Call Us: 301-828-1912   /   / 6125 Montrose Rd, Rockville, MD, 20852

  • w-facebook

Gary Simms: 9-10 Grade: Syllabus: Zionism


This is a semester-long course which relies on the textbook, “The Zionist Idea” by Arthur Hertzberg. We will review the origins of Zionism in early 19th century Europe, and the distinctive streams of Zionism which emerged in the period of 1880-1930. This includes reading and discussion of a wide variety of views, including Herzl’s need to resolve the “Jewish Problem,” the thoughts of Marxist/socialist Zionists, religious Zionists such as Rav Kook, and the nationalists including Weitzman, Ben-Gurion, and Jabotinsky. We will include some historical perspective, and aim to explain how these “streams” are still relevant in Modern Israel.


Lesson 1: Introduction and Overview

    A. What is Zionism?

    B. How does Zionism relate to the Land, to the religion, and to the Jewish People?

    C. Is Zionism a form of nationalism?

Lesson 2: Precursors to Modern Zionism 

    A. Rabbi Yehudah Alkalai - “The Third Redemption”

    B. Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer - “The Human Role in Redemption”

    C.  Moses Hess - “Rome and Jerusalem”

Lesson 3: Outcry from Russia

    A. Peretz Smolenskin - Why Eretz Yisrael?

    B. Eliezer Ben-Yehudah Hebrew as a Living Language

Lesson 4: Leo Pinsker 

    A. Rise of Nationalism in Europe

    B.  “Auto-Emancipation”

Lesson 5: Herzl’s Arrival

    A. Biography    B. “The Jewish State” (1896)

    B. “The Jewish Question” and “Causes of Anti-Semitism”

Lesson 6: The First Zionist Congress

    A. Herzl’s Address

    B. Max Nordau’s Address, “The New Zionism”

Lesson 7: The Agnostic Zionist: Ahad Haam

    A. Biography 

    B. “The Law of the Heart”

    C. “The Jewish State and the Jewish Problem”

Lesson 8: New Jewish Voices

    A. Hayyim Nahman Bialak 

    B. Inaugural Speech at Hebrew University

Lesson 9: Utopian Socialists

    A. Nahman Syrkin- “Jews and Socialism”

    B. Ber Borochov –“The National Question and the Class Struggle” and “Our Platform.”

    C. Aaron David Gordon –“People and Labor” & “Yom Kippur”

    D. Berl Katzenelson: “Revolution and Tradition”

Lesson 10: Religious Nationalists

    A. Rabbi Samuel Mohilever – “Message to the First Zionist Congress”

    B. Yehiel Michel Pines – “Jewish Nationalism Cannot be Secular”

    C. Edmond Fleg: “Why Am I A Jew?”

    D. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (introduction of biography)

Lesson 11: Rav Kook

    A. “The Land of Israel”

    B. “The Rebirth of Israel”

    C. “Lights for Rebirth

Lesson 12: Martin Buber

    A. Biography

    B. “The Jew in the World”

Lesson 13: Ideologist in Action

    A. Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan – “what Kind of Life Should We Create in Eretz Israel?”

    B. David Ben Gurion (biography & “The Imperatives of the Jewish Revolution”

Lesson 14: Ben Gurion vs. Revisionists

    A. Ben Gurion: (Conclusion of “The Imperatives of the Jewish Revolution”)

    B. Vladimir Jabotinsky – “Evidence Submitted to the Palestine Royal Commission”

Lesson 15: Chaim Weitzman

    A. Biography

    B. “Zionism Needs a Living Content”

    C. “On the Report of the Palestine Commission”

Lesson 15: Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver

    A. Biography

    B. “Toward American Jewish Unity” 

    C. “American Jewry in War and After”

Lesson 16: What Have We Learned?

Maryana Harouni: 9th-10th Grade: Leadership and Prophets

  1. Who is Joshua?

  2. Similarities between Joshua and Torah

  3. Conquest and settlement

  4. Joshua’s leadership

  5. Judges

  6. The Cycle of Rebellion

  7. Ehud

  8. Dvorah

  9. Gideon

  10. Shimshon

  11. Yiftach

  12. Concubine in Givaah

  13. Need for a king

  14. Samuel’s birth

  15. The Ark

  16. Mishpat Hamelech

  17. Shaul

  18. David

  19. Temple

  20. Israel/Judah



  1. What type of leader will step into the breach left by the death of Moses?

Elders, priests, judges, kings, prophets

  1. Who will unite the people? 

  2. Who will lead them in battle? 

  3. What qualities of leadership did each leader possess?

  4. What were each leader’s faults?

  5. What set the prophets of Israel apart?

  6. What were the decisive moments in their lives?

  7. Who will preserve the Covenant between God and Israel?