A new family board game created specifically for Christians focuses on a major thoroughfare in Israel where 80% of the events of the Bible happened: Route 60 - historically known as "The Way of the Patriarchs."
The centrality of this road to so many Bible stories inspired two Israeli and Jewish men, Amotz Eyal and Amit Barak to create The Way of the Patriarchs.
When they are not creating board games for Christians to better understand important sites in Israel, Eyal is the founder of the Tazpit Press Service (TPS) and Barak is a tour guide who is devoted to encouraging Israel’s Christian population to become more fully integrated into Israeli society.
Eyal established TPS in 2010 with the intention “to try to show the world what is really happening in Israel.” Since then, he said, requests from Christian media outlets started pouring in. He was invited to speak in churches throughout the US about what was happening in Israel.
“That’s how I found out that [Christian supporters of Israel] are a huge and important audience,” Eyal said. “We work so well together. They are the most strategic allies for Israel in the US and all over the world.”
Eyal and Barak met to brainstorm about how they could create a product that would “help the next generation of Christians to know about Israel and Bible stories and our history. We came up with the idea of a board game built on the geography of Israel and actual historical sites,” Eyal said.
The land of Israel in your living room
“The game brings the Land of Israel to the living rooms of Christians and teaches about The Way of the Patriarchs and the specific sites they read about in the Bible,” Barak explained. “Playing the game connects Scripture to the Land. We believe the game is a unique way to connect Christians to the Land of Israel and, much more, to connect the next generation of Christians to Israel.”
The game was designed for families to play together and for children six and up. The game is structured so that questions raised during play must be answered by looking the answers up in the Bible, according to Eyal.
“It was also created with a goal of helping parents speak with their children about values, among them trying to do good and avoiding evil,” Eyal added.
Why not just make a website or an app?
“We felt it was really important for families to sit together, to find the time,” Eyal said. “We want parents to be able to explain to their kids about the sites.”
For older children, there is an expansion pack that makes the game more strategic and competitive.
“After playing, people traveling to Israel will be aware of beautiful sites they can visit on their next trip,” Eyal said.
Significant Sites in Israel Along One Road
As noted, today the Way of the Patriarchs is called Route 60.
In Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem the local government recognized the historical significance of the road and actually named a portion of the path Derech Avot, which is Hebrew for Patriarch's Way.
Eyal was raised in Psagot and Barak grew up in Nazareth, two contemporary Israeli cities along the same route. Bethel, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Meggido, Shechem and Shiloh are among the sites mentioned in the game.
'Everyone can find their J journey'
To make the game, the pair developed a company they call “Jnnovation.”
“We are coming from Israel, which is the ‘State of Innovation,” Eyal said.
The J stands for Jesus, Jerusalem and Jewish.
“Everyone can find their J in our company,” he quipped.
The creation of The Way of the Patriarchs was funded through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
For the team at Jnnovation, creating the board game was only the beginning. The game itself is at the center of an array of educational projects aimed at connecting Christians to Israel. Eyal and Barak are planning to produce game nights at US churches this summer. They have already built a curriculum for both Sunday school educators and homeschooling parents to use to enable students to learn more about these sites and their history.
“If churches want to learn more, we also give talks,” Eyal said.
Jnnovation’s goal, according to Eyal, “is to bring products with Biblical values to the marketplace.”
A new product involving solving riddles and receiving blessings from the Bible, built on a scroll found near the Dead Sea, is yet to be released.
“More things are coming,” he concluded. “We are a young company.”