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.