Israel Studies Project

The Israel Studies Project has brought Israeli writers and scholars of the highest caliber to Urbana-Champaign. A collaboration between Illinois and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, it has moved us to the forefront of national and international efforts in Israel Studies. 

The Israel Studies Project grew out of an op-ed piece by Michael Kotzin, Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Kotzin, who alas passed away since beginning this project, proposed that federations and universities work together to foster the study of Israel at North American college and universities. 

With the joint sponsorship of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and former Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman, we have been able to invite Israeli academics, writers, and artists to come for visits from a few weeks to several semesters. The presence of such prominent Israeli academics and artists gives both campus and community access to important and often little-known work on Israel and the Middle East.

  • Professor Amnon Reichman visited the University of Illinois College of Law on March 8-9, 2018. The visit was sponsored by the Israel Studies Project.
  • Dorit Rabinyan is an international best-selling Israeli author and screenwriter.
  • Michal Aviad, documentary filmmaker, and Smadar Zamir, filmmaker, came to UIUC as part of the symposium A Film of Her Own: Women in Israeli Cinema.<
  • After earning her BA in Comparative and English Literature at Tel Aviv University (Israel), Vered Weiss completed her MA in Comparative and World Literature at San Francisco State
  • Rhona Seidelman is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Israeli History.
  • Guy Ben-Ner is among the world’s foremost video artists.
  • Joseph Cedar visited UIUC's campus in the Fall of 2012 with funding from the Israel Studies Project. Events: 10/21/2012
  • Matan Hermoni is one of Israel’s leading young authors.
  • “Writing the Holocaust: Is it Still Relevant?”, Keynote for the
  • Ron Leshem is one of Israel’s leading young authors and public intellectuals.
  • The German-Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno famously pronounced that “to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric.” This injunction notwithstanding, writers have been grappling with the Shoah sinc