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Israel: From Ancient History to Modern Headlines with Rabbi Grossman

Israel: From Ancient History to Modern Headlines

Tuesdays, November 27 - December 18 at 7:45 p.m.



Join Rabbi Grossman and guest lecturers to explore the intersection of history, politics, and polemics in this fast paced series designed to provide participants with the myth busting facts and nuanced context to make sense of contemporary social and political challenges facing Israel today. All classes hosted and moderated by R. Susan Grossman.


Recommended Class Text: Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard. Contains useful maps, chronologies and succinct and reliable summaries of complicated events. Available from Amazon SmileSee attached Bibliography for additional suggested reading resources.


Rabbi Susan Grossman, spent years as a journalist covering Prime Minister Netanyahu and traveled through refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank before becoming a Rabbi. Later as a prominent Conservative Rabbi, she was part of interfaith peace delegations to King Abdullah of Jordan and PA President Abbas.  She has served on the Rabbinic Cabinet of Rabbis for Human Rights and has her doctorate in Ancient Judaism from Jewish Theological Seminary.


November 27: Archaeologist and Smithsonian Scholar Dr. Michael Hornum explores The History of the Jews in their Land showing the unbroken continuity of Jewish settlement in the Promised Land from the Biblical through the early Ottoman Empire. 

Recommended Reading: Myths and Facts: 1-12 (Israel’s Roots), 207-210 (Jerusalem).


Dr. Michael Hornum, Archaeologist and Smithsonian Scholar, has 25 years of field experience in archaeology and has his doctorate in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr. He currently manages archaeological investigations in Eastern North America for R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc. His publications include Nemesis, the Roman State, and the Games.


December 4: Jewish community Shaliach and former IDF commander, Shay Rubinstein explores the international context and social and political complexities of The Endless Conflict between Jews and Arabs from early Zionism to Independence through the 1967 Six Day War and its aftermath.

Recommended Reading: Myths and Facts: 13-64 (from The British Mandate through the 6 Day War); 132-170 (the UN and Refugees); 210-239 (Jerusalem and US Mid-East Peace Policy).


Shay Rubinstein is the Jewish Federation of Howard County’s Community Shaliach.  He teaches about Israel and promotes Israel related activities in Howard County. He was a commander in the Israel Defense Forces.  Before entering the IDF,  Shay served with youth advocacy delegations in London and Paris as part of the Israeli Center for Young Leaders. 


December 11:  Former member of IDF intelligence, Zachary Fisch takes us from the Yom Kippur War, the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties, Oslo, internal Palestinian conflicts, Israeli politics and the impact of terrorism on the peace process in this frank discussion on Israel, its Neighbors and the Palestinians.

Recommended Reading: Myths and Facts: 64-131 (the 73 War, Borders and Boundaries, Israel and Lebanon, and Terrorism); 239-298 (US Mid-East Policy, Peace Process,Settlements). Additional Reading: 299-322 (the Nuclear Issue).


Zack Fisch served in intelligence in the Israel Defense Forces and knows Arabic. He has closely followed Arab-Israeli relations for decades and remains closely in tune with developments in Israeli politics, Palestinian activity and Arab-Israel relations.   


December 18: Rabbi Grossman will co-lead with Shay Rubinstein a thought provoking and respectful conversation with class participants synthesizing and reflecting on what was learned in the course and exploring how young Israelis are responding to the current matzav(political situation) in order to better understand How to Talk Thoughtfully about Israel.

Recommended Reading: 171-206 (Human Rights); 323-364 (the Media, the Campaign to Delegitimize Israel).



Register here. Registration $20 for all participants.
Recommended text: Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell Bard
 (available through Amazon smile at www.beth-shalom.net)
Co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Howard County.


Bibliography of Suggested Reading: Compiled by Rabbi Susan Grossman

Recommended Class Text: Bard, Mitchell G., Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, (American Cooperative Israeli Enterprise, 2017).

  1. Alon, Gedaliah, The Jews and Their Land in the Talmudic Age (Harvard, 1989).
  2. Beinart, Peter, The Crisis of Zionism (Picador, 2012).
  3. Collins, Larry and Dominique LaPierre, O, Jerusalem! (Simon and Schuster, 1972).
  4. Dershowitz, Alan, The Case for Israel, (John Wiley & Sons, 2003.)
  5. Grossman, David, The Yellow Wind (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1988).
  6. Lozowick, Yaacov, Right to Exist, (Anchor Books, 2003).
  7. Morris, Benny, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (Yale, 2008).
  8. Oren, Michael, Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Oxford, 2002).
  9. Sacher, Howard, A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to our Time (Knopf, 1996).
  10. Segev, Tom, 1949: The First Israelis, (Henry Hold, 1986).
  11. Senor, Dan and Saul Singer, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israeli’s Economic Miracle, (Hachette, 2009).
  12. Shavit, Ari, My Promised Land, the Triumph and Tragedy of Israel (Spiegel and Grau, 2013).
  13. Troy, Gil, The Zionist Ideas (Jewish Publication Society, 2018).



Date and Time: 
Repeats every week every Tuesday until Tue Dec 18 2018.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 7:45pm
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 7:45pm
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 7:45pm
Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 7:45pm