Centre for Continuing Education

Israeli Literature as a Window into Society Course

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Learn about Jewish culture the smart way with Jewish Culture courses at CCE, the University of Sydney.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies
Course materials developed by The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning - a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For specific enquiries regarding the program, please contact Hilary May Black on 0400 435 099.

This series of ten sessions, developed by the Melton Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, aims to provide an insight into the national psyche through examining poetry and prose written by leading Israeli writers since the state was declared.

Examines Israeli society through the lens of poetry, short stories and a novel. The works are diverse, challenging, at times proud, at times haunting, at times self-critical. Familiarity with Israeli writing enables readers to understand the complexities of Israel through the eyes of Israelis which leads to a greater understanding of the Israeli identity and psyche.


  1. Examine Israeli society through the lens of poetry, short stories, and the novel ‘The Blue Mountain’ by Meir Shalev (only to be read by week 9).
  2. Become familiar with many of the voices of Israeli authors and poets.
  3. Encounter an Israeli society that is diverse, challenging contemporary, proud yet self-critical.
  4. Gain profound insight into the Israeli national psyche.


  • If I Forget Thee… Longing for Zion.
  • Hebrew or Jewish? Speaking in Tongues.
  • Tel Aviv – The First Hebrew City.
  • A Poet and His City: Amichai’s Jerusalem.
  • The Trauma of the Shoah.
  • Pro Patria Mori – War and Its Impact.
  • Women’s Writing.
  • The Clash between Land and Identities.
  • What Lies Beyond the Blue Mountain?
  • The Zionist Dream Revisited.
  • Love of the Land – Ami Chai.

Intended Audience

Suitable for anyone, no prior knowledge is required.

Recommended Reading

Students are required to read the novel The Blue Mountain by MeirShalev, (NY: Harper Collins, 1991) Translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin. This will be studied in week 9. All other materials studied are in the Student Reader which will be handed out in the first session.

There are no other pre-reading requirements.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • I found the course very interesting and the lecturer was superb, well prepared and very knowledgeable.