Does a liberal arts education have as its final end the training of citizens? Dan Polisar, one of the founders of Shalem College, Israel’s first liberal arts college, maintains that it does. Israel needs institutions of higher learning that strive to make the men and women who pass through their doors more free (the root meaning of “liberal” in “liberal arts”). Only a sustained and serious exploration of the great ideas and texts that formed the polity in which one was raised can meet this lofty goal. So what does this mean about how students at Shalem will learn texts like the Bible and Talmud and topics like Judaism, Zionism, and nationalism generally? And beyond this, what does the future for Israel look like to Dr. Polisar, now that he has reached his long-sought goal?Listen to the full audio here
Like Dreamers, Yossi Klein Halevi’s masterful history cum biography cum ethnography, has received praise from all quarters. It is a riveting book that presents in vivid colors the development and ideology of two of Israel’s most important movements of the twentieth century: The secular kibbutzim and the religious settlers of Judea and Samaria. It does so through portraits of seven paratroopers who were part of the force that won the battle for Jerusalem in June 1967 – portraits of their life and leadership in the Israel that this war created.
Yossi visited the Tikvah Center recently and sat down with Roger Hertog, Tikvah’s chairman and a supporter of this project for many years. The conversation captured here is worthy of their subject – ranging from behind the scenes discussion of the book’s creation to debate about the implications for the choices Israel faces today.Listen to the full audio here
Israel is an incredible place, where it is not uncommon for contemporary events to evoke fundamental human questions and fundamental questions about the nature of Judaism. One such event is the opening of Shalem College, the country’s first liberal arts college, which not only puts such great questions front and center in its curriculum but also represents, itself, a statement about Jewish national identity and the vexed question of the universal and the particular.
Princeton Alumni Weekly just ran an excellent profile of Shalem, its history, and its goals.Read More
Is it possible to justify the existence of a Jewish state? This question, raised with increased frequency in recent years, is not just a theoretical one. Israel will endure as a Jewish state only if it can be defended, in both the physical and the moral sense. Of course, states may survive in the short […]Read More
One winter after an unusually heavy run of funerals, the rabbi of our Montreal synagogue reminded the congregation that in traditional Judaism, dying was only a minhag (custom); it was not a mitzva. I would like to extend this excellent observation to political catastrophe, which is likewise not a Jewish obligation. Like many other Jews […]Read More
The novelist Saul Bellow is fond of recalling a political incident from his youth. Saul, then an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, was, like so many of us in the 1930s, powerfully attracted to the ideologies of socialism, Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism, as well as to the idea of “the Revolution.” He and a […]Read More
Adapted from the Zalman C. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in Jewish Political Thought, hosted by the Shalem Center and delivered by the author in Jerusalem on January 19, 2006. I know of no other country in the world whose existence as an independent, sovereign state has been called into question for so long and in so […]Read More
Over the past few years, as the Israeli army has become the world’s foremost anti-terrorist fighting force, great numbers of American servicemen and servicewomen have come to Israel to learn from our experience and to apply it in America’s own war on terror. It has been my privilege to host many of these officers at […]Read More
At a time when the state of Israel lies under existential threat from jihadist Islam, and under ideological and diplomatic assault in foreign ministries, international organizations, churches, universities, editorial offices, and other circles of advanced Western opinion—and when even some Jews in the Diaspora seem to be growing disenchanted with the Zionist cause—millions of evangelical […]Read More
From 1996 to 2012, the Tikvah Fund, under the auspices of the Shalem Center, published Azure: Ideas for the Jewish Nation. The Tikvah Forum will be a place to rediscover some of the excellent content from that magazine. In this Azure piece from Summer 2005, Natan Sharansky argues in favor of Theodor Herzl’s vision of a state that enables its various communities to give voice to their unique heritage and culture, on the one hand, but carefully preserves their shared Judaism on the other.
At the Tikvah Center, we just completed a study of various aspects of Herzl’s thought and legacy in a week long course taught by Allan Arkush and Ran Baratz entitled “Herzl, His Critics and His Successors.” This course is part of the Advanced Institute entitled “Moments of Decision, Great Debates.” Stay up to date on more institutes and events that explore the roots of Zionism and their impact on the current dilemmas of the Jewish State.Read More
Sign up for our e-newsletter
Stay up to date on events, institutes, fellowships, and new digital content from the Tikvah Center.