Crucial Moments in Israeli History Through the Lens of Short Stories

March 8, 2018 Sudbury $350.00
(Photo: The Palmach Archive)
(Photo: The Palmach Archive)

The idea for this innovative course first arose from the observation that busy adult students generally find well-written short stories more immediately compelling than scholarly texts. Focusing on famous short stories written by Israeli authors, and accompanied by optional selections from historical background materials, this course introduces students to critical periods in the history of the modern state of Israel, starting with the earliest waves of immigration and settlement, and proceeding week by week to the Lebanon War, with a final week on stories written by Arab and Palestinian authors.

Written by men and women, Ashkenazim and Sefardim/Mizrachim, Israeli Jews, Arab Israelis and Palestinians, secularists and traditionalists, these stories open up for us uniquely visceral and imaginative windows on many of the compelling events, and still unsettled debates, that have shaped the history of Israel.

The authors we will be reading include Shai Agnon, Yosef Haim Brenner, Benjamin Tammuz, Amos Oz, Savyon Liebrecht, Aharon Megged, Mira Magen, Shimon Ballas, A.B. Yehoshua, Ayelet Tsabari, Sayed Kashua, Samira Azzam and Yahya Yakhlif. (Biographical information is supplied on the authors being read each week.)

Although various optional academic materials will be provided each week to shed light on the complex developments we will be studying, our central guide and companion for this journey will be Anita Shapira’s “Israel: A History” (2012).

This course was initially developed as a way of helping students to engage with Israeli history. However, experience has shown that the stories, as engaging and evocative works of literary art, also provide students with an opportunity to enter empathetically into the profound existential challenges and emotional dilemmas that have confronted men and women throughout the history of modern day Israel.

This 11-session class runs from March 8 to May 31 on Thursdays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Taught by Jacob Meskin, Ph.D.

For more information, contact Sara Riedner Brown at 617-559-8708 or

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Fact Sheet
Thursday, March 8, 2018, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Congregation B'Nai Torah
225 Boston Post Rd
Sudbury, MA 01776
$350.00 per person

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