The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University has a flagship fellowship called The Summer Institute for Israel Studies, at which faculty from universities in North America and around the world participate in seminars at Brandeis and in Israel that help them design courses in Israel Studies for their home universities. Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, was awarded the fellowship for this summer.
During and through the fellowship, Firestone plans to develop a new course at USC and HUC on Israel in which students will have the opportunity to learn about the country and its history from a perspective that is supportive of Zionism while treating the complexity of Jewish-Muslim/Israeli-Palestinian relations responsibly. The course will treat issues such as competing religious and national narratives of Jews and Arabs regarding land and national rights. It will also study various perspectives on Zionism, mostly from within the Zionist political world but also from the perspective of both Jewish and non-Jewish anti-Zionists, and will treat the new Israeli discourse of “post-Zionism.” Finally, students will consider current and future directions in Israeli identities and study the processes of Arab and Jewish integration into Israeli national identity.