Sunday, July 01, 2007

Text and Context: Integration of Tanakh with History

My work for AVICHAI will keep me busy over the next three summers. During this summer and over the course of the 2007-8 school year, I'm excited to be working on ten PowerPoint presentations, five on Shmot and five on the Megillot. The Frisch School, where I teach, will be teaching these books to all grades in the school over the coming year. My integration program, however, is geared only to the eleventh and twelfth graders.

The five PowerPoint presentations on Shmot will hopefully be on the following topics (although topics are subject to change):
Shmot is replete with ideas about Egyptian culture and acts as a clear polemic against Egyptian belief and practices. My first two presentations will explore Egyptian culture and how G-d undermines it.
Presentation 1: This presentation will depict the awesomeness of the Egyptian empire and G-d's subsequent proving that He is the One, True Awesome G-d.
Presentation 2: This presentation will focus on how the plagues not only attack the Egyptians, but also the very beliefs they hold so dear. The presentation may have to be divided in two, if it becomes too long.
Presentation 3: The presentation will contrast Law Codes in the ancient Near East and Egypt with the Torah's Law Code, the Aseret Ha'dibrot.
Presentation 4: The presentation will be on the sin of the Golden Calf and the nature of what Aaron actually did, especially given ancient practices of worship.
Presentation 5: This presentation will be on Shabbat, the Mishkan and the sanctification of time and space. What exactly does the Torah innovate here that can be contrasted with the ancient world?

The presentations for the Megillot have not been sketched out completely, but 1-2 of them will be on Esther as seen through the lens of the Achaemenid Dynasty, Persepolis and Persian ways of partying.

Note: Many of the presentations can be adapted for elementary school children. I've given integration presentations already for Pesach and Purim, discussing ancient Egypt as well as Persia with a fifth grade class.

Tikvah Wiener
English, Art History, Tanakh Departments
The Frisch School
Paramus, New Jersey


Carrie Moaty said...

I would love to see the Power Points on Sefer Shemot as you work on them. I too teach Sefer Shmot to 5th grade. While they are considerably younger, some of the concepts we discuss are the same. In addition, they study Egypt in Social Studies around the same time. Sounds great!
Carrie Moaty
Greenfield Hebrew Academy, Atlanta

Tikvah Wiener said...

I presented two PowerPoint presentations last year to my son's fifth grade class at Yavneh Academy. One was about Purim and one was about Pesach. My new Shmot presentations for high school are turning out to be more in-depth versions of what I presented in the fifth grade last year. I could email you those.

Tikvah Wiener

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Sounds great. I wouldn't mind having presentations like this visiting my classroom.

Ms. Moaty and Miss Gavrin said...

I would love for you to e-mail me the Power Point on Pesach that you used for the 5th grade, if you don't mind: Thanks!

Carrie Moaty said...

I would love for you to send me the Power POint on Pesach that you showed to the 5th Grade!