"For Man is as a Tree in a Field"
Activities - Full Sessions - Part One
In order to run the activities below successfully, you will need to prepare a wall exhibition reflecting the essential elements of the discussion, which can be used to conclude the series.
Wall Exhibit for Background and Conclusion
The Ecology of the Jewish Community
This exercise is based on the classic, psychology laboratory of the 3 types of regimes and behavior within them.
Explore the ecology of imaginary Jewish communities Identify the ideal conditions for Jewish community survival and individual well-being
Three panels with forests placed on an imaginary map, each with an insert of an enlarged tree [3 types] with roots, trunk, branches, leaves, fruit, etc.
Each forest will look different and be titled "The Jewish Community in a *** State", where *** refers to the type of regime [see below]. The lone, enlarged trees will be labelled "The individual in the forest".
Ensure that the groups have marker pens, plastic cards and tape.The Design and the Regimes
Largessia - Laissez-faire Regime
Design a forest, labelled "Jewish community" which should resemble other forests in the environment very closely. The "Jewish community" forest has no fencing around it. Make the map look as if the wind is blowing and all the forests are being blown in the same direction. Add in birds, insects, rain, sun, water sources, symbols for good soil... to show that the evironment is supportive, not hostile.
Despos - Despotic Regime
Design a forest, labelled "Jewish community" which should look different from the others in the environment and be surrounded by a high fence, broken through in places. At these spots, mark in wild animals with signs of destruction. Nevertheless, clumps of trees should seem to be overcoming the odds, surviving and unbending in the wind. Water sources bypass this area; the soil is infertile, the weather poor and most of the forest appears stunted or under threat.
Oasia - Isolated, Independant Regime
This time, design the "Jewish community" forest well apart from any other vegetation and forests in the environment. There is no fence, no stream, but there is a spring which has its own little pool. The forest should have many different types of trees, with new growth, its own wildlife - its own, closed ecosystem.
- Either divide the group into three or ask them to assign themselves more or less equally to the different forest panels.
- Each group analyzes and labels the forest, its ecology, the types of growth, the interrelationship with the surrounding environment, using the plastic cards which they tape as appropriate. They then label the elements of the enlarged tree in terms of their significance.
- Presentation - allow time for everyone to walk around and ask questions.
- Each group discusses and notes down answers to the following questions:
- a. What impact do the different environments have on the different forests?
- Is it possible to survive in isolation?
- Which "forest" would you prefer to live in?
- Which is the ideal "forest"?
- What is the relationship between your own community "forest" and its environment?