passover were celebrated by the Jewish Communists in Mandate Palestine and the State of Israel. It illustrates how elements of Zionist-socialist culture were adopted by Jewish Communists and integrated in their cultural activities. In a gradual process starting in the1920s and culminating in the mid-1960s, the Jewish Communists created a combination of Marxist ideology and Zionist-socialist cultural practices. However, when a group of young Sabra activists reinforced the Zionist-socialist elements, the balance was undermined, contributing to the rift within Israeli communism.
Familism is a model of a social organization that assigns the family an important role in individual and collective identity. This article proposes a historical analysis and interpretation of the Seder celebrations of Jewish Israelis, in order to explore what is unique about Israeli familism—that it imagines the entire nation as an extended family. This ritual continues to be widely practiced today by Jews of every sector—secular, traditional, and religious. As a result, it has a significant presence in Israeli popular culture. The focus is on two questions: (1) who celebrates? That is, what forum convenes around the table? (2) How is it celebrated? That is, what ritual is conducted during the festive gathering? The historical and ethnographic analysis shows that over the course of the twentieth century, the extended family became the preferred forum for celebration, and that the conformist reading of the Haggadah and the other parts of the ceremony continue on the whole to follow the Orthodox rules, even in secular families. This mode of celebration is analyzed here as an expression of the political image of the entire Jewish people as one large extended family and as a demonstration of the extensive use of Jewish familism in the construction of Jewish identity in Israel today