The Goodspeed Lecture Series welcomes Ori Yehudai.

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The Goodspeed Lecture Series welcomes the Saul and Sonia Schottenstein Chair in Israel Studies and Assistant Professor of History at The Ohio State University Ori Yehudai, presenting, “Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II.”

Yehudai teaches courses on the history of modern Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict and modern Jewish history. He previously held positions at the University of Toronto, McGill University, NYU and the Center for Jewish History in New York. Prof. Yehudai’s work explores Jewish migration and displacement, the reconstruction of the Jewish world after World War II and relations between Jews and non-Jews after the Holocaust. He is the author of “Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II” (Cambridge, 2020), which was a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards. His current research deals with Palestinian attacks in Israel in the 1970s.

The story of Israel’s foundation has often been told from the perspective of Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. In this lecture, Ori Yehudai turns this historical narrative on its head, focusing on Jewish out-migration from Palestine and Israel between 1945 and the late 1950s. Based on previously unexamined primary sources collected from twenty-two archives in six countries, he will talk about how, despite the dominant view that displaced Jews should settle in the Jewish homeland, many Jews instead saw the country as a site of displacement or a way-station to more desirable lands. Covering events in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, Yehudai provides a fresh transnational perspective on the critical period surrounding the birth of Israel and the post-Holocaust reconstruction of the Jewish world.

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