Faculty and Staff
Jehuda Reinharz returned to the directorship of the Tauber Institute in 2011, after serving as president of Brandeis University from 1994 to 2010. He continues to serve as general editor of the Tauber Institute publication series and Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History. In January 2011 he became president of the Mandel Foundation.
Reinharz has edited, authored and co-authored many articles and books, including: Glorious, Accursed Europe; The Scientific God: Popular Science in Hebrew in Eastern Europe in the Second Half of the 19th Century (with Yaacov Shavit); Anti-Semitism in Germany Today: A Mainstream Phenomenon (German), coedited with Monika Schwarz-Friesel; and The Road to September 1939: The Yishuv, the Jews of Poland and the Zionist Movement (Hebrew).
In 2015, Sylvia Fuks Fried coedited The Individual in History: Essays in Honor of Jehuda Reinharz with ChaeRan Y. Freeze and Eugene R. Sheppard. Fried serves on the executive committee of the Center for German and European Studies and serves as editorial director of Brandeis University Press.
Eugene Sheppard is the chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. His interests include modern German Jewish thought and the influence of European Jewish refugees on public life and academia in the United States.
He is the author of Leo Strauss and the Politics of Exile: The Making of a Political Philosopher (2006) and co-editor with D. Myers of Babylon and Jerusalem: Engaging the Thought and Legacy of Simon Rawidowicz.
Sheppard is associate editor of the Tauber Institute series and managing co-editor with Samuel Moyn of the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought published by Brandeis University Press.
A professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, ChaeRan Freeze has focused her research on the history and culture of the Jews in Russia, Jewish family history, and women’s and gender studies.
Freeze is co-editor with Jay M. Harris of Everyday Jewish Life in Imperial Russia: Select Documents, 1772–1914 (2013) and author of, most recently, A Jewish Woman of Distinction: The Life and Diaries of Zinaida Poliakova (2019)
Jonathan Decter is the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Sephardic studies at Brandeis University, as well as a faculty associate of the Tauber Institute. His research focuses on Jewish literature, history, and thought in the Islamic World during the medieval period, and in Sephardic Studies more generally. Professor Decter's most recent course offerings include Jews in the World of Islam; Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; and Judeo-Arabic literature. His most recent book is Dominion Built of Praise: Panegyric and Legitimacy among Jews of the Medieval Mediterranean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).
Laura Jockusch is a faculty associate of the institute whose research and teaching focus on the social, political, cultural, and legal histories of European Jews before, during, and after the Holocaust and engage in comparative, transnational, and cross-disciplinary perspectives. Her first book studied the beginnings of Holocaust research by Jews and from a Jewish perspective immediately after the liberation from Nazi rule.
Jockusch’s ongoing research project investigates how Jews conceptualized legal redress after the unprecedented crime of the Nazi genocide of European Jews. It explores how Jewish individuals and organizations related to the Nuremberg trials and other Allied war crime trials in occupied Germany, and examines the multifaceted ways in which Jews sought to implement their ideas of justice in and outside of the Allied tribunals.
Moreover, Jockusch is working on a monograph on the controversial postwar trials of Stella Goldschlag, a German Jewish Holocaust survivor accused of having been a Gestapo informer.
David Briand was previously coordinator of the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, project manager for the Ethics Center's Ad Hoc Tribunals Oral History Project, and the lead researcher and coordinator of the Columbia Center for Oral History's Rule of Law Oral History Project. He holds a BA in History from Boston College and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University, where his research concerned the roots and consequences of the extension of state power in the United States, most notably in the dramatic rise in mass incarceration of people of color during the “War on Drugs” and in the U.S. government’s foreign and domestic policies of detainment during the “War on Terror.”
Irina Astashkevich, a visiting research associate of the Tauber Institute, holds a PhD from Brandeis University. Her dissertation is titled “Pogroms in Ukraine 1917-1920: An Alternate Universe.” Astashkevich received her MA in History, Jewish History and Archives from the Project Judaica – a joint project of the Russian State University of Humanities, Historical Archival Institute, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research in New York. She has worked in various archives in Russia, Lithuania, and the US, as well as in Jewish philanthropic organizations, such as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Moscow. She is the author of Gendered Violence: Jewish Women in the Pogroms of 1917 to 1921 (Academic Studies Press, 2018).
Holding rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a PhD in Jewish Studies from Columbia University, David Starr has published widely in both academic and popular venues. He has studied historical, philosophical and educational issues in adult learning and served as dean of the Me'ah adult education program at Hebrew College in Brookline, MA. Starr tis the founder of Tzion: A Program for Israel Literacy. He is currently writing a biography of Solomon Schechter.
Lydia Begag is a third-year undergraduate student at Brandeis University, majoring in Politics and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Legal Studies. Begag has studied in Istanbul, Turkey and London, United Kingdom, taking courses in Arabic, sociology, politics, and history. Fluent in Arabic, she has worked as a research assistant for the Crown Center of Middle Eastern Studies, where she published an article in International Policy Digest with Professor Nader Habibi on women’s rights reforms in Saudi Arabia, the Women's Studies Research Center, and is currently working on a research project on U.S. legislative involvement in the Genocide Convention and international intervention in the Rwandan Genocide with Professor Kerry Chase. In addition to her research experience on campus, Begag is also a TEDx BrandeisU Speaker Coach for the Education for Students by Students club and a 2020 Center for Spiritual Life's Conversations that Matter Fellow.