Speaker Bios

Meir Elran, March 22

Tal Becker, March 23

Daniel Gordis, March 29

Michael Marmur, April 12

Moshe Fox, April 19

Spring 2016 Speakers

The Israeli Mosaic: Identity, Society and Religion
Pew Research Center Poll of Israeli Citizens

Tuesday, March 22, 2016Pew Survey 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Schusterman Center conference room
Mandel Center for the Humanities 3rd floor 

The Pew Research Center in Washington, DC and the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University have just concluded a unique and in-depth public opinion survey in Israel, polling a sample of 5600 Israeli Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and others. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Meir Elran, senior researcher at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) will present the findings.

The program is cosponsored with the Crown Center for Middle East Studies.

The Place of Justice and Human Rights in Israeli-Palestinian Peace Making:
An Insider's Perspective

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Schusterman Center conference room

Tal Becker is principal deputy legal adviser at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a senior member of the Israeli peace negotiation team, including in the last round of talks mediated by Secretary of State John Kerry.

From Dual Loyalty to Offended Liberalism:
Continuities and Discontinuities in the American Jewish - Israel Relationship

Tuesday, March 29Daniel Gordis 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library

Free and open to the public. Refreshments served.

Dr. Daniel Gordis is senior vice president and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College, the only liberal arts college in Israel. The author of more than ten books, Gordis is a regular columnist for both the Jerusalem Post and for Bloomberg View.

Abraham Joshua Heschel and his Role in the Civil Rights Struggles of the 1960s

Tuesday, April 12
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.Michael Marmur

Reading Room, 3rd floor Mandel Center for the Humanities

Free and open to the public. Refreshments served.

Dr. Michael Marmur is provost of Hebrew Union College. He received his undergraduate degree from Oxford, rabbinical ordination from HUC in Jerusalem, and his doctorate in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University. 

Cosponsored by the American Studies Program, Department of African and Afro-American Studies, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, and the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.


Organized American Jewish Political Support for Israel, 1943-1963: An Historical Analysis

Tuesday, April 19
12:00-1:30 p.m.Moshe Fox

Schusterman Center Conference Room

Free and open to the public.
Lunch (kosher) will be served: Kindly RSVP to scis@brandeis.edu.

Dr. Moshe Fox graduated the Hebrew University with a BA from the Department of Jewish Studies, an MA from the Institute of Contemporary Jewry and a PhD in Contemporary Jewish Studies. During his tenure at the Foreign Ministry he was posted twice to the Embassy of Israel in Washington DC and to the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-West (Chicago).

Biographies of Speakers

Dr. Tal Becker is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and principal deputy legal adviser at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is a senior member of the Israeli peace negotiation team, including in the last round of talks mediated by US Secretary of State John Kerry. In this position, he is on the front lines of many of Israel's most pressing diplomatic, legal and policy challenges and is a veteran negotiator, and key behind the scenes representative, for Israel in a wide variety of contexts.

Dr. Becker has been a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, senior policy advisor to Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, a lead negotiator and drafter in the Annapolis peace talks, director of the international law department at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, counsel to Israel's UN Mission in New York, and an international law expert for the Israel Defense Forces.

He is the author of Terrorism and the State, which won the Guggenheim Prize for best international law book, and has served, among numerous positions, as the Vice-Chairman of the United Nations General Assembly's Legal Committee, the first Israeli to hold a position of this stature in over 40 years.

Brigadier General (ret.) Meir Elran is a senior researcher at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) of the Tel Aviv University. He is the director of the homeland security program and the program on socio-military relations. Elran served for 27 years with the Israeli military intelligence in a variety of staff and command positions. His last post was the deputy director of the Department of Military Intelligence in the Israel Defense Forces. Elran took an active role in the peace talks with Egypt and was an active member of the military delegation to the peace talks with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He holds a BA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an MA from Indiana University, and is presently concluding his PhD studies at the University of Haifa. Elran also teaches at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC).

Moshe Fox was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1948. He graduated the Hebrew University with a BA from the Department of Jewish Studies and MA from the Institute of Contemporary Jewry. He received a Ph.D. in Contemporary Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University. His thesis is titled "Organized American Jewish Political Support for Israel, 1943-1963: An Historical Analysis".

Dr. Fox is a veteran of the Israeli Foreign Service. During his tenure at the Foreign Ministry he was posted twice to the Embassy of Israel in Washington DC and to the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-West (Chicago). In addition to his tours of duty to the United States Dr. Fox developed expertise in various aspects of American-Israeli affairs while acting as the deputy director of the division of World Jewish Affairs, a senior researcher at the Center of Research and Intelligence, a senior member of the Policy Planning Staff and director of the American desk.

Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College. The author of more than ten books, Gordis is a regular columnist for both the Jerusalem Post and for Bloomberg View.

Gordis’ writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, The New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Azure, Commentary Magazine and Foreign Affairs, and his books have received numerous awards. He won the National Jewish Book Award for Saving Israel, and both Becoming a Jewish Parent and his book (co-authored with Dr. David Ellenson of the Hebrew Union College), Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policy-Making in 19th and 20th Century Orthodox Responsa (published by Stanford University Press in 2012) were Finalists for the National Jewish Book Award. The Promise of Israel: Why Its Seemingly Greatest Weakness is Actually Its Greatest Strength, was named by Jewish Ideas Daily as one of the “best Jewish books of 2012.” Commentary Magazine has called Gordis’ most recent book, Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul “the gold standard in Begin studies.” When the Hebrew edition of his Begin biography appeared in July 2015, it quickly rose to Israel’s national bestseller list. .

Gordis’ next book is a history of the State of Israel entitled Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn. It will be published in October 2016 by Ecco/HarperCollins.

Michael Marmur is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Previously, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of  Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. In recent years he has taught courses in Theology, Homiletics, and Pluralistic Jewish Education.Born and raised in England, Rabbi Marmur completed a BA degree in Modern History at the University of Oxford before moving to Israel in 1984. While studying for an MA in Ancient Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he completed his studies in the Israel Rabbinic Program of HUC-Jerusalem, becoming ordained in 1992. For some six years following his ordination he served as congregational rabbi, high school teacher and member of the executive at the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa. Michael Marmur's PhD dissertation at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem was entitled "Heschel's Rhetoric of Citation: The Use of Sources in God In Search of Man". Rabbi Marmur has lectured and taught extensively in North America and Israel, and in many parts of Western and Central Europe. His book Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Sources of Wonder was just published by University of Toronto Press.