Research & Public Engagement

The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute cultivates innovative interdisciplinary research into publicly-significant questions, reflecting our commitment to a just, open society, well-integrated in the region. By developing new ideas and bringing these into critical discourse within and beyond academia, the Institute aims to affect the public agenda on issues of crucial social importance in Israel.


Research at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute currently takes place primarily within four thematic clusters:

The Sacredness, Religion, and Secularization cluster challenges the dichotomous terms in which the religious-secular divide is understood in academia and in public discourse, and studies the meanings and manifestations of religion, the secular, and the sacred in a post-secular age.

The Science, Technology, and Society cluster focuses on the meaning and extent to which technological and scientific progress are changing our world, blurring the boundaries between the artificial and the natural, and affecting our understanding of society.

The Israel in the Middle East cluster explores the extent to which Israel is not only in the middle east but of the middle east, offering new perspectives on the political, cultural, social, and economic ties that link Israel and its population to the region.

The Challenge of Shared Life cluster aims to expand the theoretical landscape of critical research beyond its foundational liberal grammar, enabling a deeper understanding of the fragmented social reality in Israel and globally.


The Institute also addresses additional timely topic in its research and public engagement:

Our work on Gender and Feminism aims at developing new ideas through deep theoretical thought, and promoting social and political change in these areas.


Alongside these research programs, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute is home to The Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Israel’s leading international post-doctoral fellowship program, dedicated to the advancement of outstanding research in the humanities and social sciences.

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