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the david h. sonabend center for israel

It is with great pride and enthusiasm that The JCC in Manhattan introduces The David H. Sonabend Center for Israel, offering community members across the spectrum of beliefs, backgrounds, convictions, and interests a vibrant forum for relating to, learning about, and connecting with the State of Israel. By stimulating and inspiring, reflecting and engaging, we strive to intensify our community’s relationship with Israel—the land, people, and history; its unique accomplishments, groundbreaking innovation, and modern challenges. The Center, a home for serious cultural and intellectual exploration of Israel, will foster an open discourse on cultural, political, social, and religious issues while encouraging a diverse array of perspectives and opinions.

The Israel Forum

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A new signature program of the Center, The Israel Forum is created to stimulate new thinking about Israel, encouraging an unprecedented level of open dialogue around multiple topics, views, and opinions, while deepening our community’s understanding of, and connection to, Israel. Through this series we seek to change the tenor of the conversation around Israel by exposing people to outstanding thinkers as well as by introducing our community to the multi-dimensional nation Israel has become. Potential topics—some of which may be controversial—include politics, religion, ethics, technology, culture, and media. We will create a "living room" environment of intimate access and civil discourse, in which presenters and participants can engage directly in conversation on these important topics.

past events

Zionism and Liberalism: Conflicting Values or Complementary identities'

How does Israel navigate its identity as a Jewish Democratic State' The Israel Forum is proud to present luminary philosophers Professors Moshe Halbertal and Michael Walzer in a conversation about Israel, nationalism,liberalism and religion,moderated by Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the Forward, Sunday, April 14 2013.

The live-stream video can be found via:

The Israel Forum Presents:
Defensible Borders in a Changing Middle East

The JCC in Manhattan's Israel Forum Presents: Campbell Brown in conversation with Dennis Ross and former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold Drawing Israel's borders is the source of decades of debate and controversy. How can Israel maintain its borders safely and securely while treating its neighbors justly' How has the Arab Spring affected that dynamic' The Israel Forum at the JCC is proud to present Emmy Award winning journalist Campbell Brown in conversation with Ambassador Dore Gold and diplomat and author Dennis Ross, two renowned experts on negotiating Israel's borders.
Sun, Jan 27, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm, $10/$15

This event will be live streamed on Livestream at:

Israel Film Center at The JCC in Manhattan

The JCC in Manhattan is home to the Israel Film Center, the leading resource for Israeli films in the US, with the largest collection of Israeli films outside of Israel and a FREE viewing station. View hit Israeli films from the comfort of your home on our streaming site. Generously funded by Carole Zabar.

The 6th Annual Other Israel Film Festival

This annual film festival brings you top premiere films from Israel’s edgy film industry, as well as engaging conversations on hot topics, illuminating the diversity of Israeli culture. Join us for a week-long festival of award-winning films, guest filmmakers, panel discussions, gala events, performances, and more! Visit for festival dates and updates. Festival made possible by the generosity of Carole Zabar.

Hebrew at the Ulpan Center at the JCC

The Ulpan Center at the JCC is New York City’s premier location for learning modern conversational Hebrew. We feature weekly classes, morning and evening, Monday through Thursday. We use the Israeli Ulpan method and materials to teach and improve Hebrew language skills—speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. You’ll find small, interactive classes at all levels taught by experienced, native Hebrew speakers. And JCC members enjoy a 15% discount on every Ulpan class! Visit the Ulpan Center for more information on levels, placement, schedules, registration, and early registration discounts.

Travel to Israel

The JCC in Manhattan sponsors annual Taglit-Birthright trips to Israel. Our trips provide the unique opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime trip together with people exclusively in the NYC community. Return home with a "bus load" of new friends who all live nearby and enjoy a ll that the JCC (and the rest of the city) has to offer! And upon returning to NYC, Birthright participants have access to a free Passport of activities at the JCC. For more information, contact Israel Outdoors, our official Taglit-Birthright Israel trip provider, at

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