So who are we, really?
This is exactly the kind of question we ask at the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry. How did we get here? Who were our ancestors and who were their ancestors? Is our culture fundamentally isolationist or universal? Is it true that “in every generation, they rise up against us to destroy us”? Why did the Bar-Kochba revolt fail? Or did it? Where did our ancestors live in the Middle Ages? The Rhineland? Morocco? Iraq? What does it mean to be Mizrahi? Or Ashkenazi? What is Zionism? What did it mean to be a “Reform Jew” in the past, and what does it mean today? How has Moses Mendelssohn influenced all of our lives? How can our history be studied from a feminist perspective? What is Jewish about Sigmund Freud? Did the Holocaust also happen in North Africa?
At the Faculty of the Humanities we learn about the human spirit. At the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, we learn about the human spirit and about our own spirit: who we are. We learn how fascinating Jewish history is, and how it offers a broad, comprehensive and variegated view of world history, of which it is an integral part.
The Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry is the oldest department of Jewish history in Israel, and was one of the first in the world. Its teachers include some of the best lecturers and scholars in Israel and the world, and reflect the political, religious and cultural diversity of Israeli society.
The department combines uncompromising academic excellence with a warm and friendly atmosphere, in which students enjoy personal attention at all stages of their studies.
What is more …
The department strives to provide students with comprehensive knowledge of the history of the Jewish people, from biblical times to the present day, within the broader context of general history. Students are also taught historical and critical thinking, including the ability to comprehend complex and multifaceted processes in Jewish history, as part of world history.