Past Events

2021-22 Past Events

Who is a Convert? The Law of Return and the Legality of Reform and Conservative Conversions in Israel

December 2, 2021

David Ellenson was past Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, and Chancellor Emeritus and former President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. His most recent book, "American Jewish Thought Since 1934: Writings on Identity, Engagement, and Belief," was co-authored with Michael Marmur. His seminar topic for this session is based upon an article of the same title that was co-written with Nicole Maor, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of "Israel Studies."
Ilana Szobel and book cover
Book Launch - Flesh of My Flesh: Sexual Violence in Modern Hebrew Literature

November 17, 2021

Watch the recording

A discussion of Prof. Ilana Szobel's new book. "Flesh of My Flesh(SUNY Press, 2021) looks at one of the most silenced and repressed aspects of Israeli culture by examining the trope of sexual violence in modern Hebrew literature. Prof. Szobel explores how sexual violence participates in, encourages, or resists concurrent ideologies in Jewish and Israeli culture, and situates the rhetoric of sexual aggression within the contexts of gender, ethnicity, disability, and national identity.

Introduction: ChaeRan Freeze, Frances and Max Elkon Chair in Modern Jewish History, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies; Chair, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University

Sue Lanser, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature, English, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University 

Ilana SzobelAssociate Professor on the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Chair in Hebrew Literature, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies; core faculty in the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

Q&A moderated by: Shayna WeissAssociate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University 

Let's Speak Arabic!

November 2, 2021

Meeting on: 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, & 11/30
Shapiro Campus Center, Rm 313, 7:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

Join the Arabic program every other Tuesday for a chance to practice your Arabic, get to know your fellow peers, and to learn more about Arab culture!

2021 Hebrew Language and Arts Festival

Wednesday, October 27th - Monday, November 1st

For more information on any of these programs, contact

Sponsored by the Hebrew Program at Brandeis University with support from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

Meet the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Majors

October 25, 2021

Monday, Oct. 25, 2021
1:30 - 2:30 pm
Lown 315

Cider, Donuts, & a sneak peak at spring 2022 courses

With UDRs and NEJS Faculty!
Studio Israel: Featuring Raida Adon

October 14, 2021

Thursday, October 14, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM Boston Time
Via Zoom

Registration link forthcoming

Free and open to all. Advanced registration required.

Studio Israel is an online conversation series that looks at Israeli culture and diversity through the lens of contemporary Israeli artists and creatives. Featuring visual and performing artists, designers, dancers and more, all framed by Brandeis University academic expertise.  

The season launches with Israeli-Palestinian multimedia artist, director, and actor Raida Adon, in conversation with Prof. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator of the Rose Art Museum and Professor of Fine Arts and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University. 

Raida Adon is well known for her video and performance art, but also creates drawings, paintings and photographs. Adon’s work has been shown in Israel and abroad. She has appeared in many films, plays and television series, including the award-winning show, “Fauda.” She is the first Arab Israeli artist to get a solo exhibit at the Israel Museum.

Studio Israel is a partnership among the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Jewish Arts Collaborative, the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, and the Vilna Shul, and is made possible by generous support from Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Chaired by artist Caron Tabb, it brings together leaders from across art forms and backgrounds to investigate how Israeli art represents the swath of cultural opportunities and challenges that face Israel today.

October 7, 2021

12:15 - 1:30 PM

Rima Farah is pursuing a doctoral degree in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Her research revolves around the cultural and political history of minorities in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the formation and development of their ethnic and national identities. She published an article in the journal "Israel Studies," titled “The Rise of a Christian Aramaic Nationality in Modern Israel.” She is in the process of writing her dissertation on “The Predicament of the National Identity of Christians in Israel: 1980-2014.” She holds an MA in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from the University of Haifa, the city where she was born and raised, as well as an MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Having grown up in a multicultural and multilingual society, Farah is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. She teaches Hebrew at Brandeis University and Middlebury College. 

Let's Speak Arabic!

October 5, 2021

Shapiro Campus Center, Rm 313, 7:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

Join the Arabic program every other Tuesday for a chance to practice your Arabic, get to know your fellow peers, and to learn more about Arab culture!

Mandel Professorship Celebration for Ziva Hassenfeld

September 30, 2021

1:30 - 2:30 PM

Join Provost Carol A. Fierke and colleagues in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education to celebrate the appointment of Ziva R. Hassenfeld to the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professorship in Jewish Education.

September 30, 2021

12:15 - 1:30 PM

Slava Greenberg is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and Casden Institute. His research explores the potential of mainstream and emerging media forms to offer transformative experiences in reference to disability studies, trans studies, and gender. He is the author of "Animation and Disability: Cripping Spectatorship" (Indiana UP 2022) and co-editor of "Fireflies: Journal of Film and Television II." His articles have appeared in "Review of Disability Studies," "Animation," "TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly," "Jewish Film and New Media," "Frames Cinema Journal," and are forthcoming in "The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists" and in "The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion." He has also contributed to anthologies on disability and documentary, queer TV, Israeli new media, and thinking with an accent. He is currently working on a second book project focusing on the history and visual culture of gender dysphoria through the lens of trans and crip theories. ("Cripping" entails the practices of revealing the assumptions of the ableist body and its exclusionary effects.) 

Let's Speak Arabic!

September 21, 2021

Shapiro Campus Center, Rm 313, 7:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

Join the Arabic program every other Tuesday for a chance to practice your Arabic, get to know your fellow peers, and to learn more about Arab culture!

"The Zionist Phantom" Closing Event

September 14, 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM Boston Time 
Via Zoom

Free and open to all.

Join us to mark the closing of Dana Arieli’s virtual exhibition "The Zionist Phantom." This live conversation will expand upon the themes emerging from the exhibition, suggesting new and exciting connections between international artists, ideas and creative projects that explore collective histories, personal traumas and their presence in public spaces.

Prof. Adriana Katzew will present her photographic work in conversation with Dr. Shayna Weiss. Katzew has been unearthing stories and memories of people, moments and places, inspired and driven by the history of her own Mexican-Jewish family. Prof. Dana Arieli will then join the discussion to address some of the similarities and differences between their works. Moderated by the exhibition curator, Dr. Rotem Rozental.

About the Exhibition
In “The Zionist Phantom,” Prof. Dana Arieli shapes a panoramic view of a landscape defined by the uneasy presence of its missing limbs. With dozens of photographs captured across Israel from the 1980s to the present, the exhibition presents abandoned and active spaces, unfinished buildings, military presence in civilian areas, sites of collective remembrance and personal loss, exhuming the past lives of the sites, of what will never return. 

Upper image: Dana Arieli, "Quneitra, 2018"
Lower image: Adriana Katzew, "Caminaba y Caminaba..." 

September 9, 2021

12:15 - 1:30 PM

Nechumi Yaffe is a faculty member in the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University.  She completed her postdoctoral research at Princeton University, in affiliation with the Daniel Kahneman Center of Behavioral Science and Public Policy, and the University Center for Human Values. Dr. Yaffe’s research examines, from a social psychology perspective, how identity, social norms, and authority play a role in creating and preserving poverty.

Her work focuses on the ultra-orthodox (Haredi) community in Israel and USA. Before beginning her doctoral studies, she was an advisor for the Haredi educational system. She wrote the new history curriculum and textbook now used by all Haredi high schools in Israel. Nechumi earned a PhD in Political Science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, under the supervision of Avner de-Shalit, Eran Halperin and Tamar Saguy. In her vision, research and practice are intertwined, and her academic work is driven by the commitment to improving, reaching out and helping the community.

Herzlmania! 125 years of Theodor Herzl’s "The Jewish State"

September 1, 2021

Film Premiere and Lecture by Herzl biographer, Prof. Derek Penslar
Wednesday, September 1, 2021

5:30 - 7:00 PM Boston Time


In person: campus community only
3rd Floor Conference Room
Mandel Center for the Humanities
Brandeis University
Via Zoom: open to all

Join us as we commemorate the 125th anniversary of Theodor Herzl’s "The Jewish State." Watch the premiere screening of "Herzlmania," a short film celebrating David Matlow's Theodor Herzl Memorabilia Collection, the world's largest private collection of Herzl artifacts. Then take a deeper look at the legacy of this pivotal figure in a lecture by Herzl’s biographer, Derek Penslar, the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University and author of "Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader" (Yale University Press, 2020). Filmmaker Daniel Mooney directed "Herzlmania," and the film was commissioned by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. 

August 17, 2021

Tuesday, August 17th

12 - 1:30 PM

Feminist Sexual Ethics Project at Brandeis University presents a virtual conversation moderated by Bernadette Brooten between Anita Hill and Michelle Bowdler on Bowdler's book "Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation and a Manifesto". Bowdler’s debut book was long listed for the National Book award and juxtaposes the experience of victims of sexual violence with the decades of minimization and neglect of this felony crime by the criminal justice system.