In this course, we will explore some of the pivotal moments of 20th-century history in which Jewish history and Jewish destiny were shaped by war. How did Jewish leaders—thinkers and soldiers, rabbis and generals—begin to tackle the novel political opportunities and moral challenges of warfare? We will focus on some of the key ethical and strategic dilemmas of war—including questions of patriotism and dual loyalty, revolutionary movements and actions, and the ethics of killing non-combatants. We’ll study major figures like Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, Vladimir Jabotinsky, David Ben-Gurion, and Menachem Begin, while debating concepts like an “eye for an eye” and “holy war.” The course will also look at challenging case studies—including Jewish participation on both sides during World War I, the Etzel attacks against Arabs in 1939, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and Israel’s remarkable War of Independence.
Earn a Tikvah Certificate
For students who want to take at least 3 courses this summer, you can become eligible for special additional opportunities—including essay prizes/scholarships, special sessions w/ Jewish leaders, and a Tikvah online certificate.Learn More
Meet the Instructors
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
The Tikvah Fund
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody is the founding director of the Tikvah Overseas Students 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. 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 Ph.D. 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 wife Rocky and five children. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jerome Marcus is a lawyer in private practice, and the president of The Deborah Project, a public interest law firm that represents people affected by anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on American university campuses. He is also a Fellow at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, where his work relates to the law of war and Israel’s policies on that topic. Jerome has in the past taught high school classes on American History, the history of Zionism and on the modes of thought shared by Jewish law and Anglo-American law. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s college, business school and law school.
Neil Rogachevsky is Associate Director and Research Fellow at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University, where he researches and teaches Israel studies and political philosophy. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Mosaic, Jewish Review of Books, American Interest, Ha’aretz, American Affairs and other publications. He is currently completing a book on the founding of Israel. He received his BA from McGill University, his MA from the University of Toronto, and his PhD from the University of Cambridge.