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Dr. Michael Livni (Langer), veteran Zionist educator, is a member of Kibbutz Lotan in Israel’s southern Arava desert.


Born in Vienna, Austria in 1935, Michael Livni grew up in Vancouver, Canada, where he graduated with an MD in 1959 (University of British Columbia). His doctoral thesis (social psychiatry) was: “An Adolescent Subculture – A Study of the Habonim Youth Movement in Vancouver”. In his years on campus he was active in the Student Zionist Organization and served as the president of the UBC Hillel chapter.

Livni made Aliya to Kibbutz Gesher Haziv in the Western Galilee in 1963. He worked variously as a teacher, educational coordinator, treasurer and agriculturist. From 1975-1977, he served as the first shaliach (emissary) to the Reform movement in America.

From 1979-1983 Livni served as coordinator for the Israeli Reform Youth Movement, Tzofei Telem. From 1989-1992 he served as Director General of the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Jewish Education and Culture. Since 1986, he has lived on Kibbutz Lotan, where he helped establish educational tourism and eco-tourism. He served as coordinator of ecological projects. Currently he serves as chairperson of Amutat Tzell Hatamar, the registered society which supports ecological and other projects on Kibbutz Lotan.
While on Sabbatical in India in 1999, Livni served as educational advisor to the Mitraniketan youth village in Southern Kerala.

Livni has published numerous articles, both in Hebrew and in English, dealing with aspects of Kibbutz life and education, Jewish Zionist education, Eco-Zionism, questions of religion and state in Israel, and the interface between Reform Judaism and Zionism. He has also participated in Jewish – Christian inter-faith dialogues. Livni is an active member of the International Communal Studies Association and has lectured at its conferences. He has also dealt with the conflict in the Middle East from the point of view of Arabic and Islamic confrontation with the West.

Michael Livni is married to Dr Brenda Herzberg. He has three sons and six grandchildren who live on his former kibbutz, Gesher Haziv.

Michael Livni autobiographical interview by Daniel Pickering

Published Works and Contributions to Published Works: Dr. Michael Livni (Langer):

1. Editor, Reform Zionist Perspective: Jewish Community in the Modern Age – An Anthology, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Youth Division, New York N.Y., 1977.

2. Reform Zionism, 20 Years – An Educator’s Perspective, Gefen, New-York and Jerusalem, 1999.

3. Ha’optzia Hareformit: Zionut Acheret, (The Reform Option, A Different Zionism), Kibbutz Lotan, 2002.

4. “The Place of Israel in the Identity of Reform Jews” in Danny Ben-Moshe and Zohar Segev, Ed., Israel, the Diaspora and Jewish Identity, Sussex Academic Press, 2007.

5. “Hashlachot Hazionut Hareformit,” (The Implications of Reform Zionism) in Saar Shaked, ed., M’hazon L’metziut, (From Vision to Reality) Leo Baeck Education Center, Haifa, 2006.

6. Editor, Light in the Arava?: A Joint Undertaking between the Kibbutz Movement and the Reform Movement , a dissertation by Gidon Elad, Tzell Hatamar and Kibbutz Yahel, 2008. Movement. Tzell Hatamar and Kibbutz Yahel, 2008

Topics for lectures by and discussions with Dr. Michael Livni

General Topics

1. Mid East Conflict: What Now?

2. Mid East Conflict: The Progressive Zionist Quandry.

3. The Left in Israel: Quo Vadis?

4. The Kibbutz: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?

5. Movement, Youth Movement, Zionist Youth Movement

6. Eco-Zionism in the Light of a Universal Concern.

7. Can Zionism be “Post-modern”?

Reform Zionism

1. Zionism, Post-Zionism, Reform Zionism: A Clarification

2. Reform Judaism and Reform Zionism in Israel.

3. Reform Judaism: Pro-Israel or Reform Zionist.

4. Reform Zionism in the Diaspora – Programs and Priorities.

5. What are the Parameters of Jewish-Zionist Education?

6. Reform Zionism: Vision and Reality–The Case of Kibbutz Lotan.

7. Zionism and Reform Zionism: Modernity and Post-Modernity.

8. Does Reform Zionism have a Future in Israel?

*These suggestions are meant to illustrate. Dr Livni will consider other specific requests.


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