The Middle East Today & Reflection Assessments on “The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness” High School Lesson


It is difficult to end the study of the Holocaust without providing students some information on the Jewish population of today. In order to do that effectively, one must endeavor to explain the tense situation in the Middle East between the peoples of Israel and Palestine.

Beginning with the U.N. Partition of 1948 and continuing till this very day, the tensions in the Middle East continue to be a source of global fear and discord. What is the fate of the state of Israel in the future? What of the state of Palestine? Of all the holy sites both sides lay claim to? Use the downloadable power point that explains the tensions in the regions that have existed since the Holocaust.

Then, engage your students in some careful and thoughtful reflection based around this unit of student. First, have them examine a quote by Thomas Paine, an American writer during the American Revolution and ask them to reflect and write about the topics presented. Next, give them the full page of quotes from President Roosevelt, who led the country through most of World War II and ask students to identify thoughts of Roosevelt’s that are in sync with the contributors to the symposium. Then, ask them to reflect on a few questions and speculate as to how Roosevelt would have responded.

To close out the study of the Holocaust, perhaps you might think of showing The Boy In The Striped Pajamas or Schindler’s List. A word of advice, send home a permission slip first so parents know those movies are being shown- these movies can be extremely emotionally disturbing, but also prove to be valuable educational tools.


The State of the Middle East Today

Franklin Roosevelt Quotes

Thomas Paine Quote and the Holocaust


  • Image in the Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

This post is part of the series: The Sunflower: on the Possibilities and LImits of Forgiveness

Engage your High School class in a gripping non-fiction work. Simon Wiesenthal tells the story of his experience in a Nazi concentration camp.
  1. Teaching "The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness"
  2. On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness: Responses from Dith Pran and the Dalai Lama
  3. On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness: Dennis Prager and Desmond Tutu's Responses
  4. Susannah Heschel, Harold Kushner & Joshua Rubenstein on Forgiveness
  5. The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness The Middle East Today Reflection Assessments