On Sunday, June 2, the Cotler Fellowship hosted two guests to give the final lectures for this year’s program. Dr. Sima Zalcberg, a scholar of the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, delivered an engaging talk to the fellows, discussing how and why the ultra-Orthodox function as an “enclave culture” within Israeli society. Dr. Zalcberg then delved into the intricacies of marriage arrangements within Haredi society, highlighting the various aspects and layers involved in the process. Her discussion covered the roles of matchmakers, the ways potential matches are introduced, and the considerations families take into account when selecting a suitable match.

After Dr. Zalcberg, the Fellowship was honored to host Mr. Gil Hovav, a leading culinary journalist and TV personality in Israel, who spoke about his great-grandfather Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and the revival of the Hebrew language. The lecture was filled with fascinating, humorous, and, at times, almost unbelievable stories of his great-grandfather’s life journey and his dedicated mission to revive Hebrew in the Jewish homeland—a mission that succeeded in ways one could have never imagined. The story of the revival of modern Hebrew is the story of Jewish survival, of unwavering determination, of the success of Zionism; and some would argue, the story of a miracle.