Courses 2010-2011

Leadership and Social Change: Awareness and Initiative in Public Action

Dr. Ariela Bairey, Dr. Daniel Malach, and Moti Gigi
Dept. of Public Policy and Administration, Sapir Academic College, Sderot
This course deals with two main issues, on both theoretical and practical-experiential levels: individual and social change in a diverse and changing society, and social initiative and leadership. The course exposes the students to mainstream and innovative approaches to leadership as social action that occurs in a historical, social and political context. The course examines leadership as a process that takes place from the bottom-up and laterally, and not only from the top-down. This approach allows every individual in the room to actively examine his or her ethnic and national identities and take responsibility for who they are as members of their social and political environments. Students learn to use their strengths, privileges and shortcomings as they better understand their role in either perpetuating or interrupting social processes, and learn to take action as conscious and responsible agents of social change.
The method of instruction is engaged-critical pedagogy, in which students are challenged to read diverse theoretical approaches, respond to them and interact actively with each other on intellectual-cognitive and personal-emotional levels. As students participate in eh course and are active in organizations for social justice and human rights, the course staff offers a forum for reflection in action, within which consciousness, awareness and action are encouraged as a flexible process of orchestrating group resources, as processes of individual and social change are underway.

Feminism, Accessibility and the Law

Adv. Sharon Sionov and Orly Kuzin-Malachi
Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The course examines the conditions of marginalized women in various sectors of Israeli society, their legal status as workers, mothers, single mothers and partners, and in legal, feminist, and marginalization theories. Israeli society is diverse and consists of groups with varying characteristics and traditions. Many women come from traditional backgrounds which is reflected in their status in religious costs. The course will examine the connections between knowledge, accessibility to law, marginal communities and social rights, and the direct and indirect obstacles that women and girls face when seeking to exercise their rights. The course will study various groups of marginalized women: in Islamic polygamy, the traditional Arab family and society in East Jerusalem, the family structure of the Ethiopian community, and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Students will volunteer six hors a week at shelters for girls, social welfare agencies in East Jerusalem, employment agencies for Arab women, battered women shelters for Arab women, and more.
Jewish and Arab law students will initiate and pursue community work with marginalized women and girls through conducting empowerment workshops and development of a community project. Jewish and Arab women from marginalized communities will be hosted at the Hebrew University Campus to expose them to the academic environment.

Marginalized Populations, Human Rights and Social Change

Dr. Edith Blit-Cohen and Tami Gross
School of Social Work, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
This course deals with civil and social rights and the relationship between the violation of human rights and the creation of social exclusion, exploitation and oppression. During the course, the students examine the phenomenon of social exclusion among different groups. In addition, the course deals with different ways of combating social exclusion, such as community organizing, consciousness raising and social change. A special part of the course is dedicated to discussing the relevance and the role of social workers in creating responses for socially excluded persons at the different levels of intervention: the micro , the mezzo, and the macro level. Throughout the course, students become engaged with civil society organizations concerned with socio-economic gaps, with an emphasis on Jews and Palestinians in Israel.

The Unit for (In)formal Architecture Studies

Senan Abd-Elkader and Liat Briks Atgar
School of Architecture, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

One of the central features of Israel’s built landscape is informal construction, that circumvents the legal, planning, and execution requirements of formal building. Such a phenomenon is typical of marginalized populations globally, who for various reasons are barred from using the accepted system. The unit for (in)formal architecture studies examines these phenomena and its effect on the landscape of our lives. We are interested in how such construction expresses the relationships between the powerful and the powerless. The objective of the course is to train future architects who are aware of the existence and complexity of the informal building phenomenon. Students will aim to create meaningful architecture through dialogue with Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem in consideration of the social and cultural complexity of the existing built landscape. The course will be conducted in cooperation with Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, and the legal clinic at Al-Kuds University.

For the website of the Unit for (In)Formal Architecture, press here.


Image and Reality - Visual Dialogue

Miki Kratzman and Chen Shapira
Photography Department, Bezalel - Academy of Art and Design

The course's main objective is to spur among the students awareness and acknowledgement of the human, social and political reality that surrounds them. It seeks to provide them with skills and tools for understanding and acting in the public sphere, expand the perceived role of the artist and of art itself, and broaden the perception of art and photography as a discourse. The course raises questions relating to human rights, and place, and questions relating to art in the social, political and human context. It is based on dialogue with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, researching the stories of the residents and the manner in which group narratives are constructed, and how they may change and influence the public sphere.

In the course students receive theoretical background preparation, following which they work with the residents and families of Sheikh Jarrah. The students research the stories, learn about the neighborhood through different means of documentation and observation, form visual dialogue with the residents, and organize a concluding exhibit that includes a screening and sharing of materials in the community.  

For the website of the Sheikh Jarrah Project, press here.


Human Rights, Gender, and Planning in Jerusalem

Dr. Daphna Golan, Adv. Sami Ershied, and Amany Khalefa
Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Founded in 1999, this course brings together sixteen graduate and undergraduate students from a range of academic departments, who are interested in and committed to human rights. The students participate in a bi-weekly seminar that integrates theoretical study with ten hours of weekly volunteering at a human rights organization. The course reviews various aspects of human rights in Israeli society with an emphasis on gender and planning. The first part of the course discusses the universality of human rights: conceptual foundations of human rights, international conventions, international enforcement mechanisms, international human rights NGOs, and feminist criticism on human rights issues. The next, central part of the course focuses on the knowledge acquired from action throughout the entire year, both in lessons in which all the students attend and in two smaller supervision groups - the one dealing with gender issues and the other with planning and construction. The course combines theory and practice, and throughout the year we will discuss academic articles and the dilemmas that arise from social action.

Education for Social Justice, Environmental Justice, and Peace Education

Hagith Gor Ziv, Galia Zalmansson, and Gal Harmat
Kibbutzim College of Education
This teachers’ training program of four years for B.Ed aims at building the teachers’ capacity to educate children toward social justice and peace, raising their awareness to gender inequalities and other forms of discrimination in education. The students practical training is performed in organizations for social change, and in schools at disadvantaged communities, including Jewish-Arab student activist organization Mahapach-Taghir, Arab-Jewish projects in Jaffa, and the Jewish and Arab Women’s Association in Rosh Ha’Ayin. Students are required to implement ideas of alternative education, and innovative relevant pedagogy for children from marginalized groups.
The group of students participating in the program reflects in itself the various segments of Israeli society and provides an unparalleled space for intergroup dialogue – Palestinian and Jewish, migrant workers, disabled students, young and old, from the center and from the periphery. Students speak seven different languages and affiliate with four religions. The program offers courses on Israeli society, human rights and children’s’ rights, gender equality, critical pedagogy, and more. In addition the students specialize in one educational discipline – math, science, literature and language and Jewish and Arab culture. They are taught how to integrate social justice and peace education into the existing required curricula.

Planning, Sustainability and Human Rights: Theory and Practice – The Right to Adequate Housing in Jaffa Gimel

Prof. Tovi Fenster and Tal Kulka
Dept. of Geography and Human Environment, Tel Aviv University

The course is a graduate course for students specializing in urban planning as part of their graduate studies at the Dept. of Geography and Human Environment. The course is also open to students from other departments including architecture, environmental studies, law, public policy, and management. The course is part of a growing research and teaching program at the Laboratory for Planning, Environment, and Community Studies. The lab aims to connect academic study with the community through student research projects, the establishment of an interactive website for the use of various communities, and conferences and study days focusing on human rights, justice and equality in the areas of planning and development.

For the Laboratory for Planning for the Environment with Communities website, press here.


Methods for Community Organizing: The Haifa Partnership for the Eradication of Poverty

Dr. Roni Strier
School of Social Work, University of Haifa
This course examines the community strategies to combat poverty and aims to create an equal partnership between the academy in the community. The course’s students, Palestinian and Jewish future social workers, work together with social workers, faculty, and diverse local populations in the multi-ethnic city of Haifa to combat poverty. The course employs a reflective methodology by looking critically at the relationship between the theory and practice of community work. Students discuss the issues that arise from experiencing community change at various levels. The objective of the course is to teach concepts, skills, and knowledge of community organizing, which is necessary for future social workers.
Students are involved in various neighborhood and municipal projects, in four areas selected together with local residents: the right to adequate housing, the right to education, water and electricity payments, and promotion of women’s rights. Students provide support to residents, recruit residents for the project, organize activities and vents and more. The project culminates in a report written by students together with local residents on the state of poverty in Haifa, and disseminated to decision makers and the general public.

Planning with the Community: Concepts, Tools and Strategies for Action

Prof. Rachel Kallus and Dr. Emily Silverman
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
This course examines community planning as a tool for social change. It rests on the assumption that planning is not just a government tool but a framework for social action with substantial effects on creation of community and forming their identity, status, and lifestyle. The course focuses on planning with the community, in contrast to the mainstream attitude of planning for the community. Planning is therefore taught as a means of mediating between people and their surroundings, and especially for people from marginalized communities, as a means to deal with social gaps and inequality. Some questions that the course raises are: what is progressive social planning and how does it promote social change? How can planners and architects effectively combat social gaps and inequality and promote marginalized communities? How can planners work together with civil society organizations? What tools do planners and architects need to lead processes of social change?
The course is open to students in urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and civil and environmental engineering. Students will volunteer for sixty hours each semester with civil society organizations in Haifa that promote the rights of the Arab sector in Haifa, marginalized women, poor populations, and Palestinians in Jaffa.

Strengthening the Welfare of Women through Awareness and Empowerment

Prof. Ariella Friedman and Abeer Halabi
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Safed College
The course will focus on the empowerment of women – both female students and women in crisis. The course will cover various forms of crises including poverty, violence, disease, sexual harassment and abuse, low social status, and psychological internalization of inequality. Almost all students in the classroom will be Palestinian women, and it will be jointly taught by a Jewish and a Palestinian woman. The course consists of three parts: first, a theoretical section in which students will read and discuss critical feminist literature and multicultural literature on women’s issues; second, self examination of students through group work and dialogue; and finally, the analysis of students’ own community service work, in which they will volunteer for four hours a week in Palestinian women’s organizations that combat sexual abuse, violence, poverty, and more.