Meet Our Master's Students
Eli Cohn was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He went to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where he graduated with a BA in Philosophy. While in school, Eli helped found the Greater Portland Hillel and served as its first president. After graduation, Eli spent a year in Israel on the program OTZMA, where he volunteered, worked and traveled throughout the country. For the past two years Eli has worked as the Coordinator for Israel Engagement for the Hillel at Brandeis University. He also serves on the committee for ReachOut, an organization committed to engaging Jewish young adults in community service. The product of a lifetime of Jewish camping, youth groups, Hillel, and more, Eli has special interests in Jewish education, Israel and Jewish peoplehood.
David Harris is a second-year MA student specializing in the Bible and the Ancient Near East. He received his BA in Near Eastern Studies from The Johns Hopkins University, where he studied biblical criticism, Near Eastern history, semitics and epigraphy. After spending a year at Brandeis, he is ever-increasingly proud to be part of NEJS and the Brandeis community. His interests are varied, but he is primarily interested in Near Eastern prophetic and cultic literature, comparative semitic philology and linguistics, Near Eastern scribal culture, inner-textual exegesis, and textual criticism. David enjoys cooking, playing poker, Israeli films, and road trips. David hopes to return to Middlebury and/or make a trip to Israel in the summer of 2014, and is always looking for new and exciting things to do in Boston.
Justin Huguenin is an M.A. student at NEJS. He holds a B.A. in History from the Ohio State University, and is excited to start graduate work at Brandeis. His primary interest is in ancient Middle Eastern religions, and in particular in alternative religious schools of thought as represented in texts such as Jubilees and Enoch. Some of his past research has focused on Zoroastrianism and martyr cults in Kievan Rus, and most recently he completed an undergraduate thesis looking at the role of politics and Hellenistic Judaism in the events leading up to the Hasmonean Revolt.
Alaa Murad is an M.A. student at NEJS and COEX from Cairo, Egypt. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the British University in Egypt and is very excited to be a part of Brandeis' vibrant community. Alaa intends to concentrate on modern Jewish history, Jewish-Muslim relations, and conflict and identity in the Middle East. Before coming to Brandeis, she was a research associate at the Social Research Center at the American University in Cairo and mainly focused on gender and labor in impoverished urban areas in Egypt.
Nate Ramsayer, a second-year M.A. student in NEJS, hails from the gorgeous (but cold!) land of northern Minnesota. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Minnesota, with a focus in Hebrew Bible. For several years Nate has been a frequent guest lecturer at various venues in MN, ND, and MA, opening up the fascinating fundamentals of biblical scholarship to the wider public. His research interests include source criticism of the Torah, the intersection of ancient Near Eastern and biblical literature, Iron Age epigraphy, Hittitology, and Dead Sea Scrolls. He spent this past year studying archaeology at Boston University and Harvard University, and has returned from a summer of excavation at Tell es-Safi (biblical Gath) in the Shephelah in Israel as an ASOR Heritage Fellow. Nate is also a professional choral singer in Boston, and when not studying the mysteries of the Bible and ancient Near East, he enjoys practicing the majestic art of samurai sword, watching 80’s cartoons, and chillaxin’ at home with his cat.
Hannah Sherman was born and raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she earned her B.A. in American Studies. In her time at UC Santa Cruz, Hannah was active in Hillel and served as a Hebrew tutor. She spent three months of her senior year in college in Washington, D.C. where she was an intern for Jewish Women International, a non-profit organization working to end domestic violence. As an intern, Hannah researched and prepared information for several congressional briefings and wrote many blog posts on issues relating to Judaism and domestic violence. An avid traveller, Hannah has spent many summers abroad, including a trip to Israel in the summer of 2011. Pursuing a Dual Masters Degree in Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Hannah hopes to combine her fascination of cultural arts with her love of the Jewish community, gaining the experience in order to work in a Jewish cultural institution.
Megan Stewart is a first year Masters student in the Joint MA program with NEJS and COEX. Hailing from Bangor, Maine, she received her Undergraduate Degree in Anthropology at Texas A&M University in 2012 where she focused her studies on Near Eastern religion, Arabic language studies, and archaeology. Megan's interests include both early and modern Quranic interpretation as well as improving international relations between the Near East and the United States.
Evan Taksar (MA/MA) grew up in Los Angeles, California. She earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a certificate in Jewish Studies. At CU Boulder, Evan served as a board member of the CU Boulder Hillel and was active in the Program in Jewish Studies. She spent her senior year in college as the Development Intern at the Boulder Jewish Community Center. Evan has spent the past 15 summers at Camp JCA Shalom Malibu, first as a camper and, for the past 5 summers, in various staff positions. Most recently Evan served as a as Unit Head for second, third, and seventh grade students. She considers her time spent at camp to be the most defining Jewish experience of her life, both personally and professionally. After graduating college, Evan has continued to be engaged with the Jewish community. She has worked as the Youth Director and as a Jewish Educator. In her spare time, Evan enjoys cooking, live music, reading and going on adventures. Evan is excited to attend the Hornstein/NEJS program and continue her work within the Jewish communal world.