Fall 2020 Update
Brandeis will provide an on-campus residential experience for undergraduate students this fall, with classes held in person, remotely or through a combination of both methods. Our graduate schools will offer their classes in a hybrid format. Learn more about our plans for the fall 2020 semester.
On August 3, our own Alexander Kaye, the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, led a webinar, "Jewish Theocracy vs. Democracy - the Battle over Israel's Identity," for f the Hiddush series, "Israel/Diaspora at a crossroads - Religion, Law, and Morality in challenging times." Hiddush, an NGO that deals with religious pluralism in Israel, presented the webinar in partnership with Ruach Hiddush [Rabbis and Cantors for Religious Freedom in Israel], JPLAN [Jewish Pluralism Legal Action Network] and AAJLJ [American Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists]. Prof Kaye is the author of "The Invention of Jewish Theocracy: The Struggle for Legal Authority in Modern Israel."
Accomplished Schusterman Scholar and Doctoral Fellow, PhD '17, NEJS, Dr. Mostafa Hussein has a new article in Ha'aretz on Hebrew and Jewish studies in Egypt that explores the development of this knowledge and its place within the Egyptian culture from the beginning of the 20th century until today. Read "Jewish Studies on the Nile: The Rise of Hebrew and Jewish Degrees in Egypt". Dr. Hussein is an intellectual historian studying the intertwined worlds of Jews and Muslims in the modern Middle East. He is a faculty member at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and LSA Collegiate Fellow at UM's International Institute.
Our own Alexander Kaye, the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, was interviewed online on June 8, 2020 about his recent book, The Invention of Jewish Theocracy: The Struggle for Legal Authority in Modern Israel (Oxford University Press, 2020). Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, President and Dean of Valley Beit MIdrash in Phoenix, AZ interviewed Prof. Kaye. Watch the interview on YouTube, or listen on SoundCloud.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) has honored our director Jonathan D. Sarna this month by naming him a 2020 Superstar. CJP awards this designation to volunteers who make a substantive positive impact in the community. As Chair of the CJP Jewish Journalism Task Force, Dr. Sarna "brought his expertise, academic approach, and creativity to lead an incredibly engaged and thoughtful group of volunteers. Jonathan asked challenging questions and engaged CJP in a new way of thinking through research and analysis. brought his expertise, academic approach, and creativity to lead an incredibly engaged and thoughtful group of volunteers. Jonathan asked challenging questions and engaged CJP in a new way of thinking through research and analysis." Read more.
We are proud to congratulate core Schusterman Center faculty member Gannit Ankori on her new position as Interim Director and Chief Curator of the Rose Art Museum, which will begin July 1st. Dr. Ankori is Professor of Art History and Theory and Chair in Israeli Art at the Departments of Fine Arts, and the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She has published and lectured extensively about modern and contemporary art from a global perspective, with emphasis on issues pertaining to gender, nationalism, identity, religion, trauma, exile, hybridity, disability, and their manifestations in the creative arts. Please join us in congratulating Professor Ankori on her appointment. We wish her every success as she assumes this new and exciting challenge!
We are proud to announce our new Research Guide to Israel Studies, a one-stop shop for Israel Studies queries, needs, and information. Launched on May 12, 2020, this free guide contains resources for researchers of every kind. From the high schooler writing a class report, to a journalist looking for reliable information, to a senior academic with thirty years' experience, everyone - especially those now working from home - will find it invaluable. Produced with the Israel Studies faculty at Brandeis University, in conjunction with other leading scholars, and edited by our associate director, Dr. Shayna Weiss, this is the most comprehensive guide of its kind available. Explore the Research Guide to Israel Studies, and share it with everyone in your life interested in learning more about Israel.
Schusterman doctoral fellow Iddo Haklai has published his first scholarly article. "Four Paradigms of Legal Change: American Conservative Halachic Rulings on Women’s Roles in Synagogue Practice" appears in Volume 40, Issue 2 of Modern Judaism: A Journal of Jewish Ideas and Experience, published by Oxford University Press. Haklai's research focuses on the theological frameworks and concepts developed by thinkers within the religious-Zionist labor movement in British Mandatory Palestine, and their integration of religious traditionalism, Zionism, modernism and social-democratic ideas. Read the abstract.
On May 7, 2020, our associate director Shayna Weiss appeared in Identity/Crisis, a new weekly roundtable podcast about news and ideas helmed by Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. In this episode, Kurtzer discusses the Netflix series Unorthodox and depictions of Jewish culture in TV and film with guests Joseph Cedar (director of Oscar-nominated Footnote), Naomi Seidman (author of My Scandalous Rejection of Unorthodox in Jewish Review of Books) and our very own Shayna Weiss, Brandeis University's resident Israeli television scholar. Listen to the episode.
On April 29, our associate director Dr. Shayna Weiss delivers the lecture "A Day in Degania: Building a Secular Utopia in Israel's First Kibbutz" for the CJP Genesis Forum monthly series. Sessions are recorded and made available online. We will post a link to Dr. Weiss's talk once it is posted.
On April 22, our director, Professor Jonathan D. Sarna, participates in the virtual conversation: (Jewish) Journalism in (the Coronavirus) Crisis. The discussion is part of The Forward's new series, #ForwardFocus: Talks in Trying Times.
On April 17, Alexander Kaye, the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Chair of Israel Studies, chaired an online book talk by Derek Penslar about his recently published Theodore Herzl: The Charismatic Leader, The webinar was a presentation of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) at Harvard University.
Congratulations to Walker Robins, former Schusterman Center post-doctoral fellow and Summer Institute for Israel Studies alum, on the publication of his first book, Between Dixie and Zion: Southern Baptists and Palestine before Israel. The book examines Southern Baptist engagement with Palestine and the Palestine question prior to 1948. Dr. Robins revised the manuscript during his post-doctoral Israel Institute fellowship at the Schusterman Center. He is now a lecturer in history at Merrimack College in North Andover.
Rutgers University Press has published, Under Quarantine: Immigrants and Disease at Israel’s Gate, a recent book by Summer Institute for Israel Studies alumna Rhona Seidelman. The book is especially relevant at the present moment, as we live through the Coronavirus outbreak, a time marked by quarantines, some mandatory, others self-imposed, and related issues of immigration. Add it to your homebound reading list.
In January, AJC Jerusalem hosted a meeting of representatives of over ten Israeli universities and colleges for a discussion with AJC’s Israel-Diaspora Task Force, to explore the potential of a joint project. Our director, Jonathan D. Sarna co-lead the meeting with Dr. Steve Bayme, AJC’s Director of Contemporary Jewish Life department.
The Schusterman Center is proud to see so many of our faculty members presenting at the annual Association for Jewish Studies Conference. If you are at AJS, please consider attending these discussions.
- Jonathan Sarna will take part in roundtable Between Activism and Theology: A Critical Examination of the Role of Yitz Greenberg in American Judaism on Mon, December 16, 1:30 - 3:00 PM, Hilton Bayfront San Diego, Sapphire 410A.
- Shayna Weiss will be a panelist for Jews and other “Others” on Global Television on Mon, December 16, 1:30 - 3:00 PM, Hilton Bayfront San Diego, Aqua Salon AB. Her presentation is titled Reshaim Arurim: The Case of Linguistic Others in Israeli Television.
- Shayna Weiss will also participate in Building Bridges: Feminist Mentorship, Collaboration, and Coalition-Building roundtable on Mon, December 16, 5:15 - 6:45 PM, Hilton Bayfront San Diego, Aqua 307.
- Alexander Kaye will be a discussant at Exile in the Modern Jewish Imagination roundtable on Tue, December 17, 3:15 - 4:45 PM, Hilton Bayfront San Diego, Aqua 303.
The number of Israeli TV shows, movies and adaptations being released in the US is staggering. Read more about all the current and upcoming shows and movies from Israel that you can watch on Netflix. Gannit Ankori, Schusterman Center Faculty member and professor of Art History and Theory at Brandeis University who specializes in contemporary Israeli and Palestinian art, film and visual culture examines these shows and offers her comments in this new article in The Forward.
October 24, 2019Jonathan Sarna spoke at the New York Historical Society's celebration of the 150th anniversary of Mark Twain's INNOCENTS ABROAD, (1869). The anniversary is being marked by an exhibit on Mark Twain and the Holy Land at NYHS. Professor Sarna discussed the significance of Mark Twain's trip and his book, the transformation that steam travel produced, and the rise of holy land tourism in the second half of the 19th century. The noted American historian Prof. Gil Troy interviewed Professor Sarna on stage to the audience of 200, including notable members such as Ron Chernow and Roger Hertog.
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.
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.
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.
In his article, Understanding The New Post-Secular Israel, Professor 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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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!
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!
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"