Centre for Continuing Education

Israeli Literature as a Window into Society Course

Jewish culture. Learn about Jewish culture with us.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and 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 Hinda Young on 0432 567 917.

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.

We examine 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.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • 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)
  • become familiar with many of the voices of Israeli authors and poets
  • encounter an Israeli society that is diverse, challenging contemporary, proud yet self-critical
  • 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 with a general interest in this topic area. No prior knowledge is necessary.

Delivery style

This ten-lesson course centres around text study and discussion between participants and the facilitator.

Recommended reading

You will be required to read the novel The Blue Mountain by Meir Shalev, (NY: Harper Collins, 1991), translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin. This text will be studied in Week 9.

All other materials studied are in the student reader which is handed out in the first session.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

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

We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.