- Use a ready-made lesson plan on “Judea Under Roman Rule” HERE.
- Herod’s Buildings — Read about the architectural legacy of King Herod and design four stamps that depict each of his creations and their significance today.
- How should Jews respond to political oppression?
Micha Josef Berdyczewski (1865-1921) was a Russian-born writer of Hebrew, a journalist and a scholar. He appealed for the Jews to change their way of thinking, freeing themselves from dogmas ruling the Jewish religion. Berdichevski mocked the rabbinic culture that began in Yavneh and elevated the Zealots of Jerusalem who fought the Romans in 66-70 CE. His polemics were fierce and his rejection of the religious past angered many.
The last generation of Jews and the first generation of Hebrews
Berdyczewski called on his contemporaries to cease being the “last Jews,” to prefer the sword over the book and to become the “first Hebrews.” He formulated other mottos, expressing his demand for a change of values. These mottos also became popular sayings, making him one of the founders of secular Jewish nationalism. Among these was his elevation of “actual Jews” over “abstract Judaism,” his declaration that “the living man had an advantage over his ancestors’ heritage,” and his radical pronouncement that “We are Hebrews and we worship our hearts.”
Some argue that the writings of Berdichevsky carry within them the ethos of the Jewish revolt that began in 66 and continued through the fighting spirit that led to the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.
Research three Jewish pacifists who favored compromise or zealots who sought to fight Jewish oppression and articulate which political approach you find most compelling.
4. Give your students our Kahoot on Herod the Great!