Center for Jewish History Announces International Zionism Symposium

New York, NY (March 02, 2023)

In observance of Israel’s 75th Anniversary this spring, The Center for Jewish History (CJH), home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive archive of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel, announced today it will host a major public symposium on the history of Zionism. 

Co-sponsored by the National Library of Israel, the symposium, entitled “American Jews and Zionism: Bringing us Together and Pulling Us Apart,” will be presented at CJH on April 30th and broadcast around the world.

Dr. Gavriel Rosenfeld, president of the Center for Jewish History said, “As Israel approaches its 75th anniversary, Jews around the world are poised to take stock of the Jewish state’s short but complex history. American Jews, who have been stalwart supporters of Israel, will be especially active in assessing our own pivotal contributions to Israel’s creation. But the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the recent spike in domestic antisemitism have caused new splits to emerge among American Jews about the Zionist movement. With this symposium, we hope to speak openly and honestly about the past, present, and future of Zionism by gathering some of the best and brightest academic scholars in the United States and Israel to reflect on what history can teach us about contemporary international affairs.”  

Dr. Raquel Ukeles, Head of Collections at the National Library of Israel, added, “The symposium is a wonderful opportunity to bring American and Israeli scholars in conversation with each other, and with rare historical materials from our respective collections. The goal is to transcend slogans and explore anew the powerful, intimate, and complex relationship between the US-Jewish community and the State of Israel over the past hundred years. As the institution of national memory for Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, we are excited to partner with the CJH for a year-long program celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary, culminating in a second symposium in 2024, on Israel Independence Day at the Library’s new home in Jerusalem.”

Dr. Rosenfeld continued, “Generationally, as well as politically, American Jews appear to be more divided about Zionism than ever.  Yet these divisions are hardly new.  In fact, for nearly a century and a half, Zionism has been a source of contention, not just consensus, among Jews in the United States and around the world.  The question of whether the Jewish people should be viewed as an ethnically defined nation or merely a religious community has been hotly contested within Jewish communities from the late 19th century to the present.  

The April 30th symposium will bring together scholars and public intellectuals to offer insights into the shifting relationship between American Jews and Zionism since the late 19th century.  

The participants include: 

  • Eric Alterman (Brooklyn College)
  • Omer Bartov (Brown University)
  • Zev Eleff (Gratz College)
  • Yuval Evri (Brandeis University)
  • Jeffrey Herf (University of Maryland)
  • Adina Hoffman (Jerusalem/New Haven)
  • Shaul Kelner (Vanderbilt University)
  • David Makovsky (NLI)
  • Sallai Meridor (NLI)
  • Deborah Dash Moore (University of Michigan)
  • Jess Olson (Yeshiva University)
  • Derek Penslar (Harvard University)
  • Noam Pianko (University of Washington)
  • Gavriel Rosenfeld (Center for Jewish History/Fairfield University)
  • Zohar Segev (University of Haifa, Israel)
  • Mira Sucharov (Carleton University)
  • Raquel Ukeles (National Library of Israel)
  • Jeff Veidlinger (University of Michigan)
  • Dov Waxman (UCLA)
  • Amy Weiss (University of Hartford)
  • Einat Wilf (Reichman University, Israel)


For more information on the symposium, or to purchase tickets, please visit

The program is presented with the generous support of the David Berg Foundation.