Discovering 3D Judaism, Israel and the Holocaust at the University of Haifa

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By: GALIT DIAMANT | Published On: 7 May 2023, 10:15 am
The Times Of Israel

UHaifa International offers three interlinking master’s programs with a multi-level understanding of Judaism, the Holocaust and the State of Israel

The Modern State of Israel cannot be understood without grasing the full scope of Jewish history as context. The ancient Israelite kingdoms, two millennia of Diasporic life, the emergence of the Zionist movement, the Holocaust, and the seventy-five years of developments within the Jewish State since its founding are all essential background to form a comprehensive understanding of what Israel is today.

With this in mind, UHaifa International has developed three, one-year English-taught master’s programs that will prepare future professionals in Jewish, Israeli, and Holocaust studies with the broad understanding necessary for a fruitful and rewarding career contributing to these fields.

A Fully Rounded Approach to Judaism: Masters in Jewish Studies

UHaifa International’s Master’s Program in Jewish Studies incorporates the full spectrum of current and historical Jewish perspectives, including the unique experiences of different Jewish cultures throughout history. It provides students with the versatile research skills needed to analyze and address the core questions of Jewish Studies, specifically those concerning the historic interactions between local and global Jewish cultures.

“Our program offers a balanced and fully-rounded picture of pre-modern Jewish culture, and explores its relevance in larger trends and global events,” explains Dr. Micha Perry, the Program’s Head. “We’re a good fit for students who are curious about Jewish culture, history, and religion, interested in developing advanced research skills, or looking to pursue a career in academia, education, NGO’s or Jewish community organizations.”

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Dr. Micha Perry – Credit: University of HaifaCredit: University of Haifa

The program offers students opportunities to explore biblical studies, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism and Christianity from ancient to early modern times, Talmud and Midrash, medieval Jewish history, Jewish philosophy, Kabbalah, Hasidism, Jewish mysticism and more.

“Studying in Israel, and especially in Haifa – Israel’s most culturally diverse city- benefits our students by providing a broader perspective on the conveyance of Judaism in a multicultural context,” adds Perry. “That’s why we incorporate many field trips in the program, so that students can experience our unique multicultural history and heritage firsthand.

The Master’s program in Jewish Studies attracts students from all over the world, for a multitude of exciting reasons. Frederik Reforvian Baziduhu-Zaluchuf for example, Uhaifa International’s first student from Indonesia, chose this study path for professional reasons. “As a youth pastor, I need to study where the Bible was written and understand its content from a Jewish perspective,” he explains. “The profound knowledge I’m learning in the International Jewish studies program is helping me develop my preaching career.”

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Frederik Reforvian Baziduhu-Zaluchuf Credit: University of Haifa

Besides focusing on the three chronological cohorts of Judaism – Biblical, Antiquity and Medieval to Modern periods, students can also take courses in other International programs such as Israel Studies, Holocaust Studies, Hebrew or Arabic.

Learning from the past to protect the future: Masters in Holocaust studies “Our goal is to pave the way for a new generation of Holocaust experts,” says Anat Weiner, Director of the Weiss-Livnat International Master’s program in Holocaust Studies. This innovative one-of-its-kind program explores the Holocaust through versatile perspectives, including History, Anthropology, Psychology, Education, Art, and Technology. Its multidisciplinary concept provides students with a holistic approach and practical skills for a professional career in Holocaust education, commemoration or research.

Learning from the Past to Protect the Future: Master’s in Holocaust Studies

“Our goal is to pave the way for a new generation of Holocaust experts,” says Anat Weiner, Director of the Weiss-Livnat International Master’s program in Holocaust Studies. This innovative, one-of-its-kind program explores the Holocaust through a diversity of perspectives, including history, anthropology, psychology, education, art, and technology. Its multidisciplinary concept trains students inthe holistic modes of thought and practical skills necessary for a professional career in Holocaust education, commemoration, or research

These complex perspectives are magnified by the diversity of participating students from across the globe, bringing different narratives regarding the Holocaust and unique motivations for research. “Each student arrives with their personal ‘why’ for exploring the Holocaust,” explains Weiner, “they could be descendants of Holocaust survivors, students from countries involved in World War II, or any other country with a history of genocide. The motivations are numerous, and we encourage students to align with their personal story, interest, or passion

Anat Weiner. Credit: Anat Weiner

One of the main reasons this globally renowned Master’s program stands out is its exclusive internship opportunities in Israel and abroad. These include Yad-Vashem, Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, the Holocaust Museum L.A, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and more, where students acquire hands-on experience and work directly with leading experts on unique projects.

The program is also known for its broad and diverse network of filmmakers, Holocaust survivors, and professional experts whom the students work with in workshops and meet in field trips and at guest lectures, developing relationships that continue graduation. This network facilitates innovative projects, including the development of ground-breaking technological methods that will significantly impact the future of Holocaust research, commemoration, and education in the digital age.

The program takes pride in its excellent students and inspiring graduates. “The past year studying here has been an amazing experience,” says program graduate Christina Andersen, from Denmark. “I interned at Yad Vashem’s research department, made amazing friends, traveled around Israel, and visited Holocaust museums at Yad Mordechai and the Ghetto Fighters House Museum. I hope to continue to a Ph.D

This Master’s program has affected me personally as well as professionally and enriched my life in ways I have yet to understand fully “, adds Ingrid Byström from Sweden, an MA student in U Haifa International’s Holocaust program, “As a teacher, I’m inspired, as a student, I’m challenged and as a person, I’m enlightened.”

From an Idea to a Nation: Masters in Israel Studies

While both Holocaust Studies and Jewish Studies programs examine the past, the Master’s program in Israel Studies focuses on in-depth study of the State of Israel, from the beginning of the Zionist movement to present. The program sheds light on the theoretical foundations of the Zionist project, the relationship between Jewish diaspora communities and the modern State of Israel, and the complexities of Israeli society in face of its multicultural character.

Dr. Asaf Shamis. Credit: University of Haifa

“This international program is designed for students who want to understand the Israeli experience in the broader context of 20th century Jewish history, along with the politics and society of the Middle East”, says the program’s Head, Dr. Asaf Shamis. “It’s ideal for students pursuing careers in journalism, education, diplomacy, tourism, Israeli or Jewish organizations, and other fields that require a broader understanding of Israel and the Middle East”.

“The University of Haifa is the ideal place to experience the historical and multicultural background of Israel”, says Margherita Ledro, from Italy, a graduate student in Israel Studies program at UHaifa International. “There is no other place that can give me the study experience and in-depth knowledge I’m looking for.”

Margherita Ledro. Credit: Margherita Ledro

In fact, the study program covers a broad range of topics, including migration, economics, politics, culture, religion, and the ties between Israel and Jewish communities abroad. It explores significant trends in Zionist ideology and how they evolved over time, including relevant criticism and internal debates. Students learn how the Old Jewish Settlement and later, Israeli society, were consolidated through waves of immigration and examine contemporary Israel within the context of modern Jewish and Israeli history.

Like the first two programs, Israel Studies combines classroom studies with field trips to historical and archaeological sites, kibbutzim, archives, historical museums, and meetups with representatives from different sectors of Israeli society. “This allows students to become familiar with Israel’s society, history, landscape, and geography”, concludes Shamis

Student Field Trips. Credit: University of Haifa

Join the MultiExperience

Situated on the top of Mount Carmel with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, the University of Haifa offers eighteen international Masters Programs for students coming from over 90 countries to a diverse and fascinating multicultural experience. All programs are entirely English-taught and can be completed in one year, while students interested in pursuing the thesis track can prolong their studies and pave the way for their PhD. The first University in Israel to align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UHaifa International has adopted an equal opportunity an inclusive approach, and offers scholarships and financial aid to eligible students.