Prof. Gannit Ankori describes aspects of Israeli art to students.
The following faculty serve as the backbone of the Israel Studies curriculum on campus, bolstered by the Hebrew language faculty and visiting professors and post-doctoral fellows hosted by the Schusterman Center.
Gannit 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. More...
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. 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. His book, After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, won the National Jewish Book Council’s award as outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005. At Brandeis as of Fall 2015, he teaches courses on "Who is a Jew? Jewish Status and Identity in Israel and America" and "Modern Questions, Jewish Answers: Modern Jewish Responsa Literature." More...
Rachel Fish PhD '13 is associate director of the Schusterman Center. 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, UMASS Amherst and the Me’ah Adult Jewish 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. From her blog...
Yehudah Mirsky is associate professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis and a member of the faculty of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. 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, 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 grass-roots 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 York Times, 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 has been nominated for a Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. 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.
Eugene R. Sheppard is associate professor of Modern Jewish History and Thought, and associate director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry. He is most interested in modern German Jewish thought and the influence of European Jewish refugees on public life and academia in the United States. His publications include Leo Strauss and Politics of Exile: The Making of a Political Philosopher (2006) and Babylon and Jerusalem: Engaging the Thought and Legacy of Simon Rawidowicz (co-edited with D. Myers, forthcoming). Sheppard is co-editor, with Samuel Moyn, of the Brandeis University Press/UPNE series The Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought and associate editor of the Tauber Institute series. At Brandeis he teaches courses on Jewish nationalism and Zionist thought.
Ilan Troen '63 is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies and founding director of the Schusterman Center. He currently 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 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, Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century (Indiana University Press, forthcoming). More...
Jonathan Decter is chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Edmond J. Safra Professor of Sephardic Studies. His research focuses on Jewish literature in the Islamic World during the medieval period and in Sephardic Studies more generally. Decter is the author of Iberian Jewish Literature: Between al-Andalus and Christian Europe (Indiana University Press,) which was awarded the Salo W. Baron prize for best first book in Jewish Studies, 2007. He is also the co-editor, with Michael Rand, of Studies in Arabic and Hebrew Letters in Honor of Raymond P. Scheindlin (Gorgias Press). More...
Shai 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 Director's 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 UN 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, is forthcoming by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.
Sylvia Barack Fishman is the Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life at the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She is the author of seven books and numerous monographs and articles on the interplay of American and Jewish values, transformations in the American Jewish family, the impact of Jewish education, gender studies and the changing roles of Jewish men and women, contemporary Jewish literature and film, and the relationship of Diaspora Jews to Jewish peoplehood and Israel. Her most recent book is The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness. She is currently working on a new book, Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of the Gender Revolution. Prof. Fishman received her BA from Stern College at Yeshiva University and her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, where she wrote on the way English poets used the Hebrew Bible.
Kanan Makiya is the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Baghdad-born Makiya wrote Republic of Fear, which became a bestseller after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991. Prior to his appointment at Brandeis, he was engaged with the US government and Iraqi opposition in developing a detailed roadmap for the democratization of Iraq after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. More from his faculty page...
Jonathan Sarna '75, MA '75 is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chair of its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America’s fifty most influential American Jews, he is chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. Sarna has written, edited, or co-edited more than twenty books, including the new When General Grant Expelled the Jews. He is best known for the acclaimed American Judaism: A History. Winner of the Jewish Book Council’s “Jewish Book of the Year Award” in 2004, it has been praised as being “the single best description of American Judaism during its 350 years on American soil.” More from his faculty page...
Naghmeh Sohrabi is the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History at Brandeis and associate director for Research at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Sohrabi was a postdoctoral fellow at the Crown Center from 2005-2007. She received her PhD in history and Middle East studies from Harvard University in 2005. Her dissertation received an honorable mention from the Foundation for Iranian Studies. Her book Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts from Iran to Europe was published by Oxford University Press in 2012.
HEBREW LANGUAGE FACULTY
Sara Hascal has been a lecturer in Hebrew at Brandeis since 1985. Her specialties are in Judaic studies, Hebrew literature, and in reading consultation. She has developed Advanced Hebrew Literature I and II, which focus on the theme and unique style of young Israeli writers, stressing new trends and aspects of Israeli daily life during the last five decades. She also developed two Hebrew courses, Voices of Jerusalem and Portrait of an Israeli Woman, both of which treat the subject matter through the traditions, history, politics, arts and cultural aspects of Israel.
Ari Ofengenden is assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and director of the Hebrew language program. He is the author of The Passion for Absence in Abraham Shlonsky (Hebrew University Press, 2010) and Shlonsky an Introduction to his Poetry (De Gruyter Press, 2014). He has written numerous articles and book chapters on Hebrew poetry, contemporary Israeli Culture, Literary theory, as well as on Jewish Literature. Prior to Brandeis, he was assistant professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at Oberlin College and director of the Hebrew Program at George Washington University.
Bonit Porath is a senior lecturer in Hebrew. She teaches classes at all levels, from novice to advanced, integrating culture with language teaching. Her special area of interest is the history of the Hebrew language and the revival of Modern Hebrew. She also teaches at the Brandeis-Middlebury School of Hebrew.