Schusterman Seminars

A Schusterman Scholars Seminar

If you enjoy academic presentations, we encourage you to join us for our biweekly Schusterman Seminars. These are advanced seminars geared toward faculty and graduate students, and open to all, presenting the latest research in Israel Studies to the Schusterman Center community and beyond.

The Seminars are live, online events. Registration required. See below. 

Fall 2020

nuclear warheads
Rockets, Nukes and Cyber Too - Israel's Current Security Challenges

September 24, 2020

Chuck FreilichGoldman Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Politics, Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University

Dr. Freilich is the Goldman Senior Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and lecturer in the politics department at Brandeis. He is a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and long-time senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center. He has taught political science at Harvard, Columbia, NYU, and Tel Aviv University. He is the author of "Zion’s Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy" (Cornell University Press, 2012); "Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change" (Oxford University Press, 2018); and "Israel and the Cyber Threat: How the Startup Nation Became a Global Cyber Power" (forthcoming 2021). He has published numerous academic articles and over 170 op-eds and appears frequently on U.S., Israeli, and international TV and radio stations.

In conversation with:
Gary Samore, Professor of the Practice of Politics and Crown Family Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University

Introduction and Q&A by:
Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History; Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

image of citron
The Saga of the Citron: Historical and Global Perspectives

September 30, 2020

Welcome words by:

  • Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History; Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University
  • Shmuel Feiner, Professor of Modern Jewish History, Bar-Ilan University; Chairman of The Historical Society of Israel

Introduction and moderation by:


  • Debra Kaplan, Associate Professor, Department of Jewish History and Director of the Halpern Center for the Study of Jewish Self-Perception, Bar-Ilan University
  • Alexander Kaye, Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University
  • Zev EleffAssociate Professor of Jewish History, Touro College 


  • Christine Hayes, Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica, Yale University

In partnership with the Historical Society of Israel and The International Association of Historical Societies for the Study of Jewish History.

Women and children by the Western wall
Text and Violence in Jerusalem: Hebrew Graffiti on the Western Wall

October 15, 2020

Watch recording

Yair Wallach is Senior Lecturer in Israeli Studies at SOAS, University of London, where he is also the head of the SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies. He is a cultural and social historian of modern Palestine/Israel, who has published articles in Hebrew, Arabic and English on urban and visual culture, and on Jewish-Arab relations. His book, A City in Fragments: Urban Text in Modern Jerusalem, which was published by Stanford University Press in 2020, looks at Arabic and Hebrew street texts (inscriptions, banners, graffiti and other media) in modern Jerusalem. 

Dr. Wallach is currently (2020-2022) a Leverhulme Research Fellow, and his project "The Arab Ashkenazi" looks at Jewish Ashkenazi acculturation in the Arab Levant. Wallach has also published articles in Haaretz, the Guardian, and other media.
Hole in the Wall with Hebrew writing
Affirmative Squatting: Mizrahi Women in Israel Correcting Past Injustices

October 29, 2020

Thursday, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Register here

Claris Harbon, Research Associate, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University. Assistant Professor in Gender Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane

Claris Harbon is a scholar of law, socio-legal studies, race/ethnicity studies, and gender studies. Her work examines the home, especially public housing in Israel as a site of both oppression and resistance. 

Harbon received her DCL from McGill University with a dissertation "Lawbreaking as Lawmaking: Redefining Women’s Everyday Resistances to Injustices". She holds two LLM degrees, one from Tel Aviv University and one from Yale Law School.

Photo: Courtesy of MEE/Shiraz Grinbaum and Keren Manor. Translation of Hebrew graffiti: "I was born here. My children were born here. Here....." 

Haredi woman pregnant
Books and Babies: Reproductive Literacy among Haredi Women in Israel

November 12, 2020

Thursday, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

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Michal Raucher, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University

Michal Raucher is an Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Her research lies at the intersection of Israel studies, religious ethics, Jewish studies, and the anthropology of women and gender. She is interested in how Jewish women in the US and Israel push boundaries, reinforce norms, and construct moral worlds. Dr. Raucher conducted ethnographic research on reproductive ethics of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish women in Israel. For two years she interviewed ultra-Orthodox women in their homes in Jerusalem and spoke to them about their reproductive lives. Her book, which is based on this research, was published by Indiana University Press in November 2020. It is titled "Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women". Michal is currently conducting ethnographic research on the ordination of women in Orthodox Judaism in Israel and America. She has also published on embodiment in Judaism, the study of Orthodoxy and gender, sexuality and gender in Judaism, religion and bioethics, abortion legislation in Israel, and female religious advisors on the Internet. 

Sail Tower And Great Mosque, Haifa,Israel
It Takes a Nation: Telescopic Temporality and Childhood in Israel

December 3, 2020

Thursday, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

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Maya Dworsky-RochaDoctoral Student, Brandeis University

Maya Dworsky-Rocha, MA'16, studies the intersectionality of childhood and race through the lens of children’s literature. A graduate of the Comparative Humanities (MACH) program, Maya's capstone project, "White Kids Fight Dragons, Black Kids Fight Drugs," dealt with the lack of heroes of color in children's transformative literature. In her doctoral work she continues her research into the use of pedagogical narrative in the formation of ethnic and national identities not only in the US, but also in Israel and Palestine.

Pictured: Sail Tower And Great Mosque in Haifa, Israel.

A sampling of our past speakers