JBuzz News February 10, 2013: Jewish scholar Rabbi David Hartman, founder of the Hartman Institute, dies at 81

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Jewish scholar Rabbi David Hartman dies

Source: JTA, 2-10-13

Rabbi David Hartman, a Jewish scholar who founded the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, has died….READ MORE

David Hartman, rabbi known for promoting pluralism in Jewish world, dies at 81

Source: WaPo, 2-10-13

Hartman Institute/Associated Press – This undated photograph provided by the Shalom Hartman Institute shows rabbi David Hartman, one of the world’s leading Jewish philosophers who promoted both Jewish pluralism and interfaith dialogue. The Shalom Hartman Institute, founded by the rabbi more than 30 years ago, said Hartman died Sunday Feb. 10, 2013, after a long illness.

Rabbi David Hartman, one of the world’s leading Jewish philosophers who promoted both Jewish pluralism and interfaith dialogue, has died. He was 81.

The Shalom Hartman Institute, founded by the rabbi more than 30 years ago, said Hartman died Sunday after a long illness.Hartman is survived by his wife and five children. His funeral was scheduled for Monday….READ MORE

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JBuzz News August 16, 2012: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Weizmann Institute of Science: Three Israeli Universities Rank in Top 100

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Three Israeli Universities Rank in Top 100

Source: The Jewish Press, 8-16-12

View of the Hebrew University campus at "Mount Scopus." Hebrew U. was ranked 53rd in the world.
View of the Hebrew University campus at “Mount Scopus.” Hebrew U. was ranked 53rd in the world.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASh90

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Weizmann Institute of Science were ranked in the top 100 universities in Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s authoritative 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

The Hebrew University achieved the highest rank – 53rd, with the Technion in 78th place, and the Weizmann Institute coming in at 93rd. Significantly, this is the first time that more than one Israeli university made the top 100….READ MORE

JBuzz News July 29, 2012: Israeli summer camps venture into Jewish identity building

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Israeli summer camps venture into Jewish identity building

Source: JTA, 7-29-12

Noting the success of American camps, some Israelis educators are trying to adapt the concept to fit their youth when it comes to informal Jewish education and identity building….READ MORE»

Hagit Messer-Yaron: Israel’s open university is booming

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Israel’s open university is booming

Source: The Jewish Chronicle, 11-24-11

She is president of Israel’s largest higher education institution. But it’s not Tel Aviv University or the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Professor Hagit Messer-Yaron heads the Open University, which has 46,000 students on its books.

Founded in 1974, the university plays a vital role in making higher education more accessible in a country whose economy depends on a skilled work force. “It’s easy if you select the best people,” said Professor Messer-Yaron. “But if you start with open admissions, it’s a challenge.”

The Open University is helping sectors of the Israeli population who have been under-represented at university.

Charedim have often been disadvantaged by the limited secular education they have received at schools, so the university has run preparatory classes in maths or English to bring them up to the requisite standards.

The university also has 4,000 Israeli Arab students. “If you take young married women, they are not allowed to go without a male escort. So we have study centres in their villages where they can come escorted.”

Next year a few courses will become available in English, enabling diaspora Jews in the West to study such subjects as secular Judaism or modern Hebrew literature.

Alex Joffe: Israel Studies 101

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Source: Jewish Ideas Daily, 10-3-11

The modern American research university is a house of many rooms.  The field of Israel Studies, which has emerged in the past decade, occupies one of the newest—and smallest—of those rooms.  Israel Studies programs are meant to address a serious problem and take advantage of a large opportunity on campus.  What happens to them in the coming years will tell us something significant about Israel as a topic of study and about the American university itself.

Studying Israel  Jan Jaben-EilonJerusalem Post.  The growth of interest in Israel as a field of serious academic study is not just American but worldwide.

Multicultural Israel in a Global Perspective  Association for Israel Studies.  The Association for Israel Studies, in existence since 1985, plans its 2012 conference in Haifa.

Follow the Money  Alex JoffeJewish Ideas Daily.  Between 1995 and 2008, Arab Gulf states gave $234 million in contracts and about $88 million in gifts to American universities. What has their money purchased?

Jewish Studies in Decline?  Alex JoffeJewish Ideas Daily.  Retiring faculty are not replaced, less research money is allocated, and fewer students enter the field. Is there a future for the academic study of Judaism?

In American universities over the past 150 years and more, academic programs and departments have come and gone.  One reason is that increasing specialization is, to some extent, intrinsic to the pursuit of knowledge.  Departments such as physics and chemistry broke off from one another as their disciplines grew too large and complex to be confined within a single intellectual and administrative space.  There have been fractures in disciplines like anthropology, where scholars of culture and scholars of biology discovered that they could no longer bear one another.

More recently, specialization has also been fueled by demands, from the subjects of study themselves, for inclusion on the academic menu.  Since the 1960’s, we have seen a proliferation of ethnic and gender studies programs meant to bring the narratives of ignored or excluded groups into the larger discussion.  Jews and Jewish Studies programs in American universities have been among the leaders of this drive for inclusion through separation.

At their best, such efforts have created true and valuable diversity—in the sense of new streams of thought—within American universities.  They have also created walled-off compartments in which faculty can preach to choirs of student disciples (or simply to themselves) and the politicians among them can clamor for more resources, often by claiming past or present discrimination.  Unlike Jewish Studies programs, which are largely funded by Jewish donors, most ethnic and gender studies programs are paid for by the host universities themselves.  Such programs can perhaps best be characterized as having produced some scholarship and much politicking.

Israel Studies programs have a different provenance.  After World War II, U.S. universities saw the rise of “area studies,” in which scholars crossed the boundaries of disciplines like history, economics, and political science in pursuit of ‘useful knowledge’ about a geographic region or cultural area.  Middle Eastern Studies departments emerged as part of this trend.  They are long awash in funds from, among other donors, Arab governments.  Predictably, these departments have been dominated by scholars of the Arab and Muslim worlds.  As their subjects have increasingly become the focus of world conflict, these scholars have—perhaps inevitably, in light of the current university climate—become advocates…. READ MORE

Alex Joffe is a research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research.

 

Civics studies in Israeli Schools to focus on Jewish democracy

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Source: YNet News, 7-20-11

Education Ministry approves controversial changes to high school civics curriculum which will emphasize historical justifications for State of Israel’s establishment

A new civics curriculum is underway after being approved by the Education Ministry on Monday. The new curriculum has a bigger emphasis on the connection between a Jewish and democratic state.

The program’s approval encountered a few obstacles due to a public battle between civics teachers and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar who sought to introduce the change.

A source within the Education Ministry noted that while the alterations were relatively moderate, they definitely mark a change towards a more nationalistic and Jewish direction.

Secular, religious students to study civics together

Education Ministry pushing for new program in which religious, secular high schools will hold joint civics classes. ‘This requires a great deal of courage,’ program manager says — Full Story

The changes include additions like a historical introduction to the Balfour declaration and the UN’s partition plan in 1947.

The declaration of independence will be studied with an emphasis on the historical and international justification for the establishment of a Jewish State in Israel. There will also be an emphasis on the State of Israel as the Jewish people’s nation state while explaining it from the perspective of democratic values…READ MORE