Special Topics in Jewish Studies: Disability in Israel
- Quarters: Winter
- General Education Requirements: I&S
In recent years, Israel has witnessed a growing movement of people with disabilities who claim their rights and fight for their place in society through legal and other means. This development was a result of changes in Israeli society, in the disability community, and in the legal arena – both locally and globally. This course introduces disability as an important, yet largely neglected, perspective to the understanding of Israeli society and the place of disabled people in it. Students will read contemporary scholarship on disability in Israeli society and culture from multidisciplinary perspectives, including sociology, anthropology, history, cultural studies, law, and bioethics. Students will learn about the history of Israeli disability policy, the turn from charity and welfare to rights, the changing forms of disability activism, and the conflicts and tensions that shape the structure of the disability community in Israel. A special emphasis will be given to the legal arena and the role of law in bringing about social change. After several introductory classes, students will examine specific issues, including: employment, accessibility, education, independent living, disability allowances, prenatal testing, and abortion policy. The examination of these issues will introduce the students to some significant challenges that Israeli society is facing today.