• Topic: Culture, History, Israel
  • Duration: 8-10 sessions

Melton Course - Israeli Literature - iStock

This course seeks to uncover the diverse and complex faces of Jewish Israeli identity. Beginning with the current state of Jewish Israeli identity as reflected in contemporary Israeli discourse, the lessons then proceed to explore the roots at the foundation of this complex tapestry. The course provides a historic overview of the early Zionist vision, the emergence of the New Jew, and the institutions that shaped the country, providing insights into how Israeli society today reflects the dreams, aspirations, and endeavours of those who settled the Land of Israel. After establishing the historic foundation, the course examines themes, including the evolving religious landscape, the intricate relationship of politics and religion, the interplay of the Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews, the dynamic between Israel and World Jewry, and Jewish Renaissance agents in Israel. Register today.

Course author Dr. Elan Ezrachi is a Jerusalem-based researcher, teacher, and writer who specializes in areas of Jewish peoplehood and Israel-Diaspora relations.

Funding for the development of this course has been provided by Barry and Carole Forman of West Palm Beach, Florida.


  • Israeli Judaism in the 21st Century – Is there a distinct Jewish Israeli identity in contemporary Israel?

  • The emergence of the "Sabra" – How early Zionist immigrants imagined and shaped the character of the next generation

  • From the Pre-State Yishuv to Statehood – The path that shaped Israel as a Jewish state

  • The 1950s – Dramatic demographic shifts in Israeli Society – The emergence of Israeli public education and the politicization of Jewish practices

  • Israel’s Diverse Religious Landscape – Examination of various sectors including Dati, Massorti, Hiloni, and Haredi and the relationship between them

  • The Impact of Politics on Religious and the Secular Life – Religious legislation regarding marriage, divorce, conversion, kashrut and its impact on policies

  • The Mizrahi-Ashkenazi Divide – The relationship between Jews of different origins and roles they have played in Israeli society

  • A Look at the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Sector – The origins, characteristics, and trends within the Haredi world

  • Israelis and World Jewry – The place of world Jewry in Israeli Jewish identity

  • Jewish Renaissance in Israel – Initiatives and movements to revive, invent, and innovate Israeli Judaism