The teacher produced a pair of long leather thongs. "These are tefillin, or phylacteries," she said. "They are wrapped around the left arm and the forehead during prayer. And this is a tallith, a prayer shawl."
"Why doesn't my Dad ever wear them?" asked a black-eyed twelve-year-old in the Jerusalem classroom.
"Because your Dad isn't religious," the teacher answered.
"Then I'm not either," snapped the boy, "and I don't want to learn about the silly things."
All over Israel last week students in government-run secular schools were reacting with anger or, curiosity or boredom to a new course of teaching that would have shocked their...