Faculty Crash Course 2017 Program

seminar participants

Israel: Balance and Complexity 
January 10 - 13, 2017
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
New York University


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

9:30-10:30 Welcome and Overview of the Field of Israel Studies - "Why the Teaching of Israel in the Academy Matters"

10:30-12:30 "Settling the Land - Colonialism or Colonization?"
Ilan Troen, Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies, Brandeis University and president, Association for Israel Studies

12:30-2:00 Lunch

2:00-4:00 "Origins of Zionism"
Rachel Fish, associate director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

9:30-11:30 "Jewishness in Israel"
David Ellenson, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University

12:00-1:30 "The American-Israeli Relationship"
Jerome Chanes, writer and fellow at The Center for Jewish Studies of the CUNY Graduate Center. (Lunch included).

2:00-4:00 "Jerusalem and Politics of Space and Planning"
Lior Lehrs, postdoctoral fellow at the Taub Center for Israel Studies, NYU

Thursday, January 12, 2017

9:30-11:30 "Narrating the Nation between Tragedy, Migrations, and the Mundane"
Mikhal Dekel, associate professor of English and comparative literature, City College of New York

12:00-1:30 Lunch with Rabbi Michael Miller, CEO, JCRC-NY

2:00-4:00 "Conflict and Negotiations"
Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute, Washington DC 

6:00 Cocktails and Screening: "Hamitnahalim (The Settlers)" 
Shimon Dotan, director

Friday, January 13, 2017

9:30-11:00 "Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict"
Shai Feldman, director, Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University

11:00-11:15 Coffee break

11:15-1:00 "Environment and Peace along Israeli-Arab Borders"
Shahar Sadeh, adjunct instructor with the Columbia University, Earth Institute, and a visiting scholar at NYU

1:00-2:00 Lunch and Wrap-Up

We are grateful for the generous support of donors who have made possible this collaboration between the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Jewish Community Relations Council, New York.


Jerome Chanes is a senior fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies of the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of four books and more than one hundred book-chapters, articles, reviews, and encyclopedia entries (he served as an author and as an editor of the Second Edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica) on Jewish public affairs, American Jewish history and sociology, history of Zionism, Jewish organizational structure, antisemitism, and arts and letters.  Chanes’ current projects include a book on Israeli theatre, a primary-source reader on the history of Antisemitism, and translations from Hebrew of a book on biblical history.

Mikhal Dekel is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her articles and translations have appeared in Comparative Literature, English Literary History, Jewish Social Studies, Nineteenth Century Gender Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Callaloo, Cambridge Literary Review, Guernica, and in various anthologies. Dekel’s first book, The Universal Jew: Masculinity, Modernity and the Zionist Moment, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2011. Her second book, Oedipus in Kishinev: Zionism, Tragedy, Text was published in Hebrew (Oedipus be’kishinev: Zionut, sifrut, tragedia) in 2014 by Bialik Institute Press. Dekel’s current project, a memoir of her father’s forced migration from Poland to Iran during WW2, is entitled Tehran Children, and is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in 2017.

Shimon Dotan is fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities and an award-winning filmmaker with thirteen feature films to his credit. His films have been the recipients of the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival (The Smile of the Lamb), numerous Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director (Repeat Dive; The Smile of the Lamb), Best Film at the Newport Beach Film Festival (You Can Thank Me Later) and the Special Jury Prize at Sundance (Hot House). Dotan is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship Award and of a Cullman Fellowship for scholars and writers at the New York Public Library. He has taught filmmaking and film studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel and at Concordia University in Montreal. Since 2003 he teaches at NYU and at New School 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. 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. 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, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

Rachel Fish '13 is associate director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, 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. Fish 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 she 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. She is co-editor, with Ilan Troen, of the forthcoming Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century (Indiana University Press). From her blog...

Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is a weekly columnist for The National (UAE) and Now Media, and a monthly contributing writer for The International New York Times. Ibish is also a regular contributor to many other American and Middle Eastern publications. Many of his writings are archived on his Ibishblog website. His most recent book is What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda? (ATFP, 2009). Ibish was included in all three years (2011, 2012 and 2013) of Foreign Policy‘s “Twitterati 100." Ibish previously served as a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), Executive Director of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership and Communications Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

Lior Lehrs is an Israel Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the Taub Center at New York University. He wrote his doctoral thesis in the Department of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His PhD research analyzed the phenomenon of Private Peace Entrepreneurs – private citizens with no official authority who initiate diplomatic correspondence with official representatives from the other side of a conflict in order to promote a conflict resolution process. Prior to his position at the Taub Center, Lehrs was a researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, where he focused on the topic of Jerusalem within Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and on conflicts in holy sites. He is also a Fellow at Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, and he was a Doctoral Fellow at Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

Michael Miller is executive vice president and CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. For more than two decades, he has served as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, a central coordinating body for more than 60 major civic, communal, educational and religious organizations representing the 1.4 million members of the Jewish community in the New York metropolitan area. His responsibilities include overseeing the organization’s agenda, which includes handling Israel and international affairs, security and emergency planning, intergroup and government relations, Jewish voter outreach, Jewish communal affairs, and Jewish legal assistance. Miller is recognized as one of the foremost influential leaders of the New York Jewish community. He has personally led more than 60 missions, accompanying to Israel over 500 influential New Yorkers, including former Senator Clinton and current Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Mayors Dinkins, Giuliani Bloomberg, and De Blasio, numerous members of Congress and State and City legislative leaders, media figures, and ethnic and religious notables.

Shahar Sadeh is is an adjunct instructor with the Columbia University, Earth Institute and a visiting scholar at NYU. Her field of research is Environmental Peacemaking in the Middle East. She is investigating various case studies of the relations between Israel and its neighbors and looks into past and present (governmental and nongovernmental) efforts to establish Peace Parks on their mutual borders. Sadeh received her degrees from Tel Aviv University, her BA from the Political Science Department and her MA from the Sociology and Anthropology Department writing her thesis about "The Israeli Environmental NGO's and the construction of the Security Fence."  In 2015 she received her PhD from the Porter School of Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv University. She is also director, Faculty Engagement Initiative, at the Jewish Community Relations Council, New York.

Ilan Troen '63 is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies at Brandeis and founding director of the Schusterman Center. Before joining Brandeis, he served as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives in Sede Boker, Israel, and dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He has authored or edited numerous books in American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is the founding editor of Israel Studies (Indiana University Press), the leading journal in the field, publishing three issues annually on behalf of Brandeis and Ben-Gurion University. His book publications include 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...

Return to Faculty Crash Course main page