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A Brief History of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 12 Adar 5781

7:00 PM - 9:00 PMZoom

This 3-part online class is based on a powerful slideshow with the instructor, Maurice Harris, narrating, followed by some Q and A. Prior to beginning his current work at Reconstructing Judaism, Maurice served as an adjunct faculty member of the Judaic Studies Department at the University of Oregon, where he taught a course called "Israelis and Palestinians" for 4 years.

These 3 sessions will offer a comprehensive but not too overwhelming overview of how Jews came into being as a nation in the ancient Land of Israel, how their many centuries of exile affected their relationship to that land, and how modern Zionism developed into a successful state building movement culminating in the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948. The class also unpacks the major components of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts, taking care to honor both Palestinian narratives and Israeli narratives of what happened and continues to happen. Side by side, the course attempts to describe and humanize the narrative of dispossession and resistance of the Palestinians alongside the narrative of survival, return, and state-building of Jewish Israelis.

Rabbi Harris approaches the subject matter from a progressive Zionist perspective, seeking to develop insight into how large blocs within both peoples tend to narrate and mythologize the conflict; and always striving to honor the depth, humanity, and complexity of all the people involved in the conflict. Rabbi Harris also urges people who take this class to hear other points of view and to raise challenging questions to his presentation. The views and analysis presented are entirely the presenter's, and do not speak for Reconstructing Judaism as an organization.

Upcoming sessions:

Wed, March 17, 7:00-9:00 pm, Part 2: The Founding of Israel, the Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Crisis, and a Chronic Stalemate (1947 - 67).

Wed, April 7, 7:00-9:00 pm, Part 3: The Long Road to Oslo, the Collapse of Oslo's Promise, and Possible Directions for the Future.

About Rabbi Maurice Harris

Rabbi Maurice Harris serves as Associate Director for Thriving Communities and Israel Affairs Specialist at Reconstructing Judaism. After his ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2003, he served as Associate Rabbi and Head of School at Temple Beth Israel (Eugene, OR), and then as Senior Educator at InterfaithFamily. He is the son of a Moroccan-Israeli mom and spent the summers of his childhood with his relatives in Tel Aviv. During the 1990s, Maurice lived and worked at Kibbutz Ein Dor and took part in a number of peace-building and educational visits to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Maurice is also the author of three books: Moses: A Stranger among Us; Leviticus: You Have No Idea; and The Forgotten Sage: Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah and the Birth of Judaism as We Know It, all with Cascade Books.

View/download archived recordings of the sessions here:
Part 1 - February 24, 2021
Part 2 - March 17, 2021

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Tue, June 22 2021 12 Tammuz 5781