News

Yehudah Mirsky interviewed on podcast about the next Israeli elections
In the Vibe of the Tribe Podcast – Episode 74: Israeli Election Redux, on June 25, 2019, Professor Yehudah Mirsky and our former associate director Dr. Rachel Fish help listeners understand the upcoming Israeli elections. 
Jonathan Sarna on the shift in American Jews’ attitudes toward Israel

In a July 1, 2019 interview with BrandeisNOW, Jonathan Sarna speaks to the changing relationship between American Jews and Israel.  The interview follows the publication, by Yale University Press, of the 2nd edition of Sarna's seminal book, "American Judaism."

The Jerusalem Post interviews Shayna Weiss

Amy Spiro interviewed our associate director and resident expert on the politics of Israeli popular culture for her article, Assessing the Gal Gadot Effect on Israel's Image, which ran in The Jerusalem Post on June 20, 2019.

Shayna Weiss quoted in The Atlantic
Peter Beinart quotes our associate director Shayna Weiss in his June 20, 2019 article in The Atlantic, Unpacking the Immense Popularity of Shtisel.
Shayna Weiss speaks on Al Jazeera's "The Stream"
On May 16, 2019, our associate director Shayna Weiss spoke on Al Jazeera English's "The Stream" about Israel and Eurovision, for their segment on the Eurovision boycott. Watch the recording. To learn more about the topic, read Pop Toys and Power Politics: Israel and the Eurovision Song ContestWeiss's article in the Jewish Review of Books. 
Historian Jonathan Sarna Fact-checks Rep. Tlaib's Holocaust/Israel Comments
The Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) interviewed scholar, historian, and Schusterman Center director Jonathan Sarna for a May 14, 2019 article about Rep. Rashida Tlaib's comments claiming Palestinians offered Jews a safe refuge from the Holocaust. He discredited those claims, explaining that "the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, helped the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS.” Sarna advised that people “interested in facts, rather than distortions and propaganda, should consult Klaus Gensicke and Alexander Fraser Gunn’s 'The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: The Berlin Years,' or the very readable book by David Dalin and John Rothmann, 'Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam'.” Read Jackson Richman's article on the Jewish News Syndicate website.
Israel and the Eurovision Song Contest - Shayna Weiss in the Jewish Review of Books

Associate director Shayna Weiss's Pop Toys and Power Politics: Israel and the Eurovision Song Contest, appeared May 13, 2019 in the Jewish Review of Books. "But not taking Eurovision seriously or ignoring it altogether means ignoring the power of cultural politics and performance. Eurovision is a deeply political activity disguised as a campy contest that hopes to transcend those very politics. For Israel, being part of Eurovision is a potent way of asserting its identity as a member of the community of nations. It’s a reflection of the classic Zionist idea of normalization, of creating a Jewish country that is a country like any other." Read the article

Maham Ayaz Wins 2019 University Prize Instructorship
Congratulations to Maham Ayaz! Schusterman doctoral fellow Maham Ayaz was one of seven graduate students selected for a 2019 University Prize Instructorship. Awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), the grant enables recipients to design and teach their own courses for undergraduate students. Maham's course, The State and the Individual, will include Israel as a case study. Read about the award and Maham's course.
"Israeli TV hits the big time" - an interview with Shayna Weiss
Our associate director and scholar Shayna Weiss explains how Israeli TV developed and the role it plays in Israeli society and politics in this BrandeisNOW interview, on May 6, 2019. Get some solid insight into what shows like Fauda, Shtisel, and Prisoners of War reveal about Israeli society and politics, and why they are resonating so strongly with American audiences these days. Read the interview
New book on "Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict" features scholarship by Summer Institute for Israel Studies alumni
Summer Institute for Israel Studies alumna Rachel Harris has a new book, "Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict," published by Wayne State University Press in April 2019. Harris edited the volume, which includes chapters by 17 Summer Institute for Israel Studies (SIIS) alumni, and by our associate director Shayna Weiss. Many of the contributing SIIS authors speak about how the Summer Institute impacted them and their scholarship. In the introduction, Harris cites the program as the inspiration for the book.
Yehudah Mirsky's article in the Jewish Review of Books
Yehudah Mirsky 's essay in the Spring issue of the Jewish Review of Books, "Universal Rights and the Particular Jew," delves into Jewish involvement in the creation of the human rights system after the Holocaust. Read his throughtful piece, which discusses, among other elements, the history of shifting international attitudes toward Israel.
Former Eizenstat Grant recipients receive Wexner fellowships
Congratulations to former Eizenstat '65 Undergraduate Israel Travel Grantees, Hannah Kober and Ezra Cohen, on being named Wexner Fellows! From strength to strength. See them and the other Wexner fellows.
Jonathan Sarna at the Brandeis Seminar on Contemporary Jewish Life
On March 27, 2019, our director spoke on the subject "Next Year in Jerusalem in Contemporary American Haggadot." 
Ilana Szobel will deliver the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program's 2018-2019 Distinguished Faculty Lecture
Professor Ilana Szobel will present her lecture "Sexualized Violence in Modern Hebrew Literature and Israeli Culture"on April 11 at 2:00 PM at Brandeis University in Skyline Commons. Learn more about this and other upcoming events.
Yehudah Mirsky Speaks UN Panel marking solemn anniversary

On March 26, 2019 Professor Yehudah Mirsky will participate in a panel at the UN marking the 25th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide, The Genocide Convention at 70: From Definition to Implementation. The event is organized by the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations and the World Jewish Congress.

 

Yehudah Mirsky on Understanding The New Post-Secular Israel

In his article, Understanding The New Post-Secular IsraelProfessor Yehudah Mirsky parses some of the deeper currents in Israeli politics and society today. The article appeared in the New York Jewish Week on March 14, 2019. Useful reading in advance of the Israeli elections taking place April 9, 2019. 

Jonathan Sarna's five must-read books about American anti-Semitism

Just in time for the U.S. House of Representatives March 6, 2019 vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, our director Jonathan Sarna has you covered with his five must-read books about American anti-Semitism. Check out his recommednations in BrandeisNOW

Our newest graduate: Dr. Amber Taylor

Congratulations to our newly minted PhD, Dr. Amber Taylor! The newest graduate of our Schusterman Doctoral Fellowship program and of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department successfully defended her dissertation, "Contest and Controversy in the Creation of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center, 1984-1987," on February 26, 2019. Dr. Taylor will bring her Israel studies expertise to bear in her new position as a writer/historian at the History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, focusing on women's history.

Yehudah Mirsky in Tablet Magazine: The End of the World That 1948 Made
In this Tablet Magazine article, Yehudah Mirsky explores the legacy of key events in the year Israel of Israel's founding and the impact that continues to resonate today.

"2018 was, on top of everything else, one long procession of 70th anniversaries of the raft of monumental events of 1948. Those 70-year-old decisions were critical in creating the historical reality we have been living in for two generations, and, taken together, they comprise a set of ideas about what it takes to make a decent, livable world. Looking at those anniversaries together helps us better understand how and why that world is now coming apart, and what it might take to put at least some of it back together, and maybe even move forward..." Continue reading at Tablet Magazine.
Congratulations, Eva Gurevich, ABD!
Congratulations to Schusterman Doctoral fellow Eva Gurevich, whose thesis proposal has just been accepted. She is now officially ABD (all but dissertation). Eva is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Way to go, Eva!
Congratulations, Professor Yehudah Mirsky!
Brandeis University Dean of Arts and Sciences Dorothy L. Hodgson has awarded the rank of Full Professor to Schusterman Center core faculty member Yehudah Mirsky. The promotion recognizes his outstanding contributions in scholarship, development of new courses and outreach beyond the University. Congratulations, Prof. Mirsky!
Celebrating the Founding of the AJS at Brandeis University
On Monday, December 17, 2018, at the 50th Annual Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) Conference, the Schusterman Center will cosponsor this year's Brandeis University reception. Conference registrants, including Brandeis alumni, faculty, and graduate students, will celebrate the founding of the AJS here at Brandeis University. Core Schusterman Center faculty members, including Ilana Szobel, Alexander Kaye, Yehudah Mirsky and Associate Director Shayna Weiss, are presenting at the conference. 
Publications - Journal

Check out the latest issue of our journal "Israel Studies," Volume 24.1 (Spring, 2019). Read it online at JSTOR and Project MUSE. This issue features not one but two special sections, Art and Design, and Security and Foreign Policy Issues. Access the journal through an institutional subscription, or subscribe directly.

Shayna Weiss Speaks at Boston Jewish Film Festival

On November 18, our associate director Shayna Weiss is speaking at the Boston Jewish Film Festival. She will introduce a screening of Israeli TV show "Shababnikim," contextualizing it within the framework of Israeli culture and society. This event is part of the Festival's TLV TV Binge Day.

Lebanese Newspaper L'Orient Le Jour Interviews Yehudah Mirsky
Lebanon's leading French daily paper L'Orient Le Jour interviewed Professor Yehudah Mirksy for an article (in French) on Israel - Diaspora relations, published on November 13.
"A Home for All Jews" Named the Finalist for the Jordan Schnitzer Award

On November 12, the Association for Jewish Studies named Orit Rozin's "A Home for All Jews: Citizenship, Rights and National Identity in the New Israeli State" (Brandeis University Press: Schusterman Series in Israel Studies & Brandeis Series in Gender, Culture, Religion, and Law) the finalist for the prestigious Jordan Schnitzer Award in the category of Modern Jewish History and Culture: Europe and Israel. These awards recognize outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies and honor scholars whose work embodies the best in the field: rigorous research, theoretical sophistication, innovative methodology, and excellent writing.

Jonathan Sarna Speaks at Ruderman Journalist Mission

 At the Ruderman Journalist Mission, on November 7,  Center director Jonathan Sarna spoke about "The American Jewish Community 2018: Past, Present, and a Glance at the Future" at a panel on American Jewry: The Next Generation. His co-panelists were our esteemed Brandeis colleagues Janet Krasner Aronson, Leonard Saxe and Michelle Shain of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute.

Jonathan Sarna Sheds Light on American Jewry for an Israeli Audience
Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon published an expanded translation of Schusterman Center director Jonatham Sarna's Tablet article, The Future of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre: Is American anti-Semitism really distinctive from that of other diaspora countries? Just how worried should we be?
Yehudah Mirky Speaks at Annual 2018 ADL Meeting

On November 8 Yehudah Mirsky spoke at the National Commission Meeting of the Anti-Defamation League, held this year in Houston, TX, on "Israeli Religious Pluralism and American Jewry."

Shayna Weiss Interviewed for a PRI.org Story

Schusterman Center associate director Shayna Weiss was interviewed for "The ultra-Orthodox are the hottest thing on Israeli TV," a story in Public Radio International's Global Post.

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat VIsits Brandeis to Meet Israel Travel Grantees

On Tuesday, November 6, former Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat visited the Schusterman Center to meet with the six recipients of the Frances Taylor Eizenstat '65 Undergradute Israel Travel Grant, which he established in memory of his wife. Our grantees shared their projects with the Ambassador, and the other students, staff and faculty who came to hear the presentations. Their projects ranged broadly from playing an integral role in the launch of a cutting edge tech startup in Tel Aviv, to senior thesis research examining the ways that Jewish religious law accommodates the conflicting needs of observant individuals dealing with mental illness, to working in a biochemistry lab with a world-famous geneticist, to name a few. Brandeis students never cease to impress! Read about the 2017-2018 grantees and their intriguing projects!

Meet Our New Leadership Team and Faculty


Director: University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna ’75, MA’75

Associate Director: Dr. Shayna Weiss '07

Karl, Harry and Helen Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies: Professor Alexander Kaye  

Doctoral Student Career Moves

Schusterman Scholar Gangzheng She, who graduated with his PhD only last spring, has already landed a tenure track position! Dr. She is now Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Tsinghua ranks 17th around the world  - 1st in China and the 3rd in Asia - according to the QS World University Rankings 2019.  See the rankings. Congratulations, Dr. She!

Publications - Books
Hot off the presses: "The Palestinian National Revival: In the Shadow of the Leadership Crisis, 1937–1967" by Moshe Shemesh, the latest in our Perspectives on Israel Studies series, published by Indiana University Press.

What reviewers are saying: 

“The web of relationships woven by Palestinians—leaders and ordinary subjects of regimes that felt embattled and weak—was extraordinarily complicated and often changed as swiftly as did the regimes. Moshe Shemesh unravels these complexities and all students of the Middle East, no matter their background, will benefit.”
— Donna Robinson Divine, author of "Exiled in the Homeland: Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine"

“This impressive book reflects a lifetime of immersion in Palestinian history, and as a result, throws a great deal of new light on many aspects of Palestinian society and politics. Moshe Shemesh adds new facts and insights to virtually every major episode in the forty-year period he covers.” 
— Avi Shlaim, author of "The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World"