On Higher Education
I’ve spent many years researching the university curriculum and working on ways to improve it. Much of my attention has been devoted to developing the idea of the “Jewish humanities” based on a model for integrating classical Jewish texts directly into the undergraduate curriculum in areas such as philosophy, political theory, and intellectual history.
Until 2011 I headed the committee at the Shalem Center that designed the first liberal arts curriculum for an Israeli institution of higher education. This curriculum included a core curriculum based on a “Great Books” approach combining both Western and Jewish texts. It also included what may be the first integrated undergraduate major in “Philosophy and Jewish Thought” including subjects such as Bible and Talmud. Shalem College opened in Fall 2013 as Israel’s first liberal arts college.
At this point, I’m working on introducing the Liberal Arts curriculum into Israel on the national level. In 2013, I accepted an appointment to a commission of the Israel Council for Higher Education (CHE) tasked with reviewing policies on General Studies and Liberal Arts in all of Israel’s universities and colleges. In March 2016, the CHE formally adopted the principal recommendations in a committee report of which I was one of the authors. The new regulations for the first time permit universities and colleges in Israel to grant a liberal arts B.A., including degrees based on the “Great Books.”