Monday, April 11, 2011

Launch of the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society

Last Wednesday, UC Berkeley saw the formal launch of the new Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society. The Institute is "an interdisciplinary initiative coordinated with a 15-member faculty advisory committee from units across campus, including law, economics, business, political science, history, sociology, and Jewish Studies."

The launch event, held in the Morrison library, was well attended by undergraduate and graduate students, members of the community, professors, and administrators.

The keynote address was given by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner. She spoke about the challenges of balancing national security with human rights in Israel. It is often difficult and costly in times of war to preserve the high standard of human rights that Israel does, and Dorner spoke about the role of the Court in that process, and some of the landmark decisions that were made in defense of human rights during her tenure.

There was a great deal of excitement and optimism at the event about the future of the young Institute. Chancellor Birgeneau said that "it will make a measurable contribution to scholarly inquiry and discourse across our campus."

Especially here at Berkeley, where there are so many voices of bias, propaganda, and hatred against Israel, it is meeting a certain and visible need. Professor Bamberger, faculty director of the Institute, commented, "We’re working to support broader discourse on campus around Jewish and Israel-related scholarship." Many hope that this Institute will provide a safe forum for the respectful and honest study of Israel, for the mutual benefit of the State of Israel and the University of California, Berkeley.

Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society
New Institute to Expand Jewish and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley