Zags in Israel Return with New Understandings, Stories

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TEL AVIV, Israel – Ten Gonzaga University students have just concluded four weeks of travel throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories studying religion and journalism led by faculty members Elizabeth Goldstein, associate professor of religious studies, and Tracy Simmons, journalism lecturer.

While students on the trip represented multiple disciplines — including psychology, environmental science, religious studies, economics and communication studies — they were united in an interest to learn more about the region’s cultural, political and religious dynamics. The group visited many locations and stayed in Jerusalem, Tiberias and Tel Aviv.

From May 23 through June 20, all 10 students took a three-credit religion course, Judaism, taught by Goldstein, and a three-credit Emerging Media course taught by Simmons. The religion course focused on the history of Judaism and the interpretations and practices of contemporary Jewish communities. The journalism course allowed students to research a topic of their choice on location.

For both courses, students conducted interviews and collected various examples of media from around the country. As part of the learning experience, students worked in teams to create the website, edit its stories, promote it using social media, and gather data on its usage.

“During this trip students were able to engage and interact with Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims. They interviewed them and wrote stories about them,” Simmons said. “I can’t think of a better way to learn and connect with what’s really happening across the globe.”

With their new understanding of the region, these 10 Zags return to Gonzaga with helpful insight and many stories to share.

Visit the Gonzaga in Israel website for stories and a daily account of activities at

For more information, please contact Goldstein at or Simmons at