Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced that it has signed a five-year study abroad program agreement with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

With the implementation of the initiative, which will officially begin in the fall of 2014, JTS graduate students in the modern Jewish studies or Jewish studies tracks will be offered the option of pursuing an Israel studies track at BGU in the first semester of their second year, as part of the university’s Israel Studies International Program.

The program, which will take place at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism on the university’s Sde Boker campus, home to the David Ben-Gurion Archives, will involve three Israel studies courses and one Hebrew language course.

The three Israel studies classes will include: archival methodology, aimed at restructuring Israel’s historical narrative using primary source material; different scholars’ perspectives on the country’s history, society, geography and culture; and a seminar on one core issue in Israeli society, such as religion and state or the relationship between the Center and the periphery.

The joint program, which will be entirely taught in English, was established in collaboration with the American Associates at BGU, a Manhattan-based organization that fund-raises for and increases awareness of the university across the US.

“I’m thrilled that students in our Israel Studies track will have the opportunity to complement their learning at JTS, by spending a semester at BGU, studying with experts, immersing themselves in Israeli society and conducting research at the renowned Ben-Gurion Archives,” JTS dean of graduate and undergraduate studies Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz said.

Doron Krakow, executive vice president of the American Associates at BGU, also welcomed the move and said the organization is “delighted to embark on an academic collaboration” with the New York school.

“This exclusive partnership reflects BGU’s leadership in the field of Israel studies, and a faculty boasting some of the finest scholars on this topic in Israel,” he added.

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