Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Power points on the Miracle of Jewish History & Dead Sea Scrolls

I am posting links to 2 sample Power point Jewish history presentations to the Slide Share website - The first entitled “The Miracle of Jewish History” focuses on the miracle of Jewish survival through our long history. I show this Power point both at the beginning and at the end of the year. I show it the beginning even though many students don’t know all of the events but many do know enough to relate to it. By the end of the year, after we have covered a good portion of the material, they can really put the whole picture together and see Jewish history from a broad perspective.

Although the slides depicting suffering and persecution are depressing there are a number of points which I believe are uplifting and can inspire the students. First, the very fact that the Jewish people have been able to survive is in of itself a miracle. From its earliest beginnings Israel was surrounded by mortal enemies. That idea is unfortunately quite relevant today as the Jewish state deals with the likes of Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah. The point is that history repeats itself and just as we faced those existential threats early on, we face those same threats again with hope and faith in G-d. These are ideas that the students are attune to in a very real way.

A second message is that not only have we survived but we have flourished despite the trials, tribulations and persecutions. The Jewish people have been at the forefront of the societies they lived in terms of Nobel prize winners and in our contributions to the world in the areas of science, technology, etc. More important we produced great works of Jewish scholarship in the areas of Bible commentaries, Talmud, halacha, moral works and Jewish thought. All of this is a testament to our determination to retain our identity and traditions and to our faith in G-d, especially during the terrible times. You may view the Power point at the following URL -

The second Power point features one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls. Included in the presentation are essential accounts of the discovery itself, the types of scrolls found and why they are so important to Judaism and Christianity.

I have embedded clips from the news channels and various science museums such as the Pacific Science Center in Seattle which held an exhibit of the scrolls there. In the post to Slide Share at - Unfortunately I was limited by the site which only allows Youtube video clips and has a limit of 5 clips per presentation. In my full blown Power point on the Scrolls I also include clips by Professor Lawrence Schiffman as well as numerous clips about the scrolls from other sources such as the Israel Antiquities Authority. I hope to make those available shortly.
Throughout the year the video clips have enlivened the subject material immensely. History and Jewish history can be a dry and boring subject for many students and the images, documentaries, news items clips really brought the material alive. I hope sometime by the of June to make the series of DVDs available and will post again when they are ready.