JEWISH EXPLORATIONS

Discover Jewish Civilization Around the Globe

 

 

Our Faculty

 

Our faculty teach at leading academic institutions and specialized programs in the United States, Canada and Israel.

 

Natalia Aleksiun, Ph. D. is Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Graduate School of Touro College. She studied Polish and Jewish history at the Warsaw University, the Graduate School of Social Studies in Warsaw, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and New York University. She received her doctorate from Warsaw University in 2001. Her dissertation won the Polish Prime Minister's Award for doctoral students. In 2010, she received her second PhD from New York University. She was a co-editor of the twentieth volume of Polin, devoted to the memory of the Holocaust. She published in Yad Vashem Studies, Polish Review, Dapim, East European Jewish Affairs, Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Polin, Gal Ed, East European Societies and Politics and German History. Together with Brian Horowitz she is editing a volume 29 of Polin titled Writing Jewish History. She is currently working on a book about the so-called cadaver affair at European Universities in the 1920s and 1930s and on a project dealing with daily lives of Jews in hiding in Galicia during the Holocaust.

 

Expertise: Eastern Europe

 

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Rabbi Michael Chernick, Ph.D., is the Deutsch Family Professor of Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where he teaches Talmud. Michael holds degrees from Yeshiva College and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University and was ordained by Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theololocal Seminary of Yeshiva University. He has taught and lectured widely to academic and lay audiences in the United States and abroad, especially in Israel. He was the founder of the Summer Judaic Studies Program at Kibbutz Yahel and Kibbutz Lotan.

  

Expertise: New York City – History of Jewish Immigration to America, Israel

 

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Hasia Diner, Ph.D., is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University where she directs the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. She taught at the University of Maryland at College Park and was a fellow at the Davis Center for Historical Research at Princeton University and the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. Hasia holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago. Hasia was a Fulbright scholar in Israel and elected to the American Academy of Jewish Research and the Society of American Historians.

 

Expertise: New York City, Washington, DC, Savannah, Charleston

  

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Yaacob Dweck, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of History and Judaic Studies at Princeton University. Yaacob holds degrees from Columbia University, University of Cambridge and the University of Pennsylvania. He was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. His first book, The Scandal of Kabbalah: Leon Modena, Jewish Mysticism, Early Modern Venice appeared in 2011.

 

Expertise: Venice, Amsterdam

 

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Carl S. Ehrlich, Ph.D. , is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University in Toronto. He holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Harvard University. Carl has taught in the United States and in Europe including at Vassar College, University of California at San Diego, University of Basel, Humbolt University in Berlin and University of Munich. Among his areas of interest are synchronic, diachronic, and contextual approaches to the biblical text and Israelite civilization. Current projects include a cultural history of Moses and a commentary on Chronicles.

 

Expertise: Central Europe (particularly the German-speaking world), Israel

 

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Arnold Franklin, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Medieval Jewish History at Queens College. He has taught at New York University, University of California, Davis and Hunter College. He holds degrees from Harvard College and Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies. Arnold's research focuses on documentary material from the Cairo Geniza. His recent book, This Noble House: Jewish Descendants of King David in the Medieval Islamic East (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), is a study of the profound concern with genealogy that developed among Jews in the Arabic-speaking world.

 

Expertise: Middle East, Spain, Southern France

 

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Benjamin Gampel, Ph.D., is the Dina and Eli Field Family Chair in Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Benjy holds degrees from Brooklyn College and Columbia University. He teaches courses in medieval and early modern Jewish history, with a special focus on the medieval Sephardim. He has done extensive research in Spain. He lectures widely in both academic and informal Jewish learning settings on the entire range of Jewish history. 

 

Expertise: Spain

 

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Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of classical Judaism in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. Sarit holds degrees from Princeton University's Department of Religion. She previously taught at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Andover Newton Theological School and the University of Toronto. She was a Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University and a Fulbright Scholar at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She introduced and co-edited Jewish and Christian Cosmogony in Late Antiquity, a collection of essays on ancient ideas about the origins of the universe.

 

Expertise: Israel, Germany, Switzerland 

 

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Rabbi Robert Harris, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Bible at The Jewish Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from the Joint Program of The Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia, Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. He was ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary. Robbie has taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, and the Gregorian University in Rome. He has served as a pulpit rabbi in the United States and in Israel. He is widely published including books, articles and reviews. Robbie regularly performs with his rock band, SR2 (www.SR2rocks.com), and composes original rock 'n roll.

 

Expertise: Northern France

 

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Rabbi Eugene Korn, Ph.D., is Academic Director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel. He holds degrees from Columbia University and was ordained by the Israeli Rabbinate. He currently lives in Jerusalem and visits America regularly to teach and lecture. Eugene teaches at universities, to scholars, while also a popular speaker and teacher for non-academic audiences. He has published works in in English, Hebrew, Spanish, German and Italian. In addition to his scholarly articles, Eugene writes op-eds and reviews for the popular media, including The Jewish Week, The Jerusalem Post, The Forwards, The Chicago Sun-Times, and America Magazine.

 

Expertise: Italy, Israel

 

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Lila Korn is a former master teacher of European and Jewish History (high school) and historical tour guide of Israel, with expertise presenting Israel's archeological sites and historical points of interest. She is certified by The College Board to teach Advanced Placement Modern European History. Lila uses 21st century technology to enhance learning, and has presented interactive programs to adults and high school students on European Arts and Architecture and history of the Jewish People in Europe and Israel. She is currently a practicing artist and photographer, and provides private walking tours of Jerusalem.

 

Expertise: Italy, Israel

 

 

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David Kraemer, Ph.D.,  is the Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian (=Director of The Library) at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he has also served as Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics for many years. As Librarian, David is at the helm of the most extensive collection of Judaica—rare and contemporary—in the Western hemisphere. David holds degrees from Brandeis University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a prolific author and commentator as well as an instructor of adult learners. 

  

Expertise: Israel, Jewish Libraries Around the World

 

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André Levy, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, conducting his doctoral research on the dwindling of the Jewish community in contemporary Casablanca. The bulk of his writing stemming from this anthropological fieldwork focuses on Jewish-Muslim relationships in Morocco and on homeland-diaspora relations. Jewish-Muslim relationships are examined within the ontological and epistemological framework of diaspora. Homeland-diaspora relations are critically examined through the day to day life experiences of the tiny Jewish minority in Morocco vis-à-vis Israel as a presumed symbolic center. With Alex Weingrod, he is editor of On Homelands and Diasporas: Holy Lands and Other Places, Stanford University Press. He is most recently the author of Return to Casablanca: Jews, Muslims, and an Israeli Anthropologist, University of Chicago Press. On sabbatical at Brandeis University, he is teaching courses on "Global, Transnational and Diasporic Communities," and "Ethnicities in Israel."

 

Expertise: Morocco

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Avinoam Patt, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History and the Associate Director, The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. Avi holds degrees from Emory University and New York University. He was the Miles Lerman Applied Research Scholar for Jewish Life and Culture and Co-ordinator, Jewish Source Study Initiative at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

            

Expertise: Washington (Holocaust Museum), New York, Israel, Poland, Germany 

 

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Ronnie Perelis, Ph.D., is the Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay Chair and Assistant Professor of Sephardic Studies at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University. Ronnie holds degrees from Bar-Ilan University and New York University. His research explores the connections between Iberian and Jewish culture during the medieval and early modern periods. His works on Sephardic history investigate the dynamics of religious transformation within the context of the crypto-Jewish experience. He is currently writing a study of family and identity in the Sephardic Atlantic world.

 

Expertise: Spain, Portugal, Amsterdam, Caribbean

 

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Gary Rendsburg, Ph.D., is the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. His teaching and research focus on 'all things ancient Israel' – primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology. Gary holds degrees from the University of North Carolina and NYU's Institute of Hebrew Language and Culture. He is the author of six books and about 150 articles; his most popular book is The Bible and the Ancient Near East, co-authored with the late Cyrus Gordon. In addition, he has produced two courses for the 'Great Courses' program, one on 'The Book of Genesis' and one on 'The Dead Sea Scrolls'. Gary has visited all the major archaeological sites in Israel, Egypt, and Jordan; plus he has excavated at Tel Dor and Caesarea. 

 

Expertise: England, Israel, Egypt 

 

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Elisha Russ-Fishbane, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.  He holds degrees from the University of Chicago and Harvard University. He studied at the University of Oxford and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Elisha is a historian of Jewish life and culture in the Islamic world, specializing in the religious and intellectual intersections of medieval Judaism and Islam. Before joining NYU in 2015, Dr. Russ-Fishbane taught at Wesleyan University and was the Tikvah Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University. His current work explores the Maimonidean legacies of the Near East and Western Europe and the rise of humanism in medieval Jewish thought.

 

Expertise: Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Spain

 

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Nancy Sinkoff, Ph.D.is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History and Director of European Studies at Rutgers University. Her scholarship focuses on modern Jewish history, specifically of the Jews of Eastern Europe. She holds degrees from Harvard-Radcliffe, The Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University. Nancy has received numerous fellowships, including the Mellon Foundation for the Humanities, the IIE Fulbright Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. She has taught and lectured widely in the United States, Europe, and Israel, and is a consultant on the permanent exhibition of the Museum of the Jews of Poland (Warsaw).

 

Expertise: Poland

 

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Rabbi David Starr, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of Tzion, a program of education in the history and ideas of Zionism and the State of Israel. David is a Visiting Research at Brandeis University. He has taught on the faculty of Gann Academy, the Wexner Heritage Foundation, and Hebrew College's Me'ah program, which he founded. He served as a rabbi at the Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel, and held the Bronfman Chair in Jewish Communal Innovation at Brandeis University. David holds degrees from Columbia University and was ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary. He was a Jerusalem Fellow. David is finishing a biography of Solomon Schechter, and writing a study of the Me'ah program and adult Jewish life and learning.

 

Expertise: Israel 

 

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Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., is Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Spirituality and Chair of the Department of Medieval Jewish Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He also directs the RRC Program in Jewish Spiritual Direction.  He was ordained by RRC. Jacob holds degrees from the State University of New York and Temple University. He is the author of Guide to Jewish Practice: Shabbat and The Creation of the World According to Gersonides and the co-editor ofCreative Jewish Education, as well as over 100 articles in the fields of medieval Jewish thought and biblical commentary, contemporary Jewish issues and theology, and Jewish ritual and spiritual practice. He also writes and publishes poetry.

 

Expertise: Spain 

 

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Rabbi Lance Sussman, Ph.D., is Senior Rabbi of Keneseth Israel Synagogue in Elkins Park, PA. He currently teaches Jewish History at Princeton University, Temple University and the National Museum of American Jewish History. He holds degrees from Franklin and Marshall College and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute. He was ordained by HUC-JIR. Lance served as Chair of Jewish Studies Department at Binghamton University and taught at Hebrew Union College and Rutgers University. He has written several books in the field of American Jewish history, is published in major publications and is featured in several PBS television documentaries on Jewish life in America.

 

Expertise:  American Jewish Communities, Europe

 

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