It’s not easy for American Jews to talk about Israel. Fortunately, a new Hebrew College course is helping adult learners do just that. ”The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring a Multiplicity of Identities Through Story and Film” invites participants to explore the full complexity of cultures in contemporary Israel today.


Drawing on film, short stories, television programs and popular song videos (all in translation), and also taking advantage of helpful scholarly literature, this course will explore many facets of the contemporary cultural experience in Israel.

Long-time Jewish educator and scholar Dr. Jacob Meskin developed the 10-week course and partnered with Hebrew College’s Me’ah program to offer it via Zoom this fall. Due to the very positive feedback from students, he is offering “The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel” this winter/spring on Thursday mornings starting Feb. 10.

Some of the identities and topics explored:

    • Religious and secular Jews
    • Different kinds of Jewish culture (Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, Russian, Ethiopian, etc.)
    • Israeli Arab identities (Muslim, Christian, Druze, etc.)
    • Palestinian intellectual and cultural perspectives on Palestinian identity
    • How changing conceptions of gender affect identity
    • The multiplicity of LGBTQ identities in Israel

Two fall students shared about their experiences:

“It took real creative genius to merge the diverse cultures into a coherent presentation week by week. I found groups like the Yemenite Jews both historically and contemporarily fascinating. Ethiopian Jews are studied from the land they came from and how the Ashkenazi influence affects their living today in Israel. This course stimulates your thinking and I highly recommend it.”

“Jacob is a gifted and multi-talented teacher who makes every class and every theme he presents interesting and thoughtful; I have studied with him many times and can’t wait for the next course he develops to once again be his student.”

To learn more about “The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring a Multiplicity of Identities Through Story and Film,” email or click here. To see the list of all Hebrew College community education offerings, click here.

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