Update / Questions

Logo of the Israel Ministry of Tourism
Okay, so first of all, I’m really sorry it has taken me so long to post anything here. Things were pretty busy around here with the course and life. But I am going to try to post more frequently here. I’ll just start trying to write shorter posts!

First, I wanted to catch you up a bit on what’s been going on, and then I wanted to respond to a reader.

We are now about four months into the class, and while we still have a lot still to learn and see, I feel like we are finally getting a good basis in a number of areas. This is true both of our coursework and our siyurim (trips). In class, we’ve covered topics like geography, geology, Biblical archaeology and fauna of Israel in depth, and have also learned such topics as Israeli politics, climate, legal aspects of guiding and guiding methodology.

Our trips have taken us to such regions as the Shefelah (Lowlands), the Dead Sea vicinity, the Sharon coastal plain, the Judean desert and the Negev (south of the country). That latter region we covered in the first of our overnight trips, a two-day jaunt that took place just before Pesach (Passover). That was a lot of fun, and I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday with my classmates at night.

Of course, we still have a lot of gaping holes to be filled. For example, we have barely learned anything yet about Christianity and Islam, we’ve only begun touching on the many wars that the State of Israel has faced in its short history and there are still massive swaths of pre-State history that we’ve not addressed at all. In terms of our tiyulim (hikes), we still need to see the North of the country, Tel Aviv, plenty more in Jerusalem and many other areas that we haven’t even been to yet.

Celebrating my birthday on the overnight tiyul in the Negev

But as I said, we are now well on our way, and I love the way the pieces are fitting together. Look for more in depth updates on some of our trips, as well as reports on class studies (and maybe some more “primers” like the one I did on the history of Israel) in the future. But this all also brings me to the next topic I wanted to discuss here.

I have mentioned before that I love to hear from you guys. Comments on my posts are encouraged and very welcome. But so are questions. You can always feel free to leave them in the comments section, or to email me by clicking on the link at the top of the sidebar. So I wanted to answer now what is an “implied question” from a reader.

I was going through the page view stats and noticed that one reader spent about a half hour reading through much of what I’d written on this site. Of course I was flattered, but more importantly, I noticed that the search terms that had brought him (or her) to my blog was “ministry of tourism exam samples.” Now I know that that is something I haven’t included here before, but since he came via that search term, I want to reward him for his time by posting some samples now. I just hope he/she comes back to the blog to find the answer!

I received a copy of the written exam from this past November. This is the one about which I wrote previously. To give the background, anyone who is looking to become licensed and who has completed a course takes a written exam. That exam has two parts to it. First there is a section of 50 multiple choice questions of which you must answer 45. This is for 30% of the grade. Then there is a section when you need to plan an actual tour for one of three hypothetical groups. A large portion of this section includes writing a longer “elaborated point,” sort of a sample of what you would say at one location in front of the group. Those who pass the written test move on to take an oral examination afterward.

To give a better feel for things, I am going to repost here a few of the multiple choice questions, and one of the sample tour options.

From Part 1:

Which of the following areas borders on Samaria (Shomron) to the east, Nahal Taninim to the north and Nahal Yarkon to the south?

a. The Sharon
b. The Carmel coast
c. The Judean Lowlands
d. The Yizre’el Valley

Which of the following plants is one of the species that herald autumn (mevasrei stav)?

a. The coral peony (admonit hahoresh)
b. The Galilee orchid (sahlav hagalil)
c. The groundsel (savion)
d. The sternbergia (helmonit)

Khirbat al-Mafjar (Hisham’s Palace) is located near:

a. Jericho
b. Qumran
c. Khirbet Mazin
d. Sartaba

The Battle of Arsuf in 1191 was won by the:

a. Fatimids
b. Ayyubids
c. Mamluks
d. Crusaders

What was the Sanhedrin?

a. The Council of Elders at the time of the Return to Zion (shivat tsion)
b. The supreme Jewish religious and political institution
c. A body established by Ezra the Scribe
d. The council of the 24 priestly courses (mishmarot hakehuna)

From Part 2:

Group No. 1
A group of Jewish students from abroad, in Israel to visit sites related to Jewish history from ancient times until the present. The tour areas are marked on the attached map.

The tour leaves from Tel Aviv on Monday at 08:00 and ends at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday at 19:00.

Please note:

1. The tour must include the following regions: Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Ayalon Valley, the Jerusalem Hills and the city of Jerusalem.
2. The tour must include a half-day excursion in Tel Aviv-Jaffa and a full-day excursion in Jerusalem that includes all historical periods from the First and Second Temple periods onwards.
3. The elaborated point must be in Jerusalem and related to the tour theme.

I hope this is helpful to some of you considering taking the course in the future. And I also hope this will encourage others of you to ask questions if you have them! 🙂

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