T4207 THE CULTURES AND RELIGIONS OF MODERN ISRAEL
December 31, 2013-January 22, 2014
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Nazareth, Haifa
Come explore the contemporary religions and cultural richness of the six religions of modern Israel and Palestine. Investigate the mutually influential relationship of culture and religion. When students come to terms with these religions, and how they and culture have impacted each other in a country where there is no separation of the state from religion, they will be uniquely prepared to resolve the most demanding issues of religious pluralism, diversity, and hegemony in their own lives, in the United States, and in their emerging careers. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure is not a religious pilgrimage, nor a political fact-finding jaunt, but a study of culture, politics, religion, and most fundamentally, humanity. Students will investigate the contemporary meaning of religious identity in a state with an established religion, listen to devotees’ personal narratives, visit ancient holy sites, observe religious practices, plumb theological beliefs, and ponder the religious experiences of the peoples of Israel and Palestine: the Bahá’í of Haifa; the Druze of Golan and Galilee; the Samaritans of Mount Gerizim; the Jews of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the settlements; the Christians of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Jerusalem; and the Muslims of al Khalil, al Quds, and Ramallah. Special attention will be given to the diversity of Jewish life, the vibrancy of Islam, and a selection of the indigenous Christian communities (their origins, differences, and similarities.)
We will visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall; climb the rugged terrain of Masada and Mount Gerizim; marvel at the Haram al Sharif’s Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque; fall silent at the burial site of the Patriarchs; gaze at the birth and burial sites of Jesus; admire the wisdom and the Mosque of Omar; eat fish from the Sea of Galilee; weep at the Valley of Tears; swim in the Dead Sea; shop in the Old City; munch on Arabic salad; sip Turkish coffee; relax with a hookah, devour falafel; and celebrate life. Participants will explore how such lusciously flowered religions have survived, adapted, and blossomed in the desert.
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, twenty breakfasts, twelve lunches and ten dinners. (subject to change)
The course does not have any academic prerequisites.
Lewis M. Hopfe and Mark R. Woodward, Religions of the World, 12th edition (Preface, Chapters 1, 11, 12, 13, & 14)
Samy Swayd, “Druze,” Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., (2005) 4:2502-04
Reinhard Pummer, “Samaritans,” Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., (2005) 12:8067-71
25% Attendance and participation
25% Comprehensive Final Response Paper
Paul Parker, Ph.D., Elmhurst College (630) 617-3559
Roxane Rodriguez Assaf, MSJ, Elmhurst College (571) 259-4324
Description of Faculty Directors
Dr. Parker is the chairperson of the Department of Religious Studies of Elmhurst College where he has been a professor since 1987. He has also studied, traveled, and lived in Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank for extended periods over the last half dozen years, and he has led multiple UMAIE courses to India, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine to study their cultures and religions. He and Prof. Assaf have stayed in every city and visited every site for this course to verify their safety, importance, and logistical accessibility for a university course. This is the second year that he has led this course.
Professor Assaf is an adjunct professor at Elmhurst College, the Art Institute of Chicago, and taught for years at the City Colleges of Chicago. She has traveled widely in Europe and Latin America, and has lived in Israel and the West Bank for extended periods. She and Dr. Parker have stayed in every city and visited every site where this course will take place to ensure their safety, importance, and logistical accessibility. As an academic journalist, a savvy traveler, and a passionate teacher, Professor Assaf is a skilled co-leader who will facilitate students’ exploration of Israel’s cultural richness. This is the second year that she and Paul have co-led this course to Israel.
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2013
For more information on course content, contact Prof. Paul Parker
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.