SIIS Faculty at Brandeis (2017)

Ghaith al-Omari, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Ghaith al-Omari, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, is the former executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine. Previously, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including advisor to the negotiating team during the 1999-2001 permanent-status talks where he participated in the Camp David summit.

Gannit Ankori, Brandeis University
Ankori is head of the Division of Creative Arts at Brandeis University. She is professor of Art History & Theory and chair in Israeli Art at the Department of Fine Arts and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. Ankori has published extensively in the field of Israeli and Palestinian art, with special emphasis on issues pertaining to gender, nationalism, religion, trauma, exile, hybridity and their manifestations in art and film. Her book Palestinian Art (Reaktion Books, London 2006) was awarded a “Polonsky Prize for Originality and Creativity in the Humanistic Disciplines” in 2007. She has curated several exhibitions of Israeli and Palestinian artists, among them “Home” (1997) with Jack Persekian at Gallery Anadiel, Jerusalem and “Dor Guez: 100 Steps to the Mediterranean” (2012) with Dabney Hailey at the Rose Art Museum. She is currently working on a series of exhibitions of Israeli video art. Ankori has also published three books and numerous articles on the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, among them her 2013 book Frida Kahlo that is part of Reaktion Book's acclaimed ‘critical lives’ series; her 2002 Imaging Her Selves: Frida Kahlo’s Poetics of Identity and Fragmentation; and a major catalogue essay for the Kahlo retrospective at Tate Modern, London (2005). Before coming to Brandeis in 2010, she served as the Henya Sharef Professor of Humanities and chair of the Department of Art History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At Brandeis she teaches courses on Israeli and Palestinian Art, Art and Trauma, and on the Legacy of Frida Kahlo.

Steven Bayme, American Jewish Committee
Bayme is the national director of the William Petshek Contemporary Jewish Life Department of the American Jewish Committee and of the Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations. He holds the title of Visiting Associate Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and has lectured widely across the country and taught at Yeshiva University, Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College and Queens College. He has published articles on family policy, intermarriage, liberal Judaism, Jewish parenting, Jewish responses to modernity, Jewish attitudes on terrorism and violence and modern Orthodoxy in America. He has edited a volume of essays on American Jewry entitled Facing the Future: Essays on Contemporary Jewish Life, is co-editor of a volume entitled Rebuilding the Nest: A New Commitment to the American Family, and is co-editor of The Jewish Family and Jewish Continuity. His volume, Understanding Jewish History: Texts and Commentary, is widely used in adult education. Recently published are Continuity and Change: Festschrift in Honor of Irving (Yitz) Greenberg’s 75th Birthday, co-edited by Bayme and Steven Katz (University Press of America) and American Jewry’s Comfort Level: Present and Future, with Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs).

Uri Bialer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Brandeis University
Bialer is the Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the Hebrew University and Maurice B. Hexter Chair in International Relations – Middle Eastern Studies. He is the former director of Yad Ben Zvi Institute for the Study of Eretz Israel, visiting fellow at St. Antony’s College Oxford, at the British Academy, at Harvard University, and visiting professor at the University of Chicago, at Monash University and at New York University. Publications include: Cross on the Star of David: The Christian World in Israel’s Foreign Policy 1948-67 (2005); Oil and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1948-1967 (1999); Between East and West: Israel's Foreign Policy Orientation 1948-1956, Cambridge University Press (1990); and The Shadow of the Bomber: The Fear of Air Attack and British Politics 1932-1939 (1980). At Brandeis he served as visiting professor at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Department of History, teaching about Israeli foreign policy.

David Ellenson, Brandeis University
David Ellenson is director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Chancellor-emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served as president of HUC-JIR from 2001-2013. In the spring of 2015, New York University appointed him as Distinguished Visiting Professor and he taught there in the Skirball Department of Judaic Studies in 2015 and 2016. A scholar of modern Jewish thought and history, Ellenson is recognized for his writings and publications in these fields. He has written extensively on the origins and development of Orthodox Judaism in Germany during the nineteenth century, Orthodox legal writings on conversion in Israel, North America, and Europe during the modern era, the relationship between religion and state in Israel, the history of modern Jewish religious movements, and American Jewish life. Ellenson has authored or edited seven books and over 300 articles and reviews in a wide variety of academic and popular journals and newspapers.

Shai Feldman, Brandeis University
Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. He is also an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Before joining the Crown Center, Feldman served from 1997 to 2005 as head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and from 2001 to 2003, as a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Author of numerous publications, Feldman has written five books on the topic of Israeli security and peacemaking, including: Israeli Nuclear Deterrence: A Strategy for the 1980s (1982); The Future of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation (1996); Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control in the Middle East (1997); Bridging the Gap – A Future Security Architecture for the Middle East (1997) with Abdullah Toukan; and, Track-II Diplomacy – Lessons from the Middle East (2003) with Hussein Agha, Ahmad Khalidi, and Zeev Schiff. His book, Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East, co-authored with Abdel Monem Said Aly and Khalil Shikaki, was published in October 2013.

Rachel Fish, Brandeis University
Rachel Fish, PhD’13, is associate director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. She completed her doctoral degree in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department at Brandeis University in 2013. Her dissertation, “Configurations of Bi-nationalism: The Transformation of Bi-nationalism in Palestine/Israel 1920's-Present,” examines the history of the idea of bi-nationalism and alternative visions for constructing the State of Israel. She has worked as an educator and consultant in various capacities in the Jewish community and higher education, teaching about Zionism and Israeli history at Brandeis University, Harvard University, UMASS Amherst and the Me’ah Adult Education program. At Brandeis, Fish teaches the Myra Kraft Seminar on Israel at the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. In 2015 she held the Rohr Visiting Professorship at Harvard University, where she lectured on modern Israel and received the Derek Bok Certificate of Teaching Excellence.

Asa'd Ghanem, University of Haifa
Ghanem is a leading academic and intellectual among the Arabs in Israel, and is considered as one the most effective public intellectuals in Palestine\Israel. Between 1993 and 2003 he used to act as the co-director of Sikkuy-the association for civic equality in Israel, in 2006, he took a key role in the publication of the future vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel. Ghanem is a lecturer at the School of Political Science, University of Haifa. His theoretical work has explored the legal, institutional and political conditions in ethnic states and conflict studies. He published 14 books and numerous articles about ethnic politics in divided societies, including about ethnic divisions and Arab-Jewish relations in Israel.  In the context of Palestinian domain, Ghanem's work has covered issues such as Palestinian political orientations, the political structure of the Palestinian National Movement, and the future of the conflict with Israel.  He has been the initiator and designer of several policy schemes and empowerment programs for Arabs in Israel. Dr. Ghanem's recent books are the following: Palestinian Politics After Arafat: A Failed National Movement (Indiana University Press, 2009); Ethnic Politics in Israel - The Margins and the Ashkinasi Centre (Routledge Press, 2010); Palestinians in Israel - Indigenous Group Politics in the Jewish State (Madar, 2008, in Arabic); with Dan Bavly. Towards a Bi-National Homeland for Israelis and Palestinians - In Search of a Doable Solution – A United Democracy (Lambert Publishing 2015).

Jonathan Marc Gribetz, Princeton University
Gribetz is an assistant professor in the Near Eastern Studies department and in the program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University.  He earned a BA from Harvard University, a master's degree from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in Jewish and Middle Eastern history from Columbia University.  Before arriving at Princeton, he taught at Rutgers University and has been a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University.  His first book, Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter, published by Princeton University Press, was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2015.  He is currently writing a new book, tentatively titled Reading Herzl in Beirut, on the Palestine Liberation Organization's Research Center. 

Sara R. Horowitz, York University
Horowitz is a professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities and former Director of the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University in Toronto, where she teaches contemporary Jewish literature, including courses on Israeli literature and film. She is participating in SIIS to deepen her interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise in Israel studies, to enhance her courses in Israeli cinema and to develop a new course in Representations of the Holocaust in Israeli Film.  She is the author of Voicing the Void:  Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction, which received the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Book, and served as the senior editor of the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Memoirs - Canada (Series 1 and 2). She is the editor ofLessons and Legacies of the Holocaust Volume X : Back to the Sources (2012), and co-editor of the Hans Günther Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy (2016), of Encounter with Appelfeld, and other books.  In addition, she is founding co-editor of the journal KEREM:  A Journal of Creative Explorations in Judaism. She served as editor for Literature for The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture (ed. Judith Baskin).  She publishes extensively on contemporary Holocaust literature, women survivors, and Jewish North American fiction, and writes a monthly column for the Canadian Jewish News.  She served as president of the Association for Jewish Studies, sits on the Academic Advisory Committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Academic Advisory Council of the Holocaust Education Foundation.  Currently, she is completing a book called “Gender, Genocide, and Jewish Memory.”  

Joshua R. Jacobson, Northeastern University
Jacobson is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University, where he served nine years as Music Department Chairman and six years as the Bernard Stotsky Professor of Jewish Cultural Studies and inaugural chair of the Jewish Studies Committee. He is also founder and director of the Zamir Chorale of Boston, and Visiting Professor and Senior Consultant in the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College. He has guest conducted and lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Israel and Australia. In 2016 Choral Arts New England presented him the Alfred Nash Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award. Over one hundred of his choral arrangements, editions and compositions have been published, and are frequently performed by choirs around the world. His book, Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Art of Cantillation, published by the Jewish Publication Society in 2002, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. He is co-author of Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire—Volume IV: Hebrew Texts, published by earthsongs in 2009. Dr. Jacobson holds degrees in Music from Harvard College, the New England Conservatory, and the University of Cincinnati, and a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Hebrew College.

Aziza Khazzoom, Indiana University
Aziza Khazzoom is associate professor in the Department of Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages & Culture at Indiana University. Aziza Khazzoom’s work traces the formation of ethnic inequality among Jews in Israel, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. She is the author of Shifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel, Or: How the Polish Peddler Became a German Intellectual, published by Stanford University Press in 2008. The book focuses on why ethnic discrimination occurred in Israel, and argues that concerns over producing the state as western centrally determined who was excluded and who was included. Other work on ethnic formation in Israel has appeared in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Signs. She is currently collecting life stories of Polish and Iraqi Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s. She has held NSF and ISF grants and postdoctoral fellowships from Tel Aviv University and the Van Leer Institute.

David Makovsky, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and recently concluded an almost ten-month stint as a senior advisor on Secretary of State John Kerry's peace team. Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin). His 2011 maps on alternative territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reprinted by the New York Times in the paper's first interactive treatment of an op-ed. His widely acclaimed September 2012 New Yorker essay, "The Silent Strike," focused on the U.S.-Israel dynamics leading up to the 2007 Israeli attack on Syrian nuclear facilities. Before joining The Washington Institute, Mr. Makovsky was an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000. He is the former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, was diplomatic correspondent for Israel's leading daily, Haaretz, and is a former contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report. He served for eleven years as that magazine's special Jerusalem correspondent.

Yehudah Mirsky, Brandeis University
Mirsky is associate professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He teaches courses on Jewish Thought, Jewish Law, Human Rights and the nexus of religion, state and society. Mirsky worked in Washington as an aide to then-Senators Bob Kerrey and Al Gore, and at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and served in the Clinton administration as special advisor in the US State Department's human rights bureau. After the attacks of September 11 he served as a volunteer chaplain for the Red Cross. From 2002-2012, Mirsky lived in Israel where he was a fellow at the Van Leer Institute and Jewish People Policy Institute. He was a grassroots activist in Jerusalem and is on the board of Yerushalmim, the movement for a pluralist and livable Jerusalem. He has written widely on politics, theology and culture for a number of publications including The New Republic, The Daily Beast, The American Interest and The Economist. He is the author of the widely-acclaimed biography, Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution published in 2014 by Yale University Press. In 2016, Rav Kook received the Sami Rohr Choice Award from the Jewish Book Council. Mirsky studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva College and received rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem. He graduated from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the law review, and completed his PhD in Religion at Harvard University. He tweets @YehudahMirsky.

Bruce A. Phillips, HUC-USC

Bruce A. Phillips was an SIIS Fellow in 2012 and teaches a course on society and culture in Israel in the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Southern California. He is one of the leading researchers in the demography and sociology of American Jewry. His published work covers a wide variety of topics from Iranians and Israelis in the United States to Jewish suburbanization, Jewish education, the economics of Jewish life, and intermarriage.  His most recent publications are “The Geography of American Jewish intermarriage,” “New Demographic Approaches to the Study of Jewish Intermarriage,” “Not Quite White, the Jewish Ethnoburbs of Los Angeles.” He is currently writing an article on intermarriage for the American Jewish Year Book, a chapter for an edited volume on religion in Southern California, and a book manuscript pulling together two decades of research on American Jewish intermarriage. His current research projects include Jews in inner-ring suburbs, multi-racial studies as a lens for understanding Jews of mixed parentage, applying economic models to understanding intermarriage, and a demographic-historical study of race and place in Los Angeles, 1920-1930.

Elie Rekhess, Tel Aviv University and Northwestern University
Elie Rekhess specializes in the study of Israeli politics and society, the Arab minority in Israel, Jewish-Arab relations, Palestinian politics, and the Islamic resurgence in the West Bank and Gaza. He is a senior research fellow in the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University, and the head of its Program on Jewish-Arab Cooperation in Israel (sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung). As of January 2009 he is the Visiting Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University and co-chair of its Middle East Forum. In April 2010 he organized their conference “The Middle East in the 1950s – Historical Perspectives.” He authored, edited, and co-edited: Muslim Minorities in non-Muslim Countries: The Islamic Movement in Israel as a Test Case (2011), The Arab Society in Israel: A Compendium (2009), Arab Youth in Israel: Caught between Prospects and Risk, with A. Rudnitsky eds. (2008), The Arab Minority in Israel and the 17th Knesset Elections (2007), and Together but Apart: Mixed Cities in Israel (2007). Most recently, Rekhess co-edited Muslim Minorities in non-Muslim Majority Countries: The Test Case of Islamic Movement in Israel, Tel Aviv University (2013), which features his article “The Islamicization of the Arab Identity in Israel.” In 2014 his article on “The Arab Minority in Israel: Reconsidering the 1948 Paradigm” appeared in Israel Studies.

Brent Sasley, University of Texas at Arlington
Brent E. Sasley is associate professor in political science, at the University of Texas at Arlington. His research and teaching focus on foreign policy decision-making, the role of collective memories and emotions in group formation, Israel studies, and Middle East studies. His most recent book, co-authored with Harold Waller, is Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society​ (Oxford University Press, 2017). He writes and interviews regularly for national and international media.

Yedidia Z. Stern, Bar-Ilan University Law School and Israel Democracy Institute
Stern is the Vice President for Research on the Jewish State at the Israel Democracy Institute and a distinguished professor at Monash University in Australia. A full professor at Bar-Ilan University Law School, Stern served as its dean from 1994 to 1998. He received his LLB degree from Bar-Ilan Law School in 1982, and earned his master's degree (1984) and doctorate (1986) from Harvard Law School. His areas of professional interest are religion and state, Jewish law, public law, corporate law, corporate acquisitions, corporate finance and corporate governance. Stern is co-editor of the scholarly journal Democratic Culture and of the series Israeli Judaism. He is also a regular contributor to the Israeli and international press. Stern has served on numerous national committees on constitutional and commercial affairs, including the Israeli government’s Commission of Inquiry into the State's Treatment of the Residents of Gush Katif after the Disengagement (2009). Stern won the Zeltner Prize for excellence in legal research in Israel in 2009. Additionally, Stern is co-editor of the scholarly journal Democratic Culture (published by Bar-Ilan University Law School in conjunction with IDI) and of the series Israeli Judaism (published jointly by Keter Publishing House, Bar-Ilan University Law School, and the Shalom Hartman Institute).

Asher Susser, Tel Aviv University
Susser is the Stanley and Ilene Gold Senior Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel-Aviv University. He is a former visiting professor in Israel studies at the University of Arizona and former visiting senior fellow on the Myra and Robert Kraft Chair in Arab Politics at Brandeis University. He has been teaching at Tel Aviv University's Department for Middle Eastern History for over 30 years and was director of their Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies from 1989-1995 and from 2001-2007. One of Israel’s leading experts on Jordan and the Palestinians, Susser was the only Israeli academic invited by Prime Minister Rabin to join him and King Hussein at their historic appearance before the U.S. Congress. His most recent publications include: Israel, Jordan and Palestine - The Two State Imperative (Crown Center publication, 2011); The Rise of Hamas in Palestine and the Crisis of Secularism in the Arab World (2010); Challenges to the Cohesion of the Arab State (ed. 2008); and Jordan: Case Study of a Pivotal State (2000).

Ilana Szobel, Brandeis University
Szobel is the assistant professor on the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Chair in Hebrew Literature. Her recent book, A Poetics of Trauma: The Work of Dahlia Ravikovich (2013) was published as part of the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies. It examines the work of Dahlia Ravikovich (1936-2005), one of the most significant cultural figures in Israeli society. Szobel has authored various articles treating Hebrew literature, gender and trauma studies, psychoanalysis, disability studies, and Israeli film. She is currently working on a second book project, Flesh of My Flesh: Sexual Violence in Hebrew Literature and Israeli Culture. This study explores the literary history of sexual assault in Hebrew literature. In her teaching, Szobel presents the challenges posed by gender, war and peace, family structure, and economic and cultural dislocation as compelling entry points for the study of Israeli society and culture.

Ilan Troen, Brandeis University
Ilan Troen '63 is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies and founding director of the Schusterman Center. He is currently chair of the Center’s publications committee and serves as president of the Association for Israel Studies. Before joining Brandeis, he served as dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives in Sede Boker, Israel. He has authored or edited numerous books in American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is also the founding editor of Israel Studies (Indiana University Press), the leading journal in this new field, and co-edits the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies. His publications include Jewish Centers and Peripheries: European Jewry Between America and Israel 50 Years after World War II (1998); The Americanization of Israel (2001), with Glenda Abramson; Divergent Jewish Cultures: Israel and America (2001), with Deborah Dash-Moore; Imagining Zion: Dreams, Designs and Realities in a Century of Jewish Settlement (2003); with Jacob Lassner, Jews and Muslims in the Arab World; Haunted by Pasts Real and Imagined (2007); with Maoz Azaryahu (eds.), Tel Aviv, The First Century: Visions, Designs, Actualities (2012); with Donna Robinson Divine (eds.), Zionism in the Twenty-First Century (2014) and, with Rachel Fish (eds.), Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century (Indiana University Press, 2017).

Shayna Weiss, United States Naval Academy
Shayna Weiss is the Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Israel Studies at the United States Naval Academy. She earned a BA (summa cum laude) in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and International and Global Studies from Brandeis University in 2007. In 2015, she earned  a PhD from New York University in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in Israel at Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University, where she taught courses about Israeli history and society. She has also taught at Brooklyn College and New York University. Dr. Weiss' dissertation, "A beach of their own: the origins of gender segregation in the Israeli public sphere" examines controversies about mixed and separate swimming in Israel as a lenses to understand conflicts of religion, gender, and state. She is currently revising her dissertation into a book manuscript. Dr. Weiss is also interested in the politics of Israeli popular culture, particularly in television and film.