Join us!

Twitter | facebook | Directions to Campus

Subscribe to our mailing list!



Sheila Jelen

Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature

Department of English and Jewish Studies Program
Ph.D., 2000, University of California-Berkeley; B.A., 1993, University of Michigan


Dr. Jelen is an assistant professor of English and Jewish Studies. Her field of specialization is modern Jewish literature and she teaches courses on American Jewish Literature, The Literature of the Holocaust, Modern Hebrew Literature, Gender and Jewish Literaure, as well as an Introduction to Jewish Literature. She is currently a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Advanced Jewish Studies where she is completing a book on the first modern Hebrew woman writer, entitled Intimations of Difference: The Hebrew Fiction of Dvora Baron. Dr. Jelen is also currently co-editing two volumes of essays: Hebrew, Gender and Modernity: Critical Responses to Dvora Baron's Fiction and History and Literature: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue.

Yoram Peri

Abraham S. and Jack Kay Chair in Israel Studies,
Director, Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies,

Ph.D., London School of Economics, B.A. and M.A. in Political Science and Sociology, Hebrew University


A former political advisor to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, founder and former head of Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society and professor of Political Sociology and Communication in the department of communication at Tel Aviv University, and former Editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily, Davar.

Prof. Peri has published extensively on Israeli society, media and politics. Among his publications are The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin (Stanford University Press) and Between Battles and Ballots: Israel Military in Politics, published by Cambridge University Press. His book Telepopulism: Media and Politics in Israel was published by Stanford University Press in 2004, and in October 2005 he published his latest book (in Hebrew) Brothers at War: Rabin's Assassination and the Cultural war in Israel. For this book he was granted the 2006 award by the Presidents and Prime Ministers memorial council. His latest book, Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, was published in May 2006 by the United States Institute of Peace. The book has been selected as an outstanding book and as one of the best of the best by the Association of American University Press, in 2007.

Read More

Paul Scham

Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies
Executive Director, Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for
Israel Studies

J.D. University of California at Berkeley. B.A. Columbia University

Paul Scham has been Executive Director of the Gildenhorn Institute since 2008. Originally an attorney, with a B.A. from Columbia and a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall), he quickly tired of practicing law and has worked on issues relating to Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than twenty years at NGO’s, in think tanks, and at universities.

Read More

Eric Zakim

Professor of Hebrew Language and Culture

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1996


Before coming to the University of Maryland in 2002, Dr. Zakim was on the faculty at Duke University for six years. He teaches courses in Hebrew Language and Israeli culture, and coordinates the Hebrew language program. Dr. Zakim received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature for a dissertation on "The Project of Expression in Modernist Literature and Music: David Fogel, Arnold Schoenberg, and David Grossman." He has published seven articles and guest-edited a volume of Prooftexts , the leading scholarly journal in his field. His book, To Build and Be Built: Landscape, Literature, and the Construction of Zionist Identity, will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in Fall 2005, and he is currently co-editing a volume of essays on culture in the Mediterranean, Mediterranean Studies: Rethinking the Boundaries of Culture, which will be published by the MLA Press.


Adjunct Faculty

Morad Elsana

Post-Doc Research Fellow

S.J.D., American University


Dr. Elsana is a post-doc research fellow at the Israel Institute, University of Maryland. Until recently, he served as a professor of Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, and International Humanitarian Law. Dr. Elsana holds a Doctorate degree of Juridical Science (S.J.D) from the American University, Washington College of Law. His dissertation is titled “The Dispossession and Recognizing Indigenous Land Rights”. Dr. Elsana also holds Masters of Law from the American University-WCL; Masters of Social Work in Social Advocacy and Community Development from McGill University; and a Bachelor’s of Law from Tel Aviv University.

Prior to his doctoral studies, he served as a senior staff attorney and director for Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights. He also worked as a legal advisor for Genesis: An Arab Jewish Community Advocacy Orgs in Israel. Throughout his career, he have received several prestigious fellowships such as the Israel Institute post-doc Fellowship; The Fulbright Outreach fellowship; The New Israel Fund Civil Rights Leadership fellowship; and the McGill University “Middle East Program for Civil Society and Peace Building” fellowship.

Adi Mahalel

Visiting Assistant Professor of Yiddish Studies

Ph.D., Columbia University


Dr. Adi Mahalel successfully defended his doctoral thesis in Yiddish and Hebrew Literature at Columbia University and received his degree in May 2014. His thesis is on the Yiddish and Hebrew writer Y.L. Peretz under the supervision of Professors Dan Miron and Jeremy Dauber. Adi earned a joint degree in Hebrew Literature and in Humanities through the Ofakim honor’s degree program at Haifa University. Adi’s areas of interest include modern Hebrew literature, Jewish literature, Yiddish poetry, Jewish American theater, and Israeli Yiddish literature, film and media studies, and the crossroads between culture and politics. He has taught courses in Yiddish language and culture at Columbia University and at the YIVO Institute. Adi is also a culture columnist at the Yiddish Forward.

Pnina Peri

Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies

Ph.D., The University of London


Dr. Pnina Peri has been a senior lecturer in the department of liberal arts of Sapir Academic College (Hof Ashkelon, Israel) and in Levinsky Teachers’ training College. She is a specialist in multicultural theories, gender, the political economy of education, social and cultural aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and cross culture communications. She has published two books, The Place of Gender in Women’s Professional Choice (2002) and Pluralism and Congruence Among Cultural Divisions  (2007) and is a frequent contributor to academic journals and literary journals.

Faculty with Research Interests in Israel Studies


Bernard D. Cooperman

Louis L. Kaplan Chair,
Associate Professor of Jewish History, Department of History

Ph.D., 1976, Harvard; M.A., 1972; M.A., 1969, Brandeis; B.A. University of Toronto, 1968

Course website:

Dr. Cooperman's current research focuses on the development of communal institutions and political thought among Jews in Early Modern Italy. Recent publications include "Political Discourse in a Kabbalistic Register: Isaac De Lattes' Plea for Stronger Communal Government," in Be'erot Yitzhak, Isadore Twersky Memorial Volume (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), and "Theorizing Jewish Self-Government in Early Modern Italy" in Una Manna Buona per Mantova. Man Tov le-Man Tovah. Studi in onore di Vittore Colorni per il suo 92° compleanno (Florence: Olschki, 2004). Earlier work includes a translation of Tradition and Crisis by Jacob Katz (NYU Press, 1993), and edition of Pauline Wengeroff's Rememberings: Memoirs of a Russian Jewish Woman in the Nineteenth Century (University Press of Maryland, 2000), as well as editions of several volumes of scholarly essays, including Studies in Sixteenth-Century Jewish Thought (Harvard University Press, 1983); In Iberia and Beyond: Proceedings of a Conference to Mark the 500th Anniversary of the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (University of Delaware Press, 1996); and The Jews of Italy: Memory and Identity (University Press of Maryland, 2001).

Dr. Cooperman has been a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and a Lilly Fellow (1994-1995). He served as Director of the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies from 1991 to 1997.

Michael Friedman

Assistant Research Professor of Physical Cultural Studies, Department of Kinesiology

PhD, University of Maryland, College Park, 2008; M.A. in Sports Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, 2000; B.A. in History, Tufts University, 1992.

Course Website:

Click here to view Professor Friedman's curriculum vitae.

Michael Friedman (Ph.D., University of Maryland) is an Assistant Research Professor of Physical Cultural Studies in the Department of Kinesiology His research interests include: the cultural geography of sport and physical activity, particularly relating to urban governance and public policy, urban redevelopment, and sporting landscapes.

Dr. Friedman teaches the following courses:

  • KNES 293: History of Sport in America (3 credits)
  • KNES 497: Sport and the City (3 credits)
Dr. Friedman's research focuses the relationship between sport and governance in the postindustrial city with a perspective informed by cultural studies and cultural geography. By examining sports facilities such as stadiums and arenas, he is concerned with the ways in which space expresses and (re)produces power relationships, social identities, and societal structures. His research has been honored by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport as he won the 2008 Barbara Brown Outstanding Student Paper Award. He has been published in the Sociology of Sport Journal, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Sport History, and Economic Development Quarterly.

Jeffrey Herf

Distinguished University Professor, Department of History

PhD, Brandeis 1980; M.A. in History, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1971; B.A. in History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1969. Phi Betta Kappa

Course Website:

Jeffrey Herf studies the intersection of ideas and politics in modern European history, specializing in twentieth century Germany. He has published extensively on Germany during the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and on West and East Germany during the Cold War. In November 2009, Yale University Press published his book Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. It examines the Third Reich's efforts to diffuse its ideology to North Africa and the Middle East during World War II. The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust (Harvard, 2006) examined the Nazi regime’s translation of radical anti-Semitism into the conspiracy theory that shaped its public narrative of World War II and its equally public defense of a policy of “exterminating” Europe’s Jews. Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (Cambridge, 1984), interpreted the simultaneous embrace of modern technology and rejection of liberal modernity by right-wing intellectuals. The work became a standard work and has been published in Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish translations. /War By Other Means: Soviet Power, West German Resistance and the Battle of the Euromissiles/ (Free Press, 1991) was a study of the connection between changing political culture within West Germany and the dispute over nuclear weapons between the Soviet Union and the Western Alliance during the 1980s. Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (Harvard, 1997) traced the varieties of memory and avoidance about the Holocaust offered by West and East German political figures from the 1940s through the 1990s. It was one of the first works to make extensive use of the then recently opened East German Communist Party and government archives. It was a co-winner of the Fraenkel Prize of the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library in London in 1996. In 1998 it received the George Lewis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association.

Edy Kaufman

Senior Research Scientist at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM)

Ph.D. University of Paris (Sorbonne); M.A. & B.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Course Website:

Edward (Edy) Kaufman completed his B.A. in Sociology and Political Science and M.A. in International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his doctoral dissertation at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and conducted post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He is a Senior Researcher at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management and its former Director and held earlier similar positions in the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University. In the last years, he has been teaching at the Department of Government and Politics of the University of Maryland and in the Government and Diplomacy Program of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzlyiah. At University of Haifa’s International School, he will be the Resident Director of the new “Maryland-in-Haifa” program starting Spring 2010 and teach the core course “Cleavages in Israel - and the Search of Solutions”.  He has authored and co-authored 14 books and more than sixty articles in the general area of international relations, with an emphasis on human rights and conflict resolution topics, and a regional specialization on Latin America and the Middle East. Dr. Kaufman, has taught in leading institutions of higher learning in Israel and worldwide, as well as conducted workshops and lectured in over 40 countries and 50 North American universities.

Arie Kruglanski

Distinguished University Professor, Department of Psychology, Researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)

Ph.D., 1968, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A., 1967, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A., 1966, University of Toronto, Canada.

Course website:

Dr. Kruglanski is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. Throughout his career as a social psychologist, his interests have centered on how people form judgments, beliefs, impressions, attitudes and what consequences this has for their interpersonal relations, their interaction in groups and their feelings about various "out groups". In connection with these interests he has formulated a theory of lay epistemics (Kruglanski, 1989) that specified how thought and motivation interface in the formation of subjective knowledge.

The work on lay epistemics has branched in several directions the major which were (1) research on epistemic motivations, need for cognitive closure in particular (2) a unified conception of the parameters of human judgment that offers an integrative alternative (known as the "unimodel") to previous theorizing in a variety of social judgment domains (having to do with persuasion, stereotyping, attribution, and statistical reasoning among others), (3) a "motivation as cognition" research program that resulted in the recent theory of goal systems.

Kruglanski's interest in motivation has also led to a fruitful collaboration with Tory Higgins on (4) the regulatory mode theory in which people distinguish between two fundamental aspects of self-regulation having to do with "locomotion" (encapsulated in the "just do it" dictum) and "assessment" (representing a concern with "doing the right thing").

Hayim Lapin

Associate Professor of Ancient Jewish History and Rabbinics,
Department of History and Jewish Studies Program

Ph.D., 1994, Columbia University; M.A., 1987, Jewish Theological Seminary; B.A., 1987, Jewish Theological Seminary; B.A., 1986, Columbia University

Course website:

Dr. Lapin currently serves as the Director of the Meyerhoff Center. He is the author of Early Rabbinic Civil Law and the Social History of Roman Galilee: A Study of Mishnah Tractate Baba' Mesi'a' (Brown Judaic Studies 307 through Scholars' Press, 1995) and Economy, Geography, and Provincial History in Later Roman Palestine (Mohr Siebeck, 2001). He also has edited Religious and Ethnic Communities in Later Roman Palestine (University Press of Maryland, 1998) and, with Dale Martin, Jews, Antiquity, and the Nineteenth-Century Imagination (University Press of Maryland, 2003) and many articles on rabbis and rabbinic culture in the period of the Mishnah and Talmud.

Dr. Lapin is currently working on a book on the history of the rabbinic movement in Palestine. Since coming to Maryland he has been awarded a number of awards including an NEH Fellowship at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research (Jerusalem, 1996-1997) and a General Research Board Fellowship (1999).

Mark Lichbach

Professor and Chair, Department of Government and Politics

Ph.D., 1978, Northwestern University; M.A., 1975, Brown University; B.A., 1973, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

Course website:

Dr. Lichbach is Professor and Chair of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. He received a B.A. (1973) from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, an M.A. (1975) from Brown University, and a Ph.D. (1978) in political science from Northwestern University.

A theorist interested in social choice and a comparativist interested in globalization, Lichbach explores the connections between collective action theories and political conflict as well as the connections between collective choice theories and democratic institutions. He is the author or editor of many books, including the award-winning The Rebel’s Dilemma, and of numerous articles that have appeared in scholarly journals in political science, economics, and sociology. His work has been supported by NSF and private foundations.

Lichbach, who was Book Review Editor of the American Political Science Review (1994-2001), served as chair of two other political science departments: the University of Colorado (1995-1998) and the University of California-Riverside (1998-2001).

David Segal

Professor, Department of Sociology
Director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland

Ph.D., 1967, University of Chicago; M.A., 1963, University of Chicago; B.A., 1962, Harpur College

Course website:

Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Center for Research on Military Organization, and faculty affiliate in the Department of Government and Politics, the School of Public Affairs, and the Maryland Population Research Center, at the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago (1967), and served on the faculty at the University of Michigan (1966-75). Visiting appointments include James K. Pollock Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Bonn (1971), Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution (1981-84), Guest Scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1982-1990), Distinguished Lecturer (1996) and Distinguished Visiting Professor (1988-89) at the United States Military Academy, and S.L.A. Marshall Chair at the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Rose Foundation.

Shibley Telhami

Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland


Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. Before coming to the University of Maryland, he taught at several universities, including Cornell University, the Ohio State University, the University of Southern California, Princeton University, Columbia University, Swarthmore College, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his doctorate in political science.

Read More

Peter Wien

Associate Professor of Modern Middle East and North Africa, Department of History

Ph.D., 2003, University of Bonn, Germany; M.A., 2000, University of Oxford.

Course website:

Peter Wien is an Associate Professor for Middle Eastern History. He received his PhD in 2003 from the University of Bonn, Germany, and a Master degree in 2000 from the University of Oxford, Great Britain. He has previously taught at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, and was a fellow of the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin. In 2006, Routledge published his book Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932-1941. Peter Wien's research interest is in the role of nationalism and religion in the transformation of modern Arab societies in general, and Iraq and Morocco in particular.

Madeline Zilfi

Professor of Middle East, Ottoman, Islamic, modern Turkey, Department of History

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1976

Course website:

Madeline Zilfi specializes in Middle Eastern and Islamic history during the last centuries of the Ottoman Empire, including the transition to the modern states of the Middle East. Her written research focuses on the period from the 1680s to the 1830s, particularly with regard to urban culture and social and religious movements, law and legal practice, slavery and freedom, and women's experience.

Professor Zilfi is the author of The Politics of Piety: The Ottoman Ulema in the Post-Classical Age (1988) and editor of Women in the Ottoman Empire: Middle Eastern Women in the Early Modern Middle East (1997).  She is also an associate editor of the six-volume work, Europe 1450-1789:  Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, ed. Jonathan Dewald (2003).  She has written on Islamic revivalist movements, divorce and family relationships in Islamic law and Ottoman-era practice, sumptuary regulation and patterns of consumption, cultural conflict in the early eighteenth-century Tulip Era, and slavery and domestic labor.  Her article, “The Kadizadelis:  Discordant Revivalism in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul” (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1986), won the Turkish Studies Association’s award for best article in 1986-87. 

Her most recent book, Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire, a study of slavery, gender, and imperial ideology in the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, has been published by Cambridge University Press (2010).

Professor Zilfi’s courses include “History of the Ottoman Empire”; “Women and Society in the Middle East”; “Islam in Europe”; “Orientalist Visions and the History of the Middle East”; “The Ottoman Empire and the Making of the Modern Middle East”; “Nationalism and Nation-Building in the Middle East”; and “Islamic Civilization.”  Her graduate courses include special topics courses on Ottoman-era politics, society, and gender issues as well as the “General Seminar in Middle East History” and “Social and Intellectual Movements in Early Modern and Modern Middle Eastern History.”

Former Faculty

Daniel Zisenwine

Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies: Sping and Fall 2015

Ph.D., Tel Aviv University


Dr. Daniel Zisenwine is a research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. He also teaches modern North African history at the university's Department of Middle Eastern and African History and at the Hebrew University's Rothberg International School. His research focuses on modern North African history. Dr. Zisenwine is the author of The Emergence of Nationalist Politics in Morocco (I.B.Tauris, 2010) and co-edited, with Bruce Maddy Weitzman, The Maghrib in the New Century (University Press of Florida, 2007) and Mohammed VI's Morocco (Routledge, Forthcoming). Dr. Zisenwine was born in the U.S. and has lived in Israel since childhood. He received his Ph.D. in history from Tel Aviv University in 2005.

Eliyana Adler

Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2010

Ph.D., Brandeis University


Eliyana Adler is a former Visiting Assistant Professor and current Research Associate at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received a Ph.D in modern Jewish history at Brandeis University, where she also received her M.A. in Women’s studies and Near Eastern and Judaic studies. Dr. Eliyana Adler was a Sosland Foundation Fellow during the 2010–2011 academic year at The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.  Dr. Adler is conducting research for her project, “Jewish Education and Culture in Soviet Central Asia during the Holocaust.”

Dr. Adler is the author of the forthcoming book, In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia and co-editor with Sheila Jelen of, Jewish Literature and History: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (2008). In addition, Dr. Adler is the author of numerous articles and encyclopedia entries, including an article on “Women’s Education” for the forthcoming, Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion, second edition, “Reading Rayna Batya: The Rebellious Rebbetzin as Self-Reflection,” in Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues 16 (2008), and “No Raisins No Almonds: Singing as Spiritual Resistance to the Holocaust,” in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 24:4 (2006). She has presented her work at various conferences and workshops and is the recipient of several awards, including the Rebecca Meyerhoff Research Award at the University of Maryland (2007), the Abram and Fannie Gottlied Immerman and Abraham Nathan and Bertha Daskal Weinstein Memorial Fellowship in Eastern European Jewish Studies from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (2005-6), and the Ephraim E. Urbach Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2004-5). Dr. Adler has language skills in Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew.

Ariel Bendor

Distinguishing Visiting Professor at the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies and the Francis King Carey School of Law, University of Maryland: 2014 - 2015

LL.B., LL.D. The Hebrew University Faculty of Law


Professor Ariel Bendor has been a Frank F. Church Professor at the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law in Israel. His major fields of interest are constitutional law and administrative law. Professor Bendor received his LL.B. (1988, Cum Laude) and LL.D. (1994) from the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. During the academic year 1998-99 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Yale Law School. During 2002-2005 he served as Dean of the University of Haifa Faculty of Law, and during 2005-2007 he served as the University of Haifa Dean of Students. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of University of Haifa Press (1999-2000), University of Haifa Law & Government Journal (1996-1998), and Hebrew University Law Review (1998-1999). Currently he serves, inter alia, as the Head of the Center for Media and Law and the Director of the Faculty of Law Publishing House at Bar-Ilan University and the Chairperson of the sub-committee for law of the Israeli Council of Higher Education. Professor Bendor is the author of three books and dozens of articles in Israeli, American, Canadian and British law journals and books.

Yuval Benziman

Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2010 - Spring 2012

Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Yuval Benziman is a post-doc visiting professor in the Gildenhorn Institute for Israeli Studies. He teaches in the Tel-Aviv University in the Conflict Resolution and Mediation program. He also works for the Geneva initiative and has a weekly column in the Israeli newspaper “Israel Hayom”.
Yuval’s field of research is Israeli culture and how the Israeli-Arab conflict is seen in it. His PhD., from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, deals with the way the conflict is manifested in Israeli cultural texts of the 1980s.

Avner Cohen

Visiting Professor in Israel Studies: Fall 2011

Ph.D., University of Chicago


Dr. Cohen, widely known for his path-breaking history of the Israeli nuclear program, is an internationally recognized author and expert on nonproliferation issues, focusing on the Middle East. A consultant to a range of NGOs and governmental agencies, Dr. Cohen joined James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) after serving as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2009-10) and following a ten-year affiliation with the Center for International and Security Studies (CISSM) at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Cohen is a two-time winner of prestigious MacArthur Foundation research and writing awards, in 1990 and 2004, and in 1997-98 and 2007-08, was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). In addition, Dr. Cohen was co-director of the Project on Nuclear Arms Control in the Middle East at the Security Studies Program at MIT from 1990 to 1995. He has been a visiting professor at a number of U.S. universities, and in 2005, was Forchheimer Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University.  As a Visiting Professor for the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, Dr. Cohen will teach a seminar in Israel Studies: Israel and The Bomb in the Fall of 2011 at the University of Maryland.

Salman Elbedour

Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2011 & Spring 2012

Ph.D., University of Minnesota


Dr. Elbedour is a Full Professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies at the Howard University School of Education in Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its Urban School Psychology program . For many years he has also been researching, speaking, writing, and teaching on the Bedouin educational system in Israel as well as the psychological impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israeli, Palestinian, and Bedouin youth. He received his Ph.D in Clinical School Psychology from the University of Minnesota. For seven years he taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva, and at Birzeit University, in the West-Bank. He has also served as a school psychologist in Bedouin Arab schools and as a director of a center of children at risk in the town of Rahat, Israel. He has published extensively on social, political, health and identity issues related to Bedouin of the Negev and Palestinian communities.

Anat First

Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Fall 2010

PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Dr. Anat First served as a Dean of the School of Communication between the years 2004-2010.  Her fields of research include: Media studies, concentrating on theories and case studies of construction of reality; Mediated representations of minority groups, particularly women and Arabs; Multiculturalism as reflected in various genres on prime-time television and Israeli culture in general, and advertising as the locus of the Americanization process of Israeli society in particular.  Prof. First has published extensively on Israeli society, media and culture. Among her publications are: America in Jerusalem: Globalization, National Identity and the Israeli Advertising (2009, with E. Avraham);  Communication and Democracy: Mutual Perspectives (with P. Frosh, 2009) and Structural Dilemmas in the Consolidation of Communication Research and Teaching: The Case of the Department of Communication at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. (with H. Adoni, 2006).

Dr. As'ad Ghanem

Visiting Professor & Researcher: Fall 2009


He is a senior lecturer at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa and the head of board of Ibn-Khaldun Association in Tammra and the Head of board of the Civic forum in Ramallah and an active member of the board of the Jewish-Arab center at Haifa University. Until July 2008 he served as the head of the Government and Political Philosophy department at the University of Haifa. Ghanem's theoretical work has explored the legal, institutional and political conditions in ethnic states. In the context of Israel/Palestine, Ghanem's work has covered issues such as Palestinian political orientations, the establishment and political structure of the Palestinian Authority, and majority-minority politics in a comparative perspective. He has been the initiator and designer of several policy schemes and empowerment programs for Palestinian-Arabs in Israel.

Leon Hadar

Lecturer in Israel Studies


Ph.D. in International Relations, American University, School of International Service; M.A. in International Affairs, Columbia University, School of Public and International Affairs; Certificate, Columbia University, School of Public and International Affairs, the Middle East Institute; M.S. in Journalism, Columbia University, School of Journalism; M.A. in Communication, Hebrew University; B.A. in Political Science & Hebrew University, International Relations.

Dr. Leon Hadar is a senior analyst with Wikistrat, a geo-strategic consulting firm and a former research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, where he specialized in U.S. foreign policy, international trade, the Middle East, and South and East Asia, Dr. Hadar has contributed reports and commentaries on political, economic and military issues to major foreign policy publications and to a variety of American and international media outlets. A former United Nations bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Hadar currently covers Washington for Southeast Asia’s leading financial daily, Singapore Business Times. He has also written regularly for Israel’s Haaretz and Beirut’s Daily Star, and he blogs at the Huffington Post, the National Interest (Online), Snapshot (, The Middle East Chanel (, and Asia Times Online. His analyses on global affairs have appeared in many newspapers, including New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor and in magazines like  Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal Current History, Middle East Journal,  Middle East Policy, Mediterranean Quarterly, and Columbia Journalism Review. And he was interviewed by broadcast media like CNN, Fox News, CBC, BBC, NPR, and VOA. Dr. Hadar has also taught political science, international relations and journalism at American University and Mount Vernon College — where he served as Director of International Studies, and has been affiliated as a research fellow with the Independent Institute in California, the East-West Institute in New York and the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, College Park.

He is the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).and Quagmire: America in the Middle East (Cato Institute, 1992), and contributed chapters to Handbook of U.S.-Middle East Relations: Formative Factors and Regional Perspectives (Routledge, 2009) and The Persian Gulf After the Cold War (Praeger, 1993).

Dana Hercbergs

Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2009

Dr. Hercbergs is a folklorist specializing in the intersection of personal narrative, urban history and national memory. Her research focuses on Arab and Jewish encounters and identities in Palestine/Israel particularly in Jerusalem, and on mobilities associated with tourism and travel. She is writing a book on Jerusalem's social history based on oral narratives, tourism and architecture.

Scott Lasensky

Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2009 & Fall 2010

Ph.D., Brandeis University


Dr. Scott B. Lasensky is a senior research associate in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. His recent book, Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East, co-authored with Daniel C. Kurtzer, has been called a "tour de force" and a must-read for "today's leadership (and tomorrow's)". In 2009, he received special mention in Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the top 15 think tanks.
Lasensky's work focuses on issues relating to Israel, the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy. He has lectured and written extensively on the Arab-Israeli conflict and America’s role in the Middle East. He is also the director of the Institute’s "Iraq and Its Neighbors" initiative. His doctoral work focused on foreign aid and its role in conflict resolution and peace negotiations.

Lasensky was an advisor on Middle East issues to the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, and also served as an advisor on the Gore- Lieberman campaign. He has taught at Georgetown University, the University of Maryland and Mount Holyoke College, and served as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the Brookings Institution. He is a frequent commentator on NPR, CNN, Fox News, and other major media outlets. He has also been published in the International Herald Tribune, Middle East Journal, Political Science Quarterly, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, A-Sharq Al-Awsat, and the Beirut Daily Star.

A recipient of the Yitzhak Rabin-Shimon Peres Peace Award from Tel Aviv University (1999), Lasensky is a graduate of UCLA and earned his Ph.D. in international relations from Brandeis University.

Neta Oren

Visiting Professor in Israel Studies: Fall 2011

Ph.D., Tel Aviv University


Neta Oren has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and
Resolution at George Mason University.  She completed her
doctoral studies in political science at Tel Aviv University. Her areas of research
include conflict resolution, political psychology, political communication, public
opinion, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has presented her research
findings at several conferences in the United States and Europe and has published over 20 articles and book chapters.  As a Visiting Professor for the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, Dr. Oren will teach Issues and Trends in Israeli Public Opinion in the Fall of 2011 at the University of Maryland.

Yaniv Reingewertz

Visiting Professor in Israel Studies
Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, George Washington University

Ph.D., 2011, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Dr. Reingewertz is an adjunct professor of Economics. His research interests include the areas of political economy, macroeconomics, urban economics and environmental economics. He enjoys teaching microeconomics and topics related to the Israeli economy. He is currently visiting the Department of Economics at the George Washington University, and will be teaching a course on Israeli Economy during the fall of 2012 at the University of Maryland for the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies. 

Joseph Ringel

Visiting Professor in Israel Studies

Ph.D., 2011, Brandeis University.


Joseph Ringel is an associate professor of Israel studies at the University of Maryland this academic year, and previously taught in the Jewish studies program at Drew University's Department of Religious Studies. He received his PhD from the Dept. of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, where he served as a fellow at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, in August of 2011. His dissertation, entitled The Sephardic Rabbinate, Sephardic Yeshivot, and the Shas Educational System, deals with the reconstruction of Sephardic identity in Sephardic religious schools that service Jews of Middle Eastern origin in the State of Israel. His articles have appeared in The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (edited by Norman Stillman), among other publications. He is currently working on publishing articles based on his dissertation and on a manuscript for a book on the social-intellectual history of Sephardic religious culture in Israel. Prof. Ringel’s research interests include the Jewish communities of Islam, rabbinic responses to modernity, and the experience of Sephardim and Mizrahim in the State of Israel. 

Jacques Roumani

Visiting Professor in Israel Studies: Spring 2012

Ph.D., Princeton University


Dr. Roumani’s career covers academic and policy work in comparative international development, as senior lecturer, research fellow, and international official and consultant, respectively at Bar-Ilan University and the Truman Institute of the Hebrew University (1986-1990), the Inter-American Development Bank (1991-2006) and the World Bank 1970-1985).

He has taught courses on International Political Economy, Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa, Comparative Politics of Development, and Public Sector Management.  Dr. Roumani has also taught seminars and workshops on institutional issues in different economic sectors. In addition, he has lectured at the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute, Indian Institute of Management at Bangalore, and at the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.

Sandra Scham

Visiting Assistant Professor: Fall 2014

Ph.D., The Catholic University of America


Dr. Scham is a specialist in artifacts of the Near East from the Neolithic through the Byzantine Period and has long been active in educational exchange and teaching about Near Eastern Archaeology. She taught at Jerusalem University College and was an associate curator at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem before returning to CU and the University of Maryland. She has worked at Teleilat Ghassul and Wadi Adrafa in Jordan, Caesarea in Israel and on the Mopsos Survey Project in the Hatay Region of Turkey. She has also coordinated academic exchanges on heritage conservation in Israel and Palestine under the Wye River People to People Program of the US State Department. She served as editor of Near East Archaeology, published by the American Schools of Oriental Research, and is one of the faculty for Penn State's field school in Cilicia in Turkey, which several CU students have attended. In 2010 she will be on the faculty of the Akko World Heritage Conservation Project in Israel, and she is also currently working as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in the Asia and Middle East Bureaus of USAID.

Sammy Smooha

Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2010


Sammy Smooha is professor of sociology and former dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa, as well as former president of the Israeli Sociological Society. He is spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a Senior Research Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. and was be a visiting professor University of Maryland for the fall 2010 semester. The Israel Prize laureate for Sociology in 2008, Smooha specializes in ethnic relations in the world and Israel. He has published widely on the internal divisions and conflicts in Israeli society, especially on the relations between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim and between Arab and Jewish citizens. His books include Israel: Pluralism and Conflict (1978); Arabs and Jews in Israel (1989, 1992); and The Fate of Ethnic Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (2005, co-editor). He is currently writing a book on how Israel treats its Arab minority compared to how Northern Ireland, Estonia, Slovakia and Macedonia treat their national minorities. At University of Maryland he will taught a course on Israeli society.

Nina Spiegel

Visiting Professor in Israeli History: Fall 2007 – Spring 2009

Ph.D., Stanford University

She holds a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University and a B.A. in Judaic and religious studies from Brown University. She has previously taught at the University of Maryland and Stanford University and has served as Curator at the National Museum of American Jewish History. She is currently completing a book, The Creation of Israeli Culture: Hebrew Dance, Sports, and Beauty in the British Mandate, which examines the evolution of Israeli culture while uncovering its connection to the country’s social and political dynamics. Her research explores topics such as Jewish public culture in Israel and the United States, museums and the construction of memory, and Jewish dance. In 2004, she received Honorable Mention for the Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology for her article "Cultural Formulation in Eretz Israel: The National Dance Competition of 1937." At American University, she will be teaching courses on the history of Israel, modern Jewish civilization, American Jewish popular culture, and the construction of memory in Jewish museums.

Gabriel Weimann

Visiting Professor of Israel Studies: Spring 2011

Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Dr. Weimann is a Full Professor of Communication at the Department of Communication at Haifa University, Israel. His research interests include the study of media effects, political campaigns, persuasion and influence, media and public opinion, modern terrorism and the mass media. He published six books: Communicating Unreality (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2000); The Influentials: People Who Influence People (State University of New York Press, 1995); The Theater of Terror (New York: Longman, 1994); Hate on Trial (Toronto: Mosaic, 1986); and The Singaporean Enigma (Jerusalem: Tzivonim, 2001) and Terror on the Internet (Washington, DC: USIP Press, 2007). His papers and research reports, more than 120 publications, have been published in scientific journals and books. He received numerous grants and awards from international foundations and was a Visiting Professor at various universities including University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Hofstra University, Lehigh University (USA), University of Mainz (Germany), Carleton University (Canada) and the National University of Singapore.


4137 Susquehanna Hall | 301.405.9413 |

©2011, The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies