The Origins and History of Zionism

To better understand the present, we must understand the past. In this course, we will apply this principle to better understand the modern State of Israel. As the rhetorical wars of “Zionism” vs. “anti-Zionism” escalate, the subject has never been more pressing. We will examine the larger political and historical context out of which Zionism emerged as a national liberation movement for the Jewish People in the nineteenth century.

We will explore the differing and opposing ideological streams of Zionism and will learn how they determine the political divides in Israel even today. We will review the emergence of Palestinian nationalism, and look at the competing narratives of these two nationalist movements. We will review the astonishingly unlikely and remarkable history that led to the creation of the modern nation-state of Israel. And we will apply our insights to the contemporary geopolitical and ideological landscape.

This WJC course will parallel the same course that Rabbi Jonathan is teaching for Lifespring, the lifelong learning community that meets at the WJC on Wednesdays during the fall and the spring.
Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the entire series; each class will build on the previous week’s material.


Upcoming Classes

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