Featured Partner

Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

August 28th, 2019

With a pioneering model of teaching and programming, the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies engages students and faculty in a rich environment of learning, research, and unique public events. In just eight years, the Institute has transitioned from a start-up to a permanent presence that cultivates young Jewish leadership and continues to change the landscape of Israel studies on campus and in the larger community.

The Institute offers numerous paths for meaningful student and faculty engagement, including opportunities for research, teaching, programming, and mentorship.  The Institute brings visiting faculty and scholars to campus and organizes classes, lectures, colloquia, and conferences to strengthen academic inquiry and discourse around Israel and Jewish topics. 

Visiting Israeli faculty and scholars offer courses and mentorship in diverse fields of interest, including Geography, Political Science, Anthropology, Near Eastern Studies, Jewish Studies, Law, and Economics. The Institute’s Undergraduate Fellows Program fosters a growing cohort of student leaders that in turn create programs and courses for their peers. This cohort will now be able to take advantage of the Institute’s developing  experiential learning program in Israel, which will include on-site coursework and internships with a focus on social change.

It’s great to have such constant offerings from the Institute. These events have piqued my interest in Jewish and Israel topics and I find that I seek out other opportunities to learn more, outside of campus. I’ve always been interested in the news even before being part of the Institute, but now there is a good chance I’ll stay actively involved in keeping up with academic literature that deals with Israel and international relations.
– UC Berkeley Student

In recent years, the Institute hosted the annual meeting of the Association for Israel Studies, brought Israeli Supreme Court Justice Daphne Barak-Erez as The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Scholar-in-Residence, sponsored courses ranging from Israeli Constitutional Law to Religion in Israel, and hosted up to five stellar visiting professors per year to teach and mentor in their areas of expertise.

Staff are amazing at being resources for us even outside of the class and lectures. . . If there is something I want to do that is Israel- or Jewish-related, they’ll go out of their way. The Institute feels like family. At this point, they’ve been instrumental in shaping my college experience.
– UC Berkeley Student

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the Institute will expand and diversify undergraduate courses, student programs, academic programs, and especially experiential learning opportunities. This also is the first year in which Professor Ron Hassner, the Institute’s faculty co-director, will serve as the new Helen Diller Family Chair in Israel Studies.

The Berkeley Institute made academic study of Judaism and Israel a legitimate field of study and discourse on the Berkeley campus. It put Jewish studies and Israel studies back on the map. In the last 3 years alone the Institute has exposed to us for the first time Israel’s water policies, Israel’s high tech, Israel’s supreme court, Israel’s philosophy. These were things you could talk about and research.
– Faculty Member

The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies receives support from the Jim Joseph Foundation. Learn more about the Institute.