A Nation on the Couch: The Politics of Trauma in Contemporary Israel


Please join us for GJC ‘s next Israel Program: “A Nation on the Couch” with Dr. Keren Friedman-Peleg on Sunday, December 8th at 10 AM. Based on fieldwork Dr. Keren Friedman-Peleg has conducted at two leading NGOs in Israel (NATAL-The Israel Center for Victims of Terror and War, and the ITC-Israel Trauma Coalition), this lecture sheds light on how in the last two decades, a specific psychological concept – trauma – has been adopted by mental health experts, local leaders, politicians and residents, as main tools for shaping the meaning of being Jewish-Israeli today, under the circumstances of continuous, unresolved violent conflict. Focusing on professional interactions of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists with patients from diverse social groups (Israeli soldiers, Ultra-orthodox Jews, and Jews and Bedouin living in the border region between Israel and Gaza) the lecture will offers insights on how clinical questions of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of traumatic symptoms have come to intersect with socio-political questions of group identity. There will be time for questions and discussion following the presentation.

Please register at https://germantownjewishcentre.org/nation-on-the-couch/.

Dr. Keren Friedman-Peleg is a senior lecturer at the School of Behavioral Science, and the Dean of Students at the College of Management – Academic Studies, Israel. She obtained her PhD at Tel-Aviv University, in the department of Sociology and Anthropology (2009). Friedman-peleg was a visiting assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology and of the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley (2018), and she is currently a visiting assistant Professor and a visiting scholar at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She published articles about the ways in which the psychological concepts of trauma and resilience have come to play a significant role in shaping the meaning of the Jewish-Israeli collective identity in the last three decades, in leading journals, such as Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry and Transcultural Psychiatry (with Y. Bilu). The full manuscript of her doctoral thesis – entitled “A Nation on the Couch: The Politics of Trauma in Israel” was published by Magnes – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Press (2014), and by the University of Toronto Press (2017).

GJC thanks the Stern/Gafni Endowment for Israel Engagement for generously supporting this program.