Activity: Galut Or Tfutzot?

The aim of this activity is to examine the concept of galut and whether there are aspects of this concept that play a part in the students’ lives.

  • Ask the students to each write down two lists of associations for the words GALUT (EXILE) and DIASPORA (TFUTZOT in Hebrew). Make a combined set of two lists for the class.
  • Ask the students, as individuals or divided into pairs, to take the list of associations for galut and to write a small piece of no more than two sentences explaining what galut represents. They must use at least three of the words in the combined class list for galut.
  • The entire group of students should then share and discuss some of their different ideas.
  • Now look at the concept of galut using the excerpt from Vayikra and drawing from the various commentary texts (or other additional sources) in order to deepen the discussion.
  • Explain to the students that Zionism has traditionally claimed that all Jews living outside of Zion (the Land of Israel or the State of Israel) are in exile. Why would this be so? Offer the quote by Ben Gurion to illustrate how Zionism saw independence as the opposite of galut.
  • At this point, progress to a examination of the idea of diaspora, using the group’s associations that are already written on the board. If there is time, you may want to repeat the previous request and ask them to draw up a short description of diaspora using some of the terms that are on the list.
  • Ask them whether they see themselves as living in galut or in tfutzot (diaspora). Is there any way in which they see themselves living in exile or is it merely a state of diaspora, of physical dispersion?
  • Discuss this with them. Most will probably see themselves as living in diaspora. At this point, introduce the final piece by Hertzberg, who believes that, even in the most powerful and wealthy of Diaspora communities, that of the United States, there is a sense in which Jews definitely are living in galut. Discuss this idea with the group and see if they agree or disagree.



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11 Dec 2006 / 20 Kislev 5767 0