ISRAEL CORE COURSE (ICC): Ancient to Modern History of Israel and the Middle East
This course will introduce the key periods and personalities in the history of Israel. The ICC will seek to discover the moments and personalities from the past which/who helped in the evolution of Jewish heritage, culture and tradition. The course is chronologically based, asking students to place themselves in the shoes of history – its movers and shakers – and then respond and react based on their own perspectives.
The ICC covers ancient near eastern civilization, biblical criticism and thought, the effects of Hellenism on ancient society, the medieval period and Crusades, the Enlightenment period and Emancipation and the modern era. As the course progresses, it will focus much more on modern issues in Jewish history and specifically the advent of Zionism and the State of Israel. It will focus on the roots of modern Zionism in the late nineteenth century and then examine the patterns of Jewish renewal and its effects on Israel as a modern state and people.
The ICC sourcebooks will provide most of the materials used with an emphasis on reading primary sources. The ICC is also taught outside the traditional classroom setting. The students are actively involved in at least two weekly field trips including visits to archaeological sites and many other locations throughout Israel. Students are asked to take advantage of their environment by studying as a group, learning as individuals, meeting people with recent historical stories to tell, going to the places where events took place, walking throughout the land, debating its rich history, charting, playing, writing, being dramatic, singing, dancing, goofing around, testing, being tested, discovering, talking and generally . . . striving to be wise students, which the rabbis of the Talmud defined as those who learn by asking many questions. Because the course covers such an enormous time period, it will inevitably skip some more minor events and issues and delve more deeply into other topics.