Doctoral Students

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Although the Schusterman Center is not a degree-granting institution, it supports GSAS doctoral students whose dissertation research focuses on Israel.

These Schusterman Scholars are part of the intellectual hub of students, faculty and visiting scholars that make up the Center. Bi-monthly seminars on Israel Studies enrich their academic coursework.

Click here for information on how to apply.

Scroll below for profiles of our current Schusterman Scholars.


Aviv Ben-Or, NEJSAviv Ben-Or

Aviv is broadly interested in Hebrew literature and the Jewish literary tradition and more specifically in regard to Arab-Jewish identity. His research will be looking at the Hebrew and Arabic works of Shimon Ballas and Sami Mikhael, both Baghdad-born Jewish authors who have lived in Israel since the 1950s. He will be spending the rest of 2013 in Israel conducting dissertation research.


zeynep civcik

Zeynep Civcik, NEJS

In 2003-2004 Zeynep conducted a research project at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and wrote a thesis about the changes and continuities of Israeli security policy. For her dissertation, she is nearing completion of a comparative study of the role of the military in the foreign policies of Turkey and Israel.

eric fleisch

Eric Fleisch, NEJS

Eric's dissertation "Israeli NGOs and Their Overseas Partners: The Real and Perceived Boundaries of Influence and Legitimacy" studies the historical development of relationship structures and dynamics between Israeli NGOs and American Jews who fund their work. It examines the formal organizational structures mediating the philanthropic relationships as well as the range of opinions regarding the ideal roles each should play in diasporic partnerships.


eva gurevich

Eva Gurevich, NEJS

Eva is pursuing her interest in the cultural history of conceptions of land, place and space in Israel-Palestine. She holds a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, and has worked in several Jewish museum and art institutions including The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at University of California, Berkeley. Eva speaks fluent Hebrew and Russian, and is currently gaining proficiency in Arabic.


mostafa hussein Mostafa Hussein, NEJS

An alumnus of Al-Azhar University in Cairo (M.A. 2009), Mostafa’s research interests center around the intellectual and cultural exchanges between Jews and Muslims. His work focuses on the period beginning with the rise of academic Jewish studies (Die Wissenschaft des Judentums) in the mid-19th century to the present. Mostafa hopes to further explore the works of Jewish Islamicists in the German Academy and the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Hebrew University in Mandatory Palestine.


Susanna Klosko, NEJSSusanna Klosko

Susanna received her B.A. in History with a minor in Russian Studies from the College of William and Mary. In fall 2013 she is in Israel researching her dissertation, which examines mental health care at the turn of the century. She compares Palestine's first mental hospital, Ezrath Nashim, to international welfare organizations for Palestine's Jews. In doing so, she examines how the language of poverty and debility used by such institutions inscribed the relationship between the healthy and the sick.


ari moshkovskyAri Moshkovski, NEJS

A student of Israeli and Middle Eastern history and politics, Ari's research interests focus on the roles of security, religion and nationalism in Arab-Israeli relations. He holds a BA (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and an MA from Queens College, CUNY. Ari co-founded the Queens College Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding, funded by a US Department of Education grant.


Idan Rochell, HistoryIdan Rochell

Idan's MA research at the University of Haifa focused on the diplomatic history of the US-Israeli relationship with regard to water development. His doctoral research will examine the mutual geopolitical interests and common democratic tradition underlying the US-Israel relationship and both sides' decision-making.


Jason Olson, NEJSJason Olson

Jason is in his 4th year as a PhD candidate and conducting research on the question of Christian support for and opposition to the state of Israel. His dissertation will show how Christian solidarity with the State of Israel shifted from the liberal Protestants before 1967, to the conservative Protestants post-1967, and how the rise of both the Likud party and the Christian Right in American has transformed the US-Israeli relationship itself.


Gangzheng She

Gangzheng She, NEJS

Gangzheng received his B.A in Hebrew Culture and Literature from Peking University. He used to work for China Development Research Foundation and the Organizing Committee of Guangzhou Award. His research interests focus on domestic politics and foreign policies of Israel during the Cold War, China's evolving engagement in the Middle East and in particular Sino-Israel relations.


karen spira

Karen Spira, NEJS

Karen's doctoral work focuses on the intersection of Holocaust history and the State of Israel. She is spending the academic year 2013-14 in Europe and Israel researching the reconstruction of Jewish family life in Israel among Czechoslovak Holocaust survivors. Proficient in Hebrew, she is pursuing Slovak during the summer of 2013 as a FLAS fellow through the U.S. Department of Education. 


Amber Taylor, NEJSAmber Taylor

Amber graduated Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in Spanish Translation, and completed her MA at Brandeis in 2012, with her thesis, “Ezra Taft Benson and the State of Israel: A Mormon American Leader's Support for the Jewish State.”  Her doctoral studies will continue to examine the history of American Christian relations with Israel.  In addition to Spanish, Amber knows modern Hebrew, and plans to master Biblical Hebrew for her research.

Click here for updates on Schusterman Scholars that have completed their doctoral degrees.