Religious educators today have an awesome, overwhelming and lonely responsibility. They may be the final moral bastions between our youth and the decadence of today's society. Burgeoning technology has given a platform to the evilest amongst us to revise history and twist current events to push their own agenda.
Television and movies have given children a thirst for immediate gratification instead of a thirst for knowledge. Teachers today-especially a teacher whose students don't have to get a passing grade to graduate-have an arduous task to capture the attention and interest of our distracted youth. And while we may think our children are in danger, what of the children in other countries. In the Sudan, Christian villages are being surrounded and burned by Islamic fundamentalists. Others are tied up, tortured and left for dead unless they agree to become Moslem. Israeli children ride buses to school and wonder if they will be shot at or if their bus will explode. Country Chinese girls are left in the open to die because their parents are allowed only one child and they need a son to work the farm. Christian Coptic children in Egypt grow up knowing that unless their parents can leave, their future will be filled with fear and they will be prejudiced against by most of Egyptian society. It is almost a full time job just to keep up with everyday events, let alone learn history. What child wouldn't be more interested in what their favorite TV stars or jocks are doing?
But the drama of the events occurring today may determine whether or not there is a Jewish state. These events may even determine whether or not there are any Jews or any Christians. The bible, known as the Torah to the Jews and the first testament to the Christians, is being re-written in the newspapers read by almost a billion Moslems. And the pen is not their only tool.
These same Moslem fundamentalists are digging beneath Al Asqua Mosque to obliterate any traces of our ancient history. Worse, our history is being re-written in the text books of young Moslem children who are growing up to believe that Jews and Christians are their enemies. Some children, such as the Palestinian children, are being taught that it is an honorable and even their religious duty, to kill themselves and take as many of their "enemy" with them as they can. What worse abuse can any child suffer?
You, as a religious teacher, must instill a thirst for knowledge in our children; a thirst for the truth; a thirst to live their lives on a moral high ground; a thirst to speak up against lies; and a thirst for pride in their Judeo-Christian heritage. They must learn to read newspapers and question the source; to surf the net and understand the agenda of those sponsoring the web site; and to study how television can easily distort the truth with photographs or by interviewing known terrorists without questioning the truth of their statements.
Sixty Moslem countries sit in the United Nations. With few exceptions (Turkey being one of them) can tolerate Christian or Jewish minorities in their midst. These 60 countries sit in judgment of one tiny country, Israel, approximately the size of New Jersey, while ignoring their own flagrant human rights violations. Women have almost no rights in most of these countries. Our girls, brought up in a country where they can aspire to any profession or political office, cannot possibly imagine a life where they could be married off to a man twice their age, virtually sold into bondage.
The Bible must be used as a teaching tool. The bible was given at Mount Sinai to the Jews in front of millions of witnesses. This tiny strip of land, insignificant when you look at the world map or compared to the size of the 60 countries that are Moslem, yet this tiny strip of land gave birth to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. To deny the right of Jews to live in Israel, denies the foundations of all three religions.
As explained in the Bible, the land of Israel, all of it, including Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) was destined for the Jews and it is easy to read the bible and trace the journeys of Jews during those times.
Some projects for students to show them how news can be distorted and how they are being swayed without even being aware of it:
1. Have each student in the classroom do a report on 9/11 from a different news source. Be sure one student checks the New York Times, one the New York Post, one a newspaper from Saudi Arabia, one from Egypt, and the Jerusalem Post. Also have them check web sites such as Camera (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), the Zionist Organization of America, MEMRI(Middle East Media Research Institute), and the Simon Wiesenthal site. They will be surprised to find out from Moslem sources and anti-Semitic sites that 9/11 was caused by the Mosad, the Israeli foreign intelligence and not Moslem fundamentalists!
2. Have the class look at a map of Israel and find as many of the cities mentioned in the bible as they can. Especially, have them look for Hebron (the burial place of Abraham and Sarah), Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva, Jericho and Keriath-arba. Then find the biblical significance.
3. Have the class trace the history of Bethlehem and Nazareth in the bible, including the fluctuation of the Christian population over the last 2,000 years. Also, trace the history of the Christian churches in Jerusalem and learn during which years Christians had no access to their holy sites and who was in power when access was denied.
4. Make biblical stories come alive by discussing them in modern terms. Most schools are giving children a liberal viewpoint, which means that we are not supposed to judge anyone. No one can ever take the moral high ground, elevate their own standards or help others to elevate their standards if they do not learn to judge between right and wrong.
5. Have a classroom discussion, led by some of the students, about Moses' journey through the desert and their search for freedom and the land promised to the Jews by G-d. Moses established courts during his journey and these courts established many laws, which are used as the basis for any democratic society today. Have them show the relevance of what happened during the Jews' journey to today's society.
6. Have the class do a research project from the Voice of the Martyrs and find on the map all the places that Christians are being persecuted. Ask the class to think of possible reasons why the main newspapers and news sites do not carry this information.
7. Have the class study how Hitler used the big lie in the Protocols of Zion to turn the populace against the Jews. After that it was easy to convince them to also kill Gypsies, the handicapped, homosexuals, etc. Have them study Arab newspapers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt to see how this same big lie is being used again to whip their populace into a hatred of Jews.
Recently the Saudi Arabian paper stated that Jews murder Christian and Moslem babies and uses their blood for making hamantashen (a Purim pastry). This despite the fact that it is mentioned repeatedly in the bible that Jews must never eat blood. Kosher animals are first killed in a way to ensure they suffer less and then the blood is drained from the animal and then the meat is soaked in water and salt to remove the rest of the blood. Simon Wiesenthal's site and Camera are good sites to find the Arab publications that constantly link Jews and Israelis to devils and Hitler-like monsters.