Exploring the History of Zionism and the Modern State of Israel


Course presented in partnership with

November 2, 9 & 16, from 7-9pm

Many of us have traveled to Israel, are engaged with Israel advocacy and have family and friends in Israel, yet we are often looking for information to understand Israel’s history and the situation today. With this in mind, we are pleased to offer a series of three “Living Room Conversations” will be held in the evening for people who want to deepen their knowledge and enter the conversation from an advanced beginner point of view (i.e. they have some prior knowledge or exposure to Israel). Topics will cover pivotal moments in history, a little bit of politics, media literacy, current events, Arab/Israeli/US relations and so much more.  The course is team taught by Gann educators, Dean of Jewish Studies Rabbi Jethro Berkman and Israel Program Coordinator and History teacher Dr. Jonathan Golden, who developed this course specifically for this format.

Specifically, the three sessions will explore the following topics:
1)     Hatikvah, “The Hope” - an overview of the birth and competing visions of Zionism, the settling of the land and the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
2)    HaMatzav, “The Situation” - a brief history of the modern state of Israel, looking at the borders, explaining the origins and meaning of key concepts and events such as occupation, settlements, the Oslo Accords and the Intifadah.
3)   Hayom V’HeAtid, “Today and the Future” – explores Israel’s current political landscape and the prospects for Israel’s future, including the implications of the Iran deal, anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses, and possible ways out of today’s apparent political impasse toward a brighter future.

The class format draws on Gann’s pedagogical model, creating an engaging environment that employs discussion. Gann is grateful to CJP for the support to bring this course to the community, which allows us to offer the class with a $36 registration fee for the 3 sessions. To register, click here. Sessions are two hours long, which include a 90 to 100 minute class session.  

About the teachers:
A teacher at Gann Academy for 18 years, Dr. Jonathan Golden is an American History teacher and Israel Program Coordinator, for which he oversees teaching and program development for the Israel program for Gann's students. During his tenure at Gann, he has taught AP American History, chaired the History Department, served as Assistant Head of School and Director of Academic Operations.  A graduate of Princeton University, he received his MJEd from Hebrew College and PhD from Brandeis University.  At Brandeis, he studied American Jewish history under the tutelage of Professor Jonathan Sarna and wrote a dissertation entitled From Cooperation to Confrontation:  The Rise and Fall of the Synagogue Council of America.  In 2007, he was the recipient of Hebrew College’s Sydney Hillson Memorial Award for Distinguished Leadership in and Commitment to Jewish Education. He is the Chair of AJC ACCESS Boston, the young leadership division of the American Jewish Committee’s Boston office and a member of AJC’s Global ACCESS Steering Committee.  He also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Camp Yavneh which he attended for 13 summers as a camper and counselor. 

Rabbi Jethro Berkman is Dean of Jewish Studies at Gann Academy. He is a member of both the Reform Movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.  In rabbinic school at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Jethro was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and was twice honored with the Ann Pinkenson Prize in Rabbinics.  Through a Dorot Fellowship in Israel, Jethro studied at the Yakar Center for Tradition and Creativity.  He has also studied at the Harvard Divinity School, the Hebrew University, the Pardes Institute, the Conservative Yeshiva and Machon Schechter. Prior his studies at RRC, Jethro worked for several years for Seeds of Peace, an organization that helps teenagers from regions of conflict learn peacemaking skills.

To register for Israel101b, click here.