Letters from Israel
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Letters from Israel

Lesson Summary:

Pick and choose from several letters and activities as you learn more about Tzipporah "Zippy" Porath s experience in Palestine/Israel from 1947 to 1948. Explore the themes of "home" and "risk taking" and help students think about the different perspectives of characters in the stories told by Zippy s letters. This letters may need to be excerpted or adapted for younger /lower-level readers.

Enduring Understandings:

  1. There are times when people choose to risk everything for something important--for themselves as well as for their communities. 
  2. Many people have made sacrifices in order to find a community or place where they feel they belong. 
  3. History and global events shape the experiences of individuals and groups.

Essential Questions:

  1. What does it mean to belong to a community? 
  2. What does "home" mean? 
  3. When and why are people compelled to risk their lives for an idea? 
  4. How did the historical context at this time shape Jews perceptions about "home" and Israel?

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore


(documents available via link below in "procedure" section)

  • copies of Zippy s letters: "Letter from Jerusalem, November 30, 1947" and "Letter from Haifa Bay, November 29, 1948" 
  • paper
  • pens/pencils 
  • OPTIONAL: speakers/CD player/etc to play 1947 radio broadcast, invited guest speakers to join your class


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Music Connectionsmore

Evidence of Learningmore

• Participants will know the basic history of Jewish settlement and military action around the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
• Participants will be able to identify motivations of the soldiers who fought for the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel.
•Participants will be able to articulate diverse perspectives of the stakeholders involved in the letters, namely Zippy and her parents/family members.


Lesson Contributors

The Jewish Women’s Archive is a national public history organization dedicated to telling the stories of Jewish women and inspiring change and inclusivity in communities everywhere. The collections and encyclopedia on jwa.org invite learners of all ages to connect with role models from history and today. Nearly 100 lesson plans for kids, families, and adults help Jewish educators weave stories about identity and activism into programs about Jewish values, holidays, and ritual. And, JWA’s professional development programs and trainings encourage educators to connect with one another to create new ways of engaging the communities they serve. As we say at JWA, “You cannot be what you cannot see,” so check us out anytime, anywhere, at jwa.org.