Interested in how a plague of locusts impacted Jews and Arabs in Palestine under Ottoman rule in 1915? Or how Haredi communities in Israel today have chafed against government edicts during the Covid-19 pandemic? Or why massive, expensive fortified barriers, like the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the West Bank barrier in Israel, continue to proliferate all over the world?
All of these questions and more are addressed in a 14-part series of podcasts on Israel, Jewish issues and topics related to the coronavirus pandemic. Titled “Israel and Jewish Identity in the Age of Covid,” the podcast is produced by the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, which is part of the law school at UC Berkeley.
Episode 1 features Roy Peled, a visiting constitutional law professor, discussing the uncertainty in Israel’s political system and effects of the coronavirus pandemic on elections. It first aired in March.
Each episode consists of a roughly half-hour interview, followed by a Q&A with students and faculty.
One episode explores how Jews and Arabs worked together to fight the Locust Plague more than a century ago, which sharply depleted the food supply and led to mass death; the guest is Zach Foster, a Princeton Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies. In another, evolutionary biologist David Gokhman of Hebrew University discusses developments in our understanding of the origins of the human species.
Episode 13, titled “Jewish Journalism and Reporting on Crisis,” features an interview with J. editor Sue Fishkoff.
The series offers “nuanced and thought-provoking discussions from experts around the world on topics I deeply care about,” Alexa Fosdick, a senior at UC Berkeley, said in a press release.
Launched in 2011, the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies is led by a 22-member faculty committee from disparate fields, such as political science, sociology, Jewish studies, music and law.
The episodes were taped between March 17 and May 7, and are available for streaming on the institute’s website.