The University of Haifa is proud to announce the opening of a new program, first of its kind in Israel: The Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies.
The program aims to strengthen the bond between the American Jewish community and Israel with the help of academic knowledge that will lead to a deeper and more accurate understanding of the different movements, characteristics and culture of American Jews today. The program is funded with the generous help of Jewish-American Philanthropist Jay Ruderman of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
“Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, American Jews admired Israel and its leadership. Today things are different, but we, as Israelis are still not willing to admit a change has occurred”, says Prof. Gur Alroey, the head of the new Ruderman program and also the head of the School of History at the University. “We have this stereotype about American Jews that no longer exists in reality. We are in the process of alienation, stemming from the fact that we continue to treat American Jews according to our old stereotype. If things continue this way, they may lead to an irreversible detachment”, he said.
The University’s President Amos Shapira said, “One of the primary strategic issues in Israel is the connection with the United States, and throughout the past three decades I believe this bond has weakened. The program initiated by Prof. Alroey will create a new generation of educated and engaged citizens who share a deeper understanding of the American relationship”.
Starting this fall, a class of 21 graduate students will embark on the one-year, seven-course program, which will survey Jewish-American immigration history, modern foreign policy, and governmental structures, as well as gender issues and the religious makeup of U.S. Jewish communities. The highlight of the curriculum will be a 10-day trip to the U.S. and a visit to NYU, where students will attend a series of lectures by NYU professors and meet with New-York based Jewish students. The program is fully funded and all accepted students will receive a full scholarship.