Jewish Identities in Israel: Confrontations, Crises and Novel Conceptions

Lecture | April 2 | 5:30 p.m. | Doe Library, Morrison Library

 Tomer Persico, Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies, UC Berkeley

 Library, Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

Over the past three decades the Israeli society witnessed significant revisions in the way it understands itself and its Jewish identity. The collapse of the peace process, the "disengagement" from Gaza and the growing emphasis on self fulfillment have changed social structures that were taken for granted in the past, and have propelled each of the different Jewish "tribes" in Israel - the Secular Zionist, the Religious-Zionist and the Ultra-Orthodox - into an identity crises. We will examine the manifestation of and the reasons for these developments, and present two opposing but complementary frameworks for self-understanding that are defining Jewish identity in Israel anew.

Dr. Tomer Persico has taught for the last eight years at the Department for Comparative Religion in Tel-Aviv University, and has joined the Shalom Hartman Institute as a Research Fellow four years ago. His fields of study are contemporary spirituality, Jewish renewal, forms of secularization and trends of secularization and religiosity in Israel. His book, The Jewish Meditative Tradition, was published by Tel Aviv University Press in 2016. He is an activist for freedom of religion, writes the most popular blog in Hebrew on religion, and has written hundreds of articles on these subjects for the popular media. This year he has begun working as the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley, and as a Shalom Hartman Institute Scholar-in-Residence.

Reception starts at 5:30 p.m.
Lecture follows at 6:00 p.m.

 reh@berkeley.edu