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The Jewish Experience features research by Brandeis’ world-class faculty, articles on history, culture and traditions and profiles of students and alumni who are leading Jewish organizations and using their intellectual and material gifts to help heal the world - on campus and beyond. The site was inspired by the Framework for the Future, which lays out the strategic vision for the university. Be sure to check out the section devoted to Israel and the Middle East.
Schusterman Center News
February 21, 2023Elon University's Today at Elon newspaper has written a news article to inform and celebrate Waseem bin Kasim, the assistant professor of History at Elon, for his selection to the 2023 Schusterman Center’s Summer Institute for Israel Studies (SIIS). Read the article here.
February 7, 2023
We are excited to announce the publication of a new book by Paula J Birnbaum, an alumna of the 2010 Summer Institute for Israel Studies: Sculpting a Life: Chana Orloff Between Paris and Tel Aviv (Brandeis University Press, February 7, 2023; Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Series on Jewish Women). This is the first book-length biography of sculptor Chana Orloff (1888-1968). Sculpting a Life tells the amazing story of a fiercely determined and ambitious woman who fled antisemitism in Ukraine, emigrated to Palestine with her family, then travelled to Paris to work in haute couture before becoming an internationally recognized artist.
Dr. Birnbaum is currently a Professor and the Academic Director of Museum Studies at the University of San Francisco. Check out her website for upcoming book talks, including a Zoom talk on March 15, 7pm EST with the Brandeis Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series.
February 2, 2023
Summer Institute for Israel Studies 2018 alumna, Dr. Susan Kahn, has published a new book, “Canine Pioneer: The Extraordinary Life of Rudolphina Menzel." This book is about the story of Rudolphina Menzel, who was a Viennese-born Jewish scientist whose pioneering research on canine psychology, development, and behavior fundamentally shaped the ways dogs came to be trained, cared for, and understood. In the book, Kahn and her fellow contributors tease out the complexities and contradictions of Menzel and her remarkable accomplishments in the mid-twentieth-century world of dog breeding and training. The book is available for free through JSTOR or university libraries. You can purchase the book now on either Amazon or here.
December 15, 2022
On January 1, 2023, the Schusterman Center will welcome a new director: Alexander Kaye, the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Chair in Israel Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. The fourth to take the Center's helm, Prof. Kaye succeeds University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna, whose firm direction during the Covid crisis led to an expansion in the Center’s national and international reach. Please join us in congratulating Prof. Kaye as he prepares to assume stewardship of the Schusterman Center, and in thanking Prof. Sarna for his exemplary leadership over recent years. Read more.
December 8, 2022Dr. Shayna Weiss and her colleague, Dr. Melissa Weininger, have launched "It’s No Ibiza," a newsletter devoted to Israeli popular culture, spanning celebrity gossip to serious reviews of TV, music, film, and more. "It’s No Ibiza" offers Dr. Weiss' and Dr. Weininger's insights into new developments in contemporary Israeli life, and they hope it will be useful to anyone teaching courses on the topic. Read the first edition and subscribe.
December 1, 2022
Summer Institute for Israel Studies 2022 alumna, Dr. Tuğçe Ersoy Ceylan’s edited book, “Israel: ldentity, Politics, Foreign Policy, Security,” comes out at the end of December. This reference book is the first of its kind in Turkey, and marks a step further for Israel Studies in that country. Dr. Ersoy Ceylan teaches international relations at İzmir Democracy University in Turkey.
November 28, 2022
Congratulations to our newest Schusterman doctoral graduates, Dr. Rima Farah (NEJS) and Dr. Maya Dworsky-Rocha (Anthropology). On November 21, 2022, Dr. Farah successfully defended her dissertation, "A Predicament of the National Identity of Arabic-speaking Christians in Israel: 1980-2014." Then on November 28, 2022, Dr. Dworsky-Rocha successfully defended hers, “It Takes a Nation; Telescopic Temporality and Childhood in Israel." We are very proud of them and look forward to their continued growth and success.
November 16, 2022Prof. Yehudah Mirsky was quoted in The New York Times article, "As Netanyahu Nears Power, the Far Right Wants to Oversee the Army," published on November 16, 2022. Read the article.
November 6, 2022
Prof. Yehudah Mirsky was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article, "Behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s Win in Israel: The Rise of Religious Zionism," published November 6, 2022. Read the article.
October 12, 2022On October 12 & November 16, 2022, our associate director Dr. Shayna Weiss is teaching a Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning class: Israeli Current Events, in-person at Temple Emanuel of Newton. Topics will include the upcoming elections in Israel, the impact of the war in Ukraine, Orthodoxy and the state, and more! Register online. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
September 30, 2022Schusterman Center associate director Dr. Shayna Weiss is quoted in EJewish Philanthropy, in the article, "Chabad and YU are partnering to teach college classes and Israel advocacy," published September 30, 2022. Read the article.
September 23, 2022In his opinion piece, “The unique value of Israel studies,” published September 23, 2022 in EJewish Philanthropy, Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro names the Schusterman Center as a leader in the field of Israel Studies and a model for how to “foster a space where Israel can be studied and taught with rigor, nuance and sophistication.” Read the article.
September 20, 2022Happy New Year/Shanah Tovah from the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies! On the threshold of a new academic year, we're excited to share with you our 2021-2022 year in review. This was a momentous year for us. Read on to learn why.
September 19, 2022Congratulations to our newest Schusterman doctral fellow graduate, Dr. Iddo Haklai! On September 19, 2022, he successfully defended his dissertation, "'To Hear the Calling Voice of God' - The Religious Thought of the Religious-Zionist Labor Movement in Mandatory Palestine, 1922-1948." Dr. Haklai graduated from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. We are proud of him and look forward to his continued growth and success. Learn more about our Schusterman Doctoral Fellowships in Israel Studies.
September 16, 2022As part of her role in the the Haredi Research Group, Dr. Shayna Weiss wrote a blog post for a forum, “Hasidic Education in New York: A Clash of Law, Politics, and Culture,” published on September 16, 2022. The forum is a response to a controversial September 11 New York Times article about Hasidic education in New York. Dr. Weiss’s piece is about what the article means for Hasidic girls and women. Read the forum. The Haredi Research Group is an international collaborative of scholars committed to the study of Haredi history, culture, and life in the United States, Israel, Europe, and elsewhere.
September 12, 2022On September 12, 2022, our post-doctoral fellow Dr. Shula Mola presented the first lecture in the 2022-23 Black & Jewish Voices series at Harvard University, presented by the Center for Jewish Studies and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. Her presentation, entitled "'I was not black, I became black here': Formation of Blackness in Israel," was recorded. Watch the recording.
September 4, 2022During September 4-8, 2022, Professor Yehudah Mirsky presented a five-part series, in Hebrew, on Rav Kook for the Avi Chai foundation. Watch the recordings. Prof. Mirsky is one of the world’s foremost experts on the pivotal figure. His highly-praised "Rav Kook: Mabat Hadash" (Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir, 2021) is the revised Hebrew edition of his widely-acclaimed volume, "Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution" (Yale University Press, 2014).
September 1, 2022We are excited to welcome our newest Schusterman Scholar, doctoral fellow Skyler Inman. A PhD student in Anthropology, her research interests include ethnicity and migration, nationalism and the self, as well as family, identity, belonging, and the political and ideological formation of young people. She received a BA in English from Yale University, and an MA in International Development Studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Before coming to Brandeis for her doctoral studies, she worked as a multimedia storyteller, writing, photographing, and producing radio pieces about a range of topics. Her dissertation will look at identity and belonging amongst non-Jewish youth in South Tel Aviv—primarily the children of asylum seekers and foreign workers—who are coming of age in Hebrew-speaking social and educational environments while grappling with their identities as the Israeli national "other." See all our Schusterman Scholars.
August 30, 2022Israeli public television's Kan 11 interviewed (in Hebrew) our own Prof. Yehudah Mirsky on the 87th anniversary of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook's death (on the Hebrew calendar), about his book "Rav Kook: Mabat Hadash" (Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir, 2021). The book is the revised Hebrew edition of his widely-acclaimed volume, "Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution" (Yale University Press, 2014), and like the original English edition, it is drawing wide praise. Watch the interview.
August 8, 2022Are you looking for a dynamic position that will challenge and inspire you? Join our welcoming team! The Schusterman Center is searching for a Program Administrator to plan and implement the logistics for all Center events -- virtual, hybrid and in-person -- including our flagship Summer Institute for Israel Studies. This position also handles the Center’s financial transactions, such as payments and deposits. You will join a small but mighty team of dedicated professionals, working with scholars and speakers from all over the world in a stimulating and collaborative atmosphere. Learn more and apply today!
August 5, 2022Our associate director Dr. Shayna Weiss interviewed for and quoted in The Times of Israel article, "The Maccabiah Games are dead; long live the Maccabiah Games," on August 5, 2022. Read the article, which offers a sociocultural and historical analysis of the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition, which takes place every four (4) years in Israel, often referred to as "the Jewish Olympics."
July 14, 2022Congratulations to our newest Schusterman doctral fellow graduates, Dr. Karen Spira and Dr. Yair Bar-Zuri! Dr. Bar-Zuri defended his dissertation "Embracing Contradiction in the Writings of Aharon David Gordon and Yosef Haim Brenner" on June 23, 2022. Then on July 14, 2022, Dr. Spira defended hers, "Disadvantaged and Orphaned Jewish Children in Palestine, 1881-1939." Both of the freshly minted PhDs graduated from Brandeis' Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. We are so proud of them, and look forward to their continued growth and success. Learn more about our Schusterman Doctoral Fellowships in Israel Studies.
June 29, 2022For the first time since its inception in 2004, the Summer Institute for Israel Studies (SIIS) hosts five participants from institutions in the Abraham Accord countries of Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).While the program has hosted participants from Muslim-majority countries before, this is the first time, thanks to a generous grant, that faculty from North African and Gulf State institutions will participate. These trailblazers teach at the National Defense College in the UAE, Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech, and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, among others. Joining them at the program this summer are another 18 faculty members, who teach in colleges and universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The 2022 Summer Institute runs from June 29 - July 10 at Brandeis, and continues July 11-21 in Israel. Read more about this exciting development in the Boulder Jewish News.
June 27, 2022During June 25-27, 2022, the Schusterman Center hosted a 3-day orientation for Israel-bound participants in the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program for secondary school educators, in preparation for their five-week seminar in Israel. We provided a crash course on Israeli culture, history, innovation, the conflict, a mini Hebrew and Arabic ulpan (immersive language learning) and more. Participants ranged in age from 29 to 64 and teach in California, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. We are honored that the U.S. Department of Education chose us for this task, and proud to have been part of these educators' Fulbright experience.
June 23, 2022Our director Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna is quoted in the Jewish Journal's story, "The ‘Mapping Project’: How worried should Jews be?" originally published on June 23. Read the article.