Center for Israel Studies supports research, creative work
By My-Ly Nguyen Sperry '00, MBA '02
Pictured: Shay Rabineau, assistant professor of Israel Studies and associate director of the Center for Israel Studies, teaching students along a section of the Israel National Trail in January 2015.
Binghamton University is primed to become a leading location for students interested in examining the complexities of Israeli society, thanks to a new Center for Israel Studies on campus.
Binghamton received a $450,000 grant from the Israel Institute in Washington, D.C., to hire three tenure-track faculty members, develop a minor and create a Center for Israel Studies that will facilitate undergraduate and faculty research, as well as run lecture series and workshops throughout the academic year.
The Center for Israel Studies and new Israel studies minor, which was launched this 2015-16 academic year, support University Road Map priorities to enhance the educational experience at Binghamton. Israel studies courses examine areas such as culture, religion, politics, literature, human rights and Israel-Palestine.
The new faculty, in the Judaic Studies Department, will work with center-affiliated faculty in departments such as history and philosophy. The center’s first faculty hire is Shay Rabineau, assistant professor of Israel studies.
"Though our classes are popular, our ability to fund programs, research and travel is very limited," says Associate Professor Randy Friedman, director of the Center for Israel Studies and chair of the Department of Judaic Studies. "This year, we were able to support fewer than 10 students. Next year, we hope to expand these opportunities to more students and to offer significant support for a study-abroad program in Israel."
Yael David, a senior majoring in Judaic studies and minoring in education, says the new center has fueled her passion for Israel.
“Being able to learn about Israel at Binghamton allows me to expand my knowledge base beyond what I can read in the news,” says David, also president of Hillel at Binghamton.
“Taking an Israel studies course this semester has helped me create a relationship with a professor who is an expert in the discipline I hope to pursue. I feel lucky to be attending one of the few universities in the country that provides me with all of these opportunities.”
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