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.

  • 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
  • Dalya Bilu is the leading translator of Hebrew literature into English.
  • Irit Linur is one of Israel’s leading writers.
  • Yosef Gorny is Professor of History and Head of the Zionist Research Institute at Tel Aviv University
  • Professor Hana Wirth-Nesher's visit is the fourth in a series of visits to the Illinois campus by prominent Israeli writers and critics, all under the same auspices. Hana Wirth-Nesher is Professor
  • Gail Hareven, daughter of writer Shulamit Hareven, was born in Jerusalem in 1959.
  • Hillel Halkin is a journalist, writer, and translator who visited UIUC's campus for two weeks in the Spring of 2006 through the Israel Stud