• Conflict Resolution from Religious Traditions


    December 28, 2015 to January 7, 2016
    2 credits
    ABA-approved January Term study abroad

    Program Overview

    This program, offered in cooperation with the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, provides you with a unique opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on the interaction of law and religion while challenging your assumptions and beliefs. 

    • Discover traditional dispute resolution methods such as Jewish Beth Din, Christian and Muslim courts, and Palestinian sulha
    • Consider how Jewish, Christian, and Muslin traditions have shaped dispute resolution values
    • Meet with peacemakers
    • Tour the Old City of Jerusalem
    • Explore the religious, political, and culturally diverse society in Israel and Palestine

    2016 Syllabus (Tentative-Subject to revisions.)  

    The program is open to law students who have already completed their first year of study, lawyers seeking CLE credit, members of the clergy, and divinity and other graduate students.

    Learn more about the application process and trip details.

    Program Administration

    Dispute Resolution Institute Director and Hamline Law Professor Sharon Press is the on-site faculty director for the Jerusalem program. There is additional onsite administrative support from the Rothberg Center of Hebrew University throughout the program.

    Jerusalem Program Faculty

    Hana Bendcowsky is the program director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations and a native of Jerusalem. She has over 15 years of practical experience in interfaith activities in Israel and is in charge (in coordination with the director-general and the program director for Galilee) of overseeing the daily running of JCJCR's diverse educational programs and encounter groups. Bendcowsky also contributes to the preparation of educational materials in Hebrew and teaches in the center's various educational programs. In addition to her position with JCJCR, she works as a free lance tour educator in Jerusalem for groups involving over 1,500 individuals a year, primarily study tours in the Christian Quarter. Bendcowsky has her master's degree in comparative religion from Hebrew University. Bendcowsky teaches the session on Christian Traditions and accompanies the group to the Old City.

    Marc Gopin is the James H. Laue Professor of Religion, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, and the director of the Center on Religion, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Gopin has lectured on conflict resolution in Switzerland, Ireland, India, Italy, and Israel, as well as at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and numerous other academic institutions. Gopin has trained thousands of people worldwide in peacemaking strategies for complex conflicts in which religion and culture play a role. He conducts research on values dilemmas as they apply to international problems of globalization, clash of cultures, development, social justice and conflict. Gopin's research is found in numerous book chapters and journal articles, and he is the author of Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence and Peacemaking (Oxford University Press, 2000); Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2002), a study on what was missing from the Oslo Process, and what will be necessary culturally for a successful Arab/Israeli peace process; Healing the Heart of Conflict (Rodale Press, 2004); and To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). Dr. Gopin was ordained as a rabbi at Yeshiva University in 1983 and received a PhD in religious ethics from Brandeis University in 1993. Professor Gopin teaches the session on Interreligious Conflict Resolution.

    Qadi Ahmad Natour is the former president of the High Sharia'a Court of Appeal in Israel. In addition to teaching in the Hamline-Hebrew University program, Natour is on the faculties of Tel Aviv University and American University in Washington, D.C. Natour was the first Muslim to receive an Interfaith Gold Medallion Award from the International Council of Christians and Jews. He has used alternative dispute resolution techniques to resolve disputes when appropriate, even in the High Sharia'a Court of Appeal. Natour teaches the Islamic Traditions for Conflict Resolution. 

    Daniel Sinclair is Wolff Fellow in Jewish law and visiting professor of law at Fordham University Law School. He is also professor of Jewish Law and Comparative Biomedical Law at the Law School of the CMAS Law School, Rishon Lezion, and adjunct professor of Comparative Biomedical Law at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Sinclair has published extensively in the fields of comparative biomedical law, Jewish law, the jurisprudence of Jewish law and the relationship between halakhah and ethics and the influence of Jewish law on the legal system of the State of Israel. Sinclair is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and has served as the rabbi of the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation and as Dean of Jews' College, London and the Rabbinical School in London. He teaches the session on Jewish Traditions.

    Michael Tsur is a lawyer, and an expert in negotiation, conflict resolution, crisis management and mediation. He specializes in executive coaching of general managers, general directors and owners of companies in Israel and around the globe, working in particular on how to navigate complex negotiations and situations. Tsur is the founder of Shakla and Tariya, the first program for teaching negotiation as a profession.  Previously Tsur served as the founder and general-director of the Mediation & Conflict Resolution Institute-Jerusalem and as an associate director at Consensus, a New York-based consultancy specializing in negotiation, conflict resolution and peace-building. Tsur has garnered years of expertise in resolving emergency situations, ranging from hostage crises to breakdowns in cross-national business negotiations to stand-offs with individuals who are mentally unstable. Since 2000, Tsur has been a member of the Israel Defense Forces Hostage negotiation unit as one of a small group of select professional negotiators. Tsur teaches the session on Conflict Resolution Practice.

    Jerusalem Travel Information

    As of the most recent update of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website (February 18, 2015), the United States Department of State has a current travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. "The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and U.S. citizens need to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to areas described in this travel warning, where there are heightened tensions and security risks...The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Gaza Strip." Furthermore, it cautions that, "with the exception of Jericho and Bethlehem, personal travel to the West Bank by U.S. Government employees is prohibited." This replaces the Travel Warning issued February 3, 2014, to update information on the general security environment. In view of the ongoing security situation, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority make considerable efforts to police major tourist attractions and ensure security in areas where foreigners frequently travel...hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, safely visit Israel and the West Bank each year for study, tourism, and business." Each participant should carefully assess the State Department advisory and caution prior to enrollment. Each student must individually choose whether to undertake the risk of travel to the region and by enrolling agrees to assume all liability associated with the travel risk. Also prior to travel, participants should check out the CDC Health Information for Travel to Israel website for pertinent health information.

    Student Representation

    In 2015, 18 students enrolled in the program, including students from seven U.S. law schools, a rabbi and a paralegal. In the past, practicing lawyers, writers and journalists have also joined the group. For 2016, we anticipate a similar mix of participants.

    Student Perspectives on Past Jerusalem Programs

    "This course exceeded my expectations. I learned more than I anticipated and grew spiritually, personally, and culturally.  I look forward to using what I have learned." Participant, January 2015

    "The course exceeded my expectations by providing a very exciting and thought-provoking mix of academic approaches to both practical and philosophical aspects of conflict resolution in religious and inter-religious contexts, as well as opportunities to interact with people who are involved in concrete efforts of peace building, mediation and negotiation." - Participant, January 2014

    "The program was extremely interesting, challenging and full of brilliant lectures. I loved the depth of knowledge that these individuals had." - Participant, January 2013

    “I really enjoyed the organization and overall topics covered in the class. I also felt that there was a great balance between student involvement and lecturing. The depth and breadth of the class appropriately presented issues objectively and fairly while encouraging deep analysis of religious conflict.” - Participant, January 2011