The Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

New Name. New Logo. Lasting Legacy.

Welcome to the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (formerly Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies). The Institute houses two core programs, its Program on Israel Studies, a nationally recognized initiative, and its Program on Jewish Law, Thought and Identity, the only program of its type in the western United States.

In honor of our 10th anniversary, the Helen Diller Foundation announced a $10 million endowment gift that will ensure a lasting legacy. Read more about this incredible gift here.


Upcoming Events

Civil Society and Plurality in Israel: Virtual Lunchtime Series

Session 2: Amal Jamal, Reconstructing the Civic: Palestinian Civil Activism in Israel
Thursday, November 4, 2021, 12:40pm – 2pm PT

Register here

The New Governing Coalition and Shifts in Israeli Society

Thursday, October 14, 12:30pm – 2pm

Watch recording here

The Libitzky Lecture on Israel and the Great Powers at UC Berkeley
Israel and the Case of Russia

Thursday, November 16, 6pm – 7:30pm

Watch recording here

Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy

Thursday, November 18, 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Watch recording here.


Institute Celebrates 10th Anniversary With $10 Million Gift from Helen Diller Foundation

UC Berkeley has announced a $10 million endowment gift from the Helen Diller Foundation to the law school’s Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies. In recognition of this generosity, the institute is now renamed the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel StudiesRead more!


Institute in the News

  • California Can Learn Much From Israel on How To Conserve Water, Manage Drought Better

    We can no longer pretend to be surprised by global warming. California experienced droughts in 11 of the last 15 years. The question is not whether another drought is looming. The question is: Why aren’t we better prepared?
  • Alumni Spotlight: Nick Shafer – John Gardner Public Service Fellow, Middle East Bureau, USAID

    The 10th Anniversary Spotlight Series highlights alumni, faculty, students and friends of the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies who are agents of change in their communities and careers and have contributed to the vibrancy of the Institute.   Nick Shafer, Class of ’19, an alumni of the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish […]
  • A Long Conflict Between Israel, Palestinians? No One Wins, Scholar Says

    After years of relative calm, a sudden blitz of violence has raised worries of a new, protracted conflict in the Middle East. What happens next? Predicting the course of armed conflict is always difficult, says Ron Hassner, a Middle East expert at UC Berkeley, but neither side has much to gain by such a conflict, and both have much to lose.
  • Jewish program at UC Berkeley gets $10m from Diller Foundation

    The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley announced Tuesday it has received a $10 million gift from the S.F.-based Helen Diller Foundation to coincide with the institute’s 10-year anniversary.
  • UC Berkeley Jewish Law and Israel Studies Institute Receives $10M Gift from Helen Diller Foundation

    To kick off the 10th anniversary of UC Berkeley’s Jewish Law and Israel Studies Institute, the university announced on Feb. 9 that a $10 million endowment gift has been given by the Helen Diller Foundation.
  • 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?
  • 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 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 […]
  • 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.”
  • Key Funders Invest in the UC Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

    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.