The lesson enhanced topics covered in the Jewish history curriculum while also grounding theoretical topics in reality. Battles that had taken place in the times of the ancient Maccabees were thoroughly explored and analyzed. Google Maps software allowed students to survey battle scenes, sifting through rugged landscapes and dust with the use of a simple touchscreen.
The in-depth features of Google Maps were also used to re-enact the paths of certain battles. Due to the consistency of the Israeli landscape, battles from drastically different time periods generally follow similar patterns and utilize almost identical strategies. In an oversimplified case, a general forced to choose between setting up camp on a peak or in a nearby valley will always go to higher ground. The general may be dressed in Roman uniform or may be hauling a modern machine gun, but the outcome will always be the same.
Students were impressed by the demonstration. One junior, Marlo Dayan, remarked that the experience was “an interesting way of interacting with the land of Israel.” Multiple juniors involved in Israel Activism and AIPAC felt that the lesson helped them better understand and connect to Israel as a modern Jewish state. The lesson, all agreed, was worthwhile; in the words of one junior, “It was amazing to view our history through the lens of advanced modern technology.”
~Claire Lessler, Class of 2018