Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

The Berkeley Institute houses two core programs, the Berkeley Program on Israel Studies, a nationally-recognized initiative for the study of Israel, and the Berkeley Program on Jewish Law, Thought and Identity, the only program of its type in the western United States.


Israel and the Great Powers: The Case of China

Ehud Eiran in Conversation with Ron Hassner

Wednesday, September 16th. Watch the recorded program here

Lunch Talk: “Was the Biblical Joseph on the Spectrum?”

Samuel J. Levine, Director, Jewish Law Institute; Professor of Law Touro Law Center

Stephen Rosenbaum , Berkeley Law Lecturer and Disability Studies Scholar and Advocate will serve as discussant.

Wednesday, October 21st. Recorded program will be available soon.

Diaspora-Israel Relations and the U.S. Presidential Elections: A Conversation with David Horovitz, Founding Editor of the Times of Israel 

David Horovitz, The Morton and Amy Friedkin Scholar-in-Residence
Moderated by Sue Fishkoff, Editor of the J. Jewish News of Northern California

Wednesday, November 18th, | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | Zoom, RSVP



Meet Me in the Market: Live Dance Performance from Jerusalem!

On September 9, 2020, the Berkeley Institute traveled (virtually) to Jerusalem for an exclusive live show streamed from Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda, titled ‘Meet Me in the Market.’ This program was part of the c.a.t.a.m.o.n. Dance Company’s “From Jaffa to Agripas” festival.  

Check it out!

Alumni Spotlight: Daniella Wenger – Fulbright Scholar, MPhil Candidate, University of Cambridge

The Alumni Spotlight highlights former Undergraduate Fellows of the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies who are agents of change in their communities and careers. 

Click here to read more!

Berkeley Institute in the News

UC Berkeley students and faculty record an episode of the “Israel and Jewish Identity in the Age of Covid” podcast.
(Photo/Maya Shemtov)

New podcast looks at Israel and Jewish identity in ‘Age of Covid’


Interested in how a plague of locusts impacted Jews and Arabs in Palestine under Ottoman rule in 1915? Or how Haredi communities in Israel today have chafed against government edicts during the Covid-19 pandemic? Or why massive, expensive fortified barriers, like the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the West Bank barrier in Israel, continue to proliferate all over the world?

Click here to read more!

Ron Hassner

UC Berkeley Establishes First Faculty Chair in Israel Studies

MAY 2, 2019

Joining a select group of universities in the world with an endowed faculty chair in Israel Studies, the University of California, Berkeley today (May 2, 2019) announced the creation of the Helen Diller Family Chair in Israel Studies. The chair is the university’s first in the field and will endow courses, research and programs of the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies.

The chair, made possible by a $5 million grant from the Helen Diller Foundation, will be held by Ron Hassner, the Berkeley institute’s faculty co-director and an international relations expert on the relationship between religion and conflict. Hassner, a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award, is an associate professor of political science whose courses regularly draw hundreds of students. In fall 2018, Hassner pioneered UC Berkeley’s first regular course on conflict in the Middle East.

Click here to read more!

Feminist icon Rachel Adler on #MeToo and Jewish law


Early in her lecture last week in Berkeley, theologian and feminist icon Rachel Adler brought up the #MeToo movement, but she quickly narrowed the focus to the #GamAni movement (Hebrew for MeToo). Her target? The long-standing male supremacy embedded in Jewish texts.

“My task,” said the professor of modern Jewish thought and gender at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, “is to problematize certain halachic categories.”

Click here to read more!

Key Funders Invest in the UC Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

January 25, 2019 (eJP)

The Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley has received a $1 million matching grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation of Los Angeles, with the goal of meeting a $10 million endowment by 2024.

The Institute also received grants totaling nearly $2 million from the Koret Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation in partial support of the Institute’s operations as it raises this endowment.

Click here to read more!


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