Photo taken in the Jewish Quarter of the
Old City of Jerusalem on August 21, 2001 by Wendy
Marx, teacher at Kehillath Shalom Synagogue in Cold
Spring Harbor, NY
Using this photo: It is recommended that teachers
use this photograph and the discussion questions below with
students no younger than 9th Grade.
Description and background of the photograph:
Israel has Hebrew as its primary official language, but
Arabic and English are also officially acknowledged as well.
Therefore most street signs in Israel contain all three
languages. It appears that someone has spray-painted over
the Arabic writing on the sign.
Students should be aware that there has been and
continues to be a struggle between Israelis and Palestinians
over how two peoples whose national homes are in the same
place can each fulfill as well as compromise on their
Activities and/or questions for discussion:
- Without any background presentation, ask the students
to write an imagined history of which describes how the
flag and street sign came to be in their current state.
Who put the flag there and why? Who wrote the graffiti
and why? Ask them to approach the question as both a
fiction writer and detective.
- The name of the street is "Habad Rd." What do you
know about Habad?
- Have the group do research to find out what street
signs look like in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and
in Israeli Arab towns in Israel. Who is in charge of the
naming of the streets and what kinds of names and
organizations are listed? What language are the signs
- Israel is a Jewish state; its founders established
the state as a homeland for the Jewish people. But Israel
is also a democratic state. Roughly 80% of the citizens
of Israel are Jewish. Given these facts, what do you
think are the advantages and disadvantages of Israel
using the Star of David, a Jewish symbol, on its national
- If you were living on this street, what would you do,
if anything, about the street sign?
- Do you think there is a connection between the flag
and the street sign? Explain.
- What feelings come up for you when looking at this
picture? Do you feel pride in seeing the beautiful
Israeli flag? Do you feel shame regarding the possibility
that a Jewish graffiti artist felt compelled to cross out
Help make this page more useful!
What other questions or background information might be
added to this page? I'm also looking for links to maps of
Jerusalem at a scale where you can read the street names.
Send any feed back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Also please report your experience of having used this
photo in a classroom discussion.