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Meet Our Master's Students

Faisal Alasiri grew up in Saudi Arabia and received his B.A. in Hebrew and Arabic translation Faisal Alasirifrom Kind Saud University in Saudi Arabia. He is currently an M.A. student in NEJS majoring in Methods of Teaching Hebrew, and is very proud to be part of NEJS and the Brandeis community. He hopes to continue his PhD study in NEJS in Israeli Studies. His interests include Modern Semitic Linguistics as well as Hebrew Literature and Israeli Culture.

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 HarrisDavid 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 HugueninJustin 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 MuradAlaa 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 RamsayerNate 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.

Hunter Rees is a Master of Arts candidate in the program for Teaching Hebrew.  His particular Hebraic Hunter Reesinterests are Biblical and Modern Hebrew grammar and phonetics, Hebrew poetry of the 20th century, and contemporary Israeli short fiction.  Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Languages and Cultures from Columbia University, where he also studied comparative linguistics.

Megan StewartMegan 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 TaskarEvan 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.

Shane Thompson is an MA student in the Bible and the Ancient Near East track of the NEJS Department. Hailing from Columbia, SC, Shane holds a BA in History and Religion from Wake Forest University, and, among several post-grad degrees, most recently completed a Masters of Theological Studies from Candler School of Theology, Emory University.  His interests are in ritual, law, and power structures in the ancient Near East, as well as Semitic languages, Archaeology, and ritual theory.  When not studying, Shane can be found digging in Israel or cheering on the Atlanta Braves or Wake Forest Demon Deacons.