Jerusalem – The Jewish Capital: Then and Now - An Innovative Online Program Taking Students on Location to Find New Relevance in Ancient Texts and Sites.


Source: JETS Israel


Against the backdrop of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, groups of Diaspora Jewish day school students went on location to examine a parallel scenario that took place 3000 years ago – King David’s decision to move his capital to Jerusalem. As they learned the relevant sections of Sefer Shmuel, they examined the geographical location and terrain of the city of David, as well as the archaeological findings discovered there, in order to answer the following questions:

What were the political, religious, and security considerations behind David’s choice?

Why did David choose to move the capital to Jerusalem when he did? Was it worth the risk?

How was David able to conquer this highly fortified city?

Were these students just lucky to be in Israel at this time? No, they actually participated from their own classrooms in Maryland, Colorado, New York, and New Jersey using a new innovative online program developed by Herzog College in conjunction with JETS. The program, entitled Hayinu Kecholmim, incorporates a combination of asynchronous and blended learning activities that enrich the study of Sefer Shmuel by:

  • Helping students analyze the text from different perspectives including a variety of commentaries, and within the contexts of Israeli geography and relevant archaeological finds;
  • Placing the text within the context of larger overarching themes that permeate Sefer Shmuel, and other parts of Tanach as well;
  • Utilizing online technologies to promoted interactivity, collaborative learning, higher order thinking, and multi-sensory learning;
  • Considering the impact of the values, dreams, and aspirations found in Sefer Shmuel on contemporary Jewish life.

The students went on to compare David’s conquest of Jerusalem, with other battles for Jerusalem during the times of the Maccabees, in 1948, and in 1967. They also examined the centrality of Jerusalem in Diaspora Jewish life, including customs in their own lives that are designed to preserve the memory of Jerusalem.

The Hayinu Kecholmim program can be previewed on the JETS online resource center, and is available for use at no charge.

Updated: May. 23, 2018