The establishment of the State of Israel is one of the most remarkable achievements of the modern era. Never before had a people dispersed throughout the world, deprived of sovereignty for millennia, returned to its ancient homeland to build a thriving country. Who were the leaders and thinkers that helped craft a modern Jewish nationalism for a people so long deprived of self-determination? What moved them? What were their political teachings and key disagreements?
This course is a four-part exploration of the writings, legacies, and debates of Zionism’s early thinkers. We will study the teachings of Theodor Herzl, Micha Josef Berdichevsky, Ahad Ha’am, Isaac Jacob Reines, Abraham Isaac Kook, and other representatives of modern Jewish nationalist thought. In doing so, Dr. Polisar will help us see how the founding disagreements within Secular Zionism, Religious Zionism, and Ultra-Orthodoxy can shed light on the spirit of Jewish nationalism and the internal conflicts Israel still faces today.
Dr. Daniel Polisar
Daniel Polisar is co-founder and Executive Vice President of Shalem College. He previously served as President of the Shalem Center from 2002-2013 and also served as its Director of Research, Academic Director, and Editor-in-Chief of the center’s journal Azure. Before joining Shalem, he was founder and director of Peace Watch, a non-partisan organization monitoring Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the Oslo Accords, and head of the Peace Watch observer team during the January 1996 Palestinian elections. Dr. Polisar received his BA in politics from Princeton University and his PhD in government from Harvard University, where he was the recipient of Truman and Fulbright scholarships, as well as of a Mellon Fellowship. His research interests include the history and philosophy of higher education, education in Israel, and Israeli constitutional development.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.
Rabbi Gabi Weinberg
Director of High School Programs