Courses 2009-2010

Refugee Issues in Israel and the World – Theory and Practical Training

Prof. Vered Slonim-Nevo and Yiftah Milo
School of Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

The course is an interdisciplinary introduction to refugee issues in Israel and the world. It examines legal, political, historical, sociological and psychological issues related to refugees as expressed in Africa and in Israel and other Western countries. In addition, the course examines Israeli policy towards refugees and asylum seekers who come to Israel seeking protection. The course takes place on the university’s campus in the city of Eilat, home to 2500 asylum seekers, and is open to students in social work, behavioral sciences, sociology, tourism, and politics.

In addition to their theoretical study students work one day a week with refugee children and families in the city of Eilat. The course will be carried out in cooperation with civil society organizations providing aid and support to refugees.


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 aprocess 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.

Environmental Justice in a Trans-boundary Space

Adv. Yuval Laster, Dr. Itay Fischhendler, and Prof. Yigal Erel
The Faculty of Law, the Department of Geography, and the Program for Environmental Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Environmental problems do not recognize manmade borders. Thus, despite the attempts to transfer many of Jewish West-Jerusalem’s environmental problems (e.g. waste dumps etc.) to Palestinian East Jerusalem, the problems have a grave impact on both sides. The objective of the course is twofold: to strengthen the conditions for cooperation and long term environmental planning across boundaries in Jerusalem and empowering marginalized stakeholders, while at the same time educating students for social responsibility and action through interdisciplinary use of scientific, planning, and legal tools. Through this joint work students from various disciplines can learn about each other’s strengths and limitations and lay the foundation for future cooperation. Students will be involved in projects that encourage alternatives for waste dumping and promote recycling, file lawsuits as necessary, work with planning groups at the Jerusalem municipality, meet with residents to document their needs, etc.

Feminism, Accessibility and the Law

Orly Kuzin-Malachi and Shiran Reichenberg
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
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 Yael Padan
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.


Art and Activism

Eldad Cidour, Lea Mauas, Diego Rotman and Eytan Shouker
Bezalel – Academy of Art and Design
This popular course at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design is taught by Eytan Shouker, Eldad Cidor, Lea Mauas and Diego Rotman. Between 20 and 32 students will be enrolled in the course this year. Throughout the year the students study the work of artist activists, discuss art in the social, political and economic contexts, and meet local organizations, activists, and artists. In the summer, each student devotes approximately 180 hours to developing a new or ongoing project in conjunction with a local community. Examples of such projects include creating areas for meeting and leisure in the village of Issawiah through recycling projects, building a platform for open conversation between city residents in the center of Jerusalem, and planning and developing a park in an area that was initially designated as a major road.

Community Art Workshop in the A-Tur Neighborhood

Miki Kratzman and Chen Shapira
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.


The Artist as an Agent of Change

Dr. Michael Klinghoffer and Anna Shapira
Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance
Students travel every two weeks to work with children and teenagers at conservatories or community centers at several locations: Ofakim, Merhavim, Yokneam, Migdal, Eshkol and Jerusalem. In addition, concentrated activity days are held during each year in Jerusalem. The students work with the children individually as well as in groups, guiding them in several music ensembles and in different styles – rock, jazz, and classical. They contribute to the growth of the community centers and conservatories. The program works to create a community of musicians, encompassing students, children, teenagers, and music professionals. It aims to change the discourse at the peripherally located music centers and community centers with which the program is implemented, to lead towards discourse of excellence, and embody an encounter for children and youth with higher education. The program's premise is that the encounter of students participating in the course with youth at peripheral areas will change the youth's outlook on musical studies, and their access to certain methods and knowledge. It hopes to change their perception of themselves as musicians, inspire in them confidence and passion for music.

Human Rights and the Israeli Society

Dr. Daphna Golan and Amany Khalefa
Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Founded in 1999, this course brings together fifteen 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 the role of human rights organizations on processes of change. The first part of the course discusses the universality of human rights: international conventions, international enforcement mechanisms, and international human rights NGOs. The next, central part of the course focuses on human rights in Israel: security needs vs. human rights, rights of the Arab minority, women's rights, children's rights, rights of people with disabilities, foreign worker rights, and human rights in the Occupied Territories.

Education and Social Change

Dr. Dalya Markovich and Asmhan Hazrallah
School of Education, Beit Berl College
The course aims to form a connection between the field of non-formal education and active civic engagement. It discussed the non-formal education field as a potential sphere for civic activism and social change, and the different ways in which non-formal education leverages diverse social action and human rights. The experience in the field is designed to provide students with tools and skills for civic activism. The theoretical and practical study is intended to reflect and analyze some of the dilemmas, contradictions and new horizons characterizing this distinct sphere.
The classroom consists of Jewish and Palestinian faculty and students, who through joint action and study throughout the year learn to bridge over initial differences and work together towards a common goal.

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.

Community Interpreting

Prof. Miriam Shlesinger, Tania Winova and Dr. Michal Schuster
Dept. of Translation and Interpreting Studies, Bar Ilan University
The course in community interpreting trains bilingual students to leverage their knowledge of a second language for the benefit of those who have difficulty accessing various public services because they do not speak Hebrew. It addresses such issues as the role of language in creating – and reducing – power imbalances, the ethics of intercultural mediation, advocacy and empowerment, and the rights o language minorities in a multilingual society.

Students – speakers of Arabic, Russian, Amharic, Spanish, French and English (in addition to Hebrew) – spend 4 hours each week volunteering as language mediators (translator/interpreters). Their assignments vary widely and include hospitals (primarily mediating between Arabic-speaking patients, many of them from Gaza, and the medical staff); rehabilitational facilities (assisting therapists in diagnosing and treating children who have undergone trauma); NGOs (such as Physicians for Human Rights); well baby clinics; immigration center; and municipal services and social security offices. The students’ language skills are curial in easing tension in these very charged settings and promote an understanding of the importance of language access, while enhancing public awareness of language in the context of human rights. Importantly, the course brings together students from a variety of backgrounds, many of whom have never been exposed to the other before. As a result the students undergo an intense process of tolerance building, understanding, and transformation of previously hostile relationships.

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.


Education With a View Towards the Community

Dr. Tamar Hagar, Adv. Yael Efron, Tufaha Saba and Nava Shay
Department of Education, Tel-Hai Academic College
Fourteen students are enrolled in this program at Tel Hai College's education department in Israel's far north, taught by Dr. Tamar Hagar. The program includes four courses: Education and the community; Critical thought, gender and activism; Human rights – leadership and change; and Jewish-Arab dialogue. In addition to these academic courses, students volunteer for four hours a week at formal and informal educational initiatives, including a new community center for the Southern Lebanese community in Kiryat Shmona, the Tel Hai center for developing readiness for higher education among disadvantaged groups, a project for helping women in Kiryat Shmone find employment facilitated by the Yedid organization, a kindergarten for autistic children, and more.

Rights of the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel 

Dr. Yousef Jabareen and Dr. Ilan Saban
Faculty of Law, University of Haifa
The course examines the legal status of the Arab citizens of Israel, and questions the capacity of the law to serve s a tool for social change. Its framework creates a setting for Arab-Jewish student partnership, modeled by the course lecturers. Students in the course create Arab and Jewish work teams. Student intern and aid six human rights organizations advancing the status of the Palestinian minority in Israel.
The faculty members, course coordinator and representatives of the organizations outline students’ projects in advance, to ensure that they address key issues, while the course aims to imitate at least one independent project annually. Students in the course have been assisting in the preparation of an appeal regarding the conditions for admittance to institutions of higher education. Today, universities and colleges require an arbitrary minimal age that predominantly discriminates against Arab citizens. A team of students has been working on the preparation of an appeal regarding profiling in public places, which results in discrimination based on nationality. Other teams have been working to connect school sin the unrecognized villages of the Negev to electricity and running water, and have begun to draft an appeal regarding discrimination practices in acceptance to newly established community settlements in the Negev.

Legal Feminism and Social Change

Adv. Dana Myrtenbaum, Noor Falach and Dr. Sagit Mor
Law School, the Haifa Legal Feminism Clinic, University of Haifa
The program is a unique cooperation between the Haifa University’s Faculty of law and Itach-Maaki – Women Lawyers for Social Justice, a Jewish-Arab feminist legal advocacy organization. The program’s vision is to promote access to justice for women from disadvantaged communities and marginalized individuals, as well as to challenge the existing power structure in the legal world and its gender and cultural blindness. Through this unique program Jewish and Arab law students have the opportunity to openly and critically engage with questions of intergroup relations, power, and accessibility.
The program aspires to impact future lawyers by exposing Jewish and Arab law students at the University of Haifa to women’s struggles and strength, and to the power of the law in the process of social change. Along with the law students, a group of Arab and Jewish women from marginalized communities go through an empowerment process as they are trained to be “legal leaders” whose voices will be heard in the public sphere and who are committee to issues of gender and status shared by all marginalized Israeli women.
Pairing together women leaders and law students, the program’s participants act together in designing and implementing seed projects to enable marginalized voices of women and disempowered communities to be heard and seen by decision-makers, the legal system, courts, media, the general public and more. The model, co-coordinated by a Jewish attorney and an Arab-Druze psychologist, equips a multi-cultural group of women activists and law students with effective social change tools and guides them in their quest for long term social change.
Projects developed by the program include: empowering Arab and Jewish women in providing legal assistance by making accessible the Family Court in Haifa; promoting and advancing the rights of Arab-Druze women in the divorce process; construction of a rehabilitation program for women involved in prostitution and raising public awareness to their situation, and more.

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.

Women and Inter-Cultural meeting: Challenges and Coping

Prof. Marilyn Sfar and Gili Dovrin
Haifa University

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.