On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The Zionist movement, however, only got to this historic moment because of critical decisions that had been made in the previous 50 years. In this course, we’ll explore these moments of truth when Zionist leaders fiercely debated over two paths that could have taken the movement in very different directions. These fateful deliberations reflected different worldviews which continue to reverberate in contemporary Israeli society. Case studies include: The Uganda Proposal (1903-1905) to accept an alternative to the land of Israel; the Balfour Declaration; the 1937 Partition Plan; the 1938 debate over ‘Purity of Arms’ and military ethics; and the 1944 Etzel revolt against the British.
Rabbi Shlomo Brody
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody is the executive director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society and was the founding director of the Tikvah Overseas Student Institute. A columnist for The Jerusalem Post since 2007, Brody previously served for a decade as a senior instructor at Yeshivat Hakotel and as a junior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. Brody’s writings focus on making Jewish texts accessible to broader audiences while applying them to contemporary social and ethical dilemmas. His work has appeared in Mosaic, First Things, The Federalist, Tablet, Tzohar, The Forward, Hakirah, and other popular publications, and has been cited in Israeli Supreme Court decisions. His first book, A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates (Maggid), received a 2014 National Jewish Book Award. His next book, Judaism Confront War: Jewish Military Ethics for the 21st Century, will be published in 2023. A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, he received rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, an MA in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University, and his PhD from Bar Ilan University Law School, where he continues to serve as a post-doctoral fellow. Originally from Houston, Texas, Rabbi Brody now lives in Modi’in with his family.
Director, Tikvah Scholars Program