Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

0M2A0897The 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.

Together the Institute’s programs promote student and faculty engagement by developing opportunities for research, programming, and mentorship; by bringing visiting faculty and scholars to UC Berkeley; and by organizing colloquia, programs, and classes to strengthen academic inquiry and discourse across the Berkeley campus.

The Institute was launched in 2011, and draws its 22-member faculty committee from Political Science, Sociology, Economics, History, Jewish Studies, Music, as well as the Schools of Law, Journalism, and Business.



“Israeli Artists in Conversation with Israel”

This conference on April 5-7, 2017 will provide an intricate way of examining Israeli society, in its diversity and its disparities, through the arts and particularly through the provocative work of young and emerging creators in the arts scene.  The conference will include scholars and artists, an artist workshop for students, discussions, interviews, a round table, an installation, and performances, and will look at multiple artistic mediums from music, to theatre, to film, to poetry, to visual culture, to dance.  The conference will place special emphasis on the mixing and meeting – between art forms, between groups, between identities, between art and technology. More information here.

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Student Spotlight Video 

This video introduces the Berkeley Institute’s Undergraduate Fellows Program, which fosters a rising cohort of student leaders through more intimate engagement with the study of Israel, Jewish Law and Thought, and Jewish Identity.The students talk about their rich experiences as fellows, which include developing key professional and leadership skills, launching and teaching student-initiated courses, and planning compelling student events related to the Jewish experience and to Israel and its neighbors. 

Undergraduate Fellowship: Call for Applications

The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies invites UC Berkeley undergraduate students to apply for the Berkeley Institute Undergraduate Fellowship. The fellowship is offered for one year with a possibility of extension. Applications rolling for Fall 2017.  Learn More

Applications for Visiting Faculty and Scholars Program

The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies invites applications for visiting faculty and scholars for 2017-2018.

More information on the Visiting Faculty and Scholars program and how to apply here.

Fall 2017 Courses:

Comparative Politics: Democracies, Dictatorships, and Hybrid Regimes in the Middle-East and North Africa (Political Science 140Z) Prof. Rami Zeedan, The Open University
Course #46500, Mondays, 2-5 PM, 126 Barrows

Social Structure, Inequality, and Political Cleavages in Israel (Jewish Studies 123)
Prof. Michael Shalev, Hebrew University
Course #46688, Tuesdays/Thursdays, 11-12:30 PM, 124 Wheeler

Spring 2017 Courses:

Critical Issues in Israeli Society: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, from the Social Sciences to the Arts
(Jewish Studies 39Q)
Prof. Rebecca Golbert, Berkeley Institute Executive Director

The Political Economy of Israel (Political Science 149S)
Prof. Michael Shalev, Hebrew University

Writing Gender in Modern Hebrew Literature (Hebrew 204B )
Profs. Chana Kronfeld and Ilana Szobel (Berkeley Institute Visiting Professor, Brandeis University)
Tue 1:00-4:00, Collaborative graduate seminar; in Hebrew

The Un-Chosen Body: Disability in Israeli Literature, Film, and the Arts (NES 190H)
Professor Ilana Szobel, Berkeley Institute Visiting Professor (Brandeis University)
Wed 2:00-5:00

Jewish Identity in 21st Century Theater (JS 198 002)
DeCal Facilitated by Emili Bondar, Instructor of Record: Noam Gil
Thursday, 5:00-8:00 PM, Dwinelle 83
 Film: A Look into Israeli Minorities (JS 198/98)
Facilitated by Leora Ghadoushi and Nikola Kendis
Tuesday, 5:00-7:00 PM, 106 Dwinelle



Video Links:

Fall 2016 Semester

Nissim Mizrachi: Is Israel Stuck Forever with its Political Faultlines?

Arnold Eisen: American Judaism 2016: From Theory to Practice and Back

Spring 2016 Semester

Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Israel: Changes, Inequality and the Quality of Life

The Failures of Ethics:
Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities

Israel at a Major Crossroad: Challenges and Opportunities 

Building the Solar Revolution in Frontier Economies: Supporting Sustainable Development in Israel and Africa

“A Look in the Mirror: Reflections on the Social and Economic Issues Facing Israel Today”

Fall 2015 Semester

Itamar Rabinovich: Israel Facing a Changing Middle East: Link to video

Identity Inside Israel and Out: A Conversation Through Movement: Link  to video

Willy Forbath: Diaspora and Group Rights: The Jewish Constitutional Movement – Link to video

Ruth Calderon: From Secular Judaism to Jewish Renewal in Israel – A Personal Story and Public Point of View – Link to video

Video Archive from Past Semesters


Program on Jewish Law, Thought, and Identity

Program on Israel Studies