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Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies – Lecturers

Prof. Michael Shenkar 

Academic head of the Program Associate Professor in the Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Humanities Building, Room 6425. Office Hours: Wednesday 12:30-13:30, +972-2-5883620

Associate Professor of Pre-Islamic Iranian studies. His specialization is the study of civilizations and cultures of the pre-Islamic Iranian world through their material remains and visual representations. His research interests encompass the archaeology, art, and religions of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia, including Zoroastrianism (with a particular focus on religious iconography), the culture of the Eurasian nomads, the Sogdian civilization, and the “Silk Roads”.
Prof. Shenkar is currently director (together with Dr. Sharof Kurbanov of the Tajik Academy of Sciences) of the excavations at the Sogdian town of Sanjar-Shah (5th-9th centuries CE) in northern Tajikistan.

June 2020).

Dr. Or Amir

Postdoctoral associate, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Participating in the ISF project, “Studies on the History of Late Medieval Rural Palestine: The Coastal Region and the Judean Lowlands under Ayyubid and Mamluk Rule (1187-1516 CE).”

Selector, Islam and Middle East collection; editing the catalogue of Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts, The National Library of Israel.

Ph.D. at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Supervisors: Prof. Reuven Amitai and Prof. Daniella Talmon-Heller. Dissertation title: “Mamluk Emirs and Sufi Shaykh: A Study in the Relations between Rulers and Holy Men” (approved: June 2020).

Dr. Reuven Amitai

Eliyahu Elath Professor for the History of the Muslim Peoples

Professor in the Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Humanities Building, Room 5134. Office Hours: Tuesday, 15:30-16:30

Specializes in the history of the pre-modern Islamic world and the adjacent areas. Most of his publications have centered on the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria, the Mongol Ilkhanate of Iran and the surrounding countries, and the history of medieval Palestine. From 2010 to 2014, Reuven Amitai was dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University. From 2014 to 2016 he was a senior fellow at the University of Bonn, at the “Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg: History and Society during the Mamluk Era (1250-1517)”.

He is currently the chairperson of the Library Authority at the Hebrew University. His recent publications include Holy War and Rapprochement: Studies in the Relations between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Mongol Ilkhanate (1260-1335) (Brepols, 2013); co-edited with Michal Biran: Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change: The Mongols and Their Eurasian Predecessors (University of Hawaii Press, 2015); and co-edited with Christoph Cluse: Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Eastern Mediterranean, 11th to 15th Centuries, forthcoming at Brepols.

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Dr. Nitzan Amitai-Preiss

I am a lecturer and scholar of Islamic Archaeology. I teach about Palestine and particularly about Jerusalem during the Islamic periods, between the 7th and 20th centuries C.E. My research focuses on finds unearthed during excavations, some of them excavations conducted in Jerusalem and its environs.

Prof. Michal Biran

Professor, Department.of Asian Studies

Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Graduate Program Advisor – China Section

(office) 02-5883460

Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia

Prof. Michal Biran (PhD HUJI 2000) is a historian of Inner Asia and a member of the Israeli Academy of Science and Humanities. She is the Max and Sophie Mydans Foundation Professor in the Humanities, teaches at the departments of Asian Studies and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and is currently (2015) the director of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she also leads the ERC-funded project “Mobility, Empire and Cross-Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia.” (http://mongol.huji.ac.il/). Together with Hodong Kim she is now editing The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire (2 volumes) for Cambridge University Press. She has published extensively on Mongol and PreMongol Central Asia (10th-14th centuries); the Mongol Empire; nomadism; and cross-cultural contacts between China and the Islamic world. Her books include Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia (Curzon, 1997), The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, 2005, 2008) and Chinggis Khan (Oxford: OneWorld Publications, 2007). She has co-edited Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World (with Reuven Amitai, Leiden: Brill, 2005) and Nomads As Agents of Cultural Change (with Reuven Amitai, Hawaii University Press, 2015).

Ms. Sagit Butbul

Holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and Middle Eastern Studies (1995) and an MA magna cum laude (2002) in Arabic Language and Literature, all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently writing her PhD theses under the supervision of Prof. Simon Hopkins, under whose supervision she also wrote her MA theses.

Both theses deal with Judaeo-Arabic in general and in Judaeo-Arabic Biblical translations and commentary in particular.

Butbul’s research fields are Arabic grammar, lexicology and philology, Classical, Modern and Colloquial Arabic linguistics, as well as Middle Arabic and especially Judaeo-Arabic, including grammar, lexicology and literature – mainly early translations, glossaries and commentaries, particularly those of Karaite origin. These research fields also include knowledge of reading and editing mediaeval manuscripts.

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Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman

Senior lecturer, Institute of Archaeology and the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Katia Cytryn-Silverman specializes in Islamic archaeology, and is a lecturer at both the Institute of Archaeology and the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, teaching undergraduate and graduate studies.

She directs the excavations at Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee (http://tiberias.huji.ac.il/) since 2009. Her project, focused on the Islamization of the classical city and the study of its monumental Friday mosque, has been supported by various funds, including Van Berchem Foundation, Hirschfeld Memorial Fund, Amiran Fund of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University, Israel Science Foundation (as part of the collaborative project headed by R. Amitai – The Formation of the Islamic Society in Palestine (http://islamization.huji.ac.il/) and Thyssen Foundation.

She has co-directed excavations at Khirbat al-Minya (2005-2006) with M. Rosen-Ayalon and architect G. Solar, apart from participating in other archaeological digs, often as a specialist in ceramics of the Islamic period, a topic she commands since her MA studies (The Settlement in Northern Sinai during the Islamic Period, summarized in J.-M. Mouton (ed.), Le Sinaï – de la conquête arabe à nos jours, IFAO, Cahier des Annales Islamologiques 21, 2001, pp. 3-36). She has written various articles and chapters on the ceramics of various excavations (including Jerusalem and Ramla), apart from teaching and advising on the subject.

She has surveyed and researched the road-inns in Palestine towards her PhD thesis (1998-2004), and the results have been published in Cytryn-Silverman, K. The Road Inns (Khãns) of Bilãd al-Shãm, BAR International Series 2130, Oxford 2010. She has also written various articles on the subject of roads and road-inns during the Islamic period, and remains involved in the research on the topic. She will contribute an entry on this subject to Oxford’s Handbook of Islamic Archaeology, being edited by B. Walker.

Cytryn-Silverman has participated in various conferences and workshops in Israel and abroad, and also organized local and international events. Soon the results of the international workshop co-organized with D. Talmon-Heller at Ben-Gurion University in 2009 will come to light at in Material Evidence and Narrative Sources: Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of Islamic Societies, Proceedings of the 14th Annual Workshop of the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion, University of the Negev, June 30th – July 2nd 2009 (Brill: Leiden, forthcoming in 2014). The proceedings of the international seminar co-organized with K. Damgaard and held under the auspices of the W.F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research at the École biblique et archéologique in Jerusalem, 7th-8th February 2013, will be published in collaboration with D. Whitcomb by Chicago’s Oriental Institute Publications Office.

Cytryn-Silverman is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Archaeology (chief editor, B. Walker), and often acts as an external reader for the Israel Antiquities Authority publication department. In the past she has also worked as an assistant curator at the Collections Hall of the Institute of Archaeology (1988-1993), in charge of the Islamic study collection, but also involved in the organization of exhibitions.

 During the years 2011-2013 she co-directed a hands-on summer course together with R. Milstein, also of the Hebrew University. This practical course, subsidized by the Council for Higher Education and Yad HaNadiv, was first conducted at Ashqelon (excavations by L. Staeger and D. Master) and then at Tiberias. The course attracted students from various universities in Israel and from abroad.

Dr. Tawfiq Da’adli

Academic head of the program

Tawfiq Da’adli is an archeologist and art historian, who earned his degrees at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His field of expertise is on Islamic material culture throughout the medieval period. He divides his time between archeology, where he has conducted several excavations and surveys pertaining to the medieval periods, and art history where he researched Timurid illustrated manuscripts produced in Greater Iran and other art forms. He teaches at the departments of Islam and Middle Eastern studies and Art History, at the Hebrew University.

Dr. Tsameret Daphni-Levy

Director, The Forum for Contemporary Turkish Studies & Programs Director, The Israel in the Middle East Cluster, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Tsameret has a PhD in history from Tel Aviv University, where she wrote her dissertation on society and politics in the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century, focusing on Diyarbakir (in the southeastern part of modern Turkey). While researching her dissertation, she lived in Istanbul for various periods and received a scholarship from KOC University, Istanbul, where she was a research fellow in 2008 and 2009 in the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC).

At the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, since 2016 Tsameret has been the director of the Forum for Contemporary Turkish Studies, which is now part of the Israel in the Middle East cluster. As part of the cluster, the forum aims to promote and encourage interdisciplinary (historical, sociological, and cultural) research and a comparative examination of Turkey and Israel. The forum also aims to expose the Israeli public to contemporary Turkish films as a way of viewing Turkey and its society. Turkish Film Week, which has taken place since 2018 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, is among the forum’s activities.

Dr. Nimrod Goren

Dr. Nimrod Goren is the Founder and Head of Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, a think tank working to improve Israel’s foreign policy, increase Israel’s regional belonging, and advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. Nimrod is also a Teaching Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Psychology from the Hebrew University, and is a former Executive Director of the Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation.  He is the recipient of the Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East and the Centennial Medal of the Institute of International Education. Nimrod was named as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow by Fulbright and a Vamik Volkan Scholar by the International Dialogue Initiative. Nimrod serves on the board of The Center for Enterprising Citizens and on the steering committee of the Geneva Initiative, and is a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab. His areas of expertise include Israel’s foreign policy, Israel’s relations in the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Turkish politics and foreign policy.

Dr. Rachel Hasson

I am a mother of two wonderful children and a Genizah researcher, living in Modi’in, Israel. From 2018 I am a teaching fellow in Ben Gurion University of the Negev and in the Hebrew University, teaching Arabic, Judaeo-Arabic language, literature and culture, Islam, history of the Jews in Arab lands. The courses are based on materials from the Genizah. My research areas are: Genizah, linguistic characteristics of Judaeo-Arabic, medieval Arabic library, popular literature in Middle Ages, Arabian Nights, the Jews in Arab lands.

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Dr. Areen Hawari  

Dr. Areen Hawari holds A PhD in Gender Studies from Ben-Gurion University. Her research focuses on the activism of the Palestinian women: between feminism, religion and the state. She is the director of the “Gender Studies Program” in Mada al Carmel- Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa. She is also teaching course titled “Feminism in Arab and global context” in the faculty of education in Oranim College.

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Dr. Abigail Jacobson

Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Humanities Building, Room 5308, +972-2-5883665

A historian working on the social and urban history of late Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean. Her main research interest is the history of ethnically and nationally mixed spaces and communities, especially during times of war and conflict. Her first book is entitled From Empire to Empire: Jerusalem between Ottoman and British Rule (Syracuse University Press, 2011). Her second book, Oriental Neighbors: Middle Eastern Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine (Brandeis/New England University Press, 2016), is co-authored with Dr. Moshe Naor.

Jacobson completed her PhD at the Department of History at the University of Chicago. Before joining the Hebrew University she was the Academic Director of the Borders and Sovereignty theme (previously The Mediterranean Neighbors Unit) at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. She is the chief editor of the Journal of Levantine Studies (JLS) published at VLJI. She has been a junior research fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University; a lecturer at the Department of History at MIT; a visiting lecturer at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University; and a lecturer at the International School at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya (IDC).

Ayelet Levy

The Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies, The Tel Aviv University

Experienced Political Analyst specializing in the Middle East and North Africa with a demonstrated experience of working in the public sector and research institutes. Skilled in Geo-strategy and Sociological research with a Master’s degree from Tel-Aviv University.
The Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Libya as an African Crisis (Hebrew)
December 26, 2017
Morocco: The return to the African Union and its continuing distancing from the Arab League (Hebrew)
May 25, 2017
The Western Sahara Crisis in the Tangle of Maghreb Regional Relations and the African Arena (Hebrew)
November 27, 2016
“The Moroccan Spring” – Political Islam Sponsored by the Kingdom
November 5, 2015

Dr. Nicole Khayat 

A Regional History of Medicine in the Middle East Research Group, the School of History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Historian of late nineteenth century Arabic Nahda. Her research interests lie in the intellectual and cultural history of the Arabic-speaking world.

Nicole Khayat’s dissertation, titled “Historiography and Translation during the Arabic Nahda: European History in Arabic,” was completed at the University of Haifa (2017). She is a founding member of the Women Historians’ Forum at the Haifa Feminist Research Institute. She has created an archive of photographs depicting Palestinian life in Haifa before 1948 and partook in an exhibition based on this archive at the Haifa City Museum. She has written about the modern Arabic theatre, Arabic authorship and copyright during the 19th century and is currently researching the intellectual world of doctors in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Dr. Menahem Merhavy

Merhavy is currently a fellow at The Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He teaches at the Department for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University and Rothberg International School. Menahem earned his PhD from Tel Aviv University, Department of Middle Eastern and African History in 2012, specializing in Iranian Nationalism. Formerly a Fulbright Postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin (2013-2014). His book “National Symbols in Modern Iran” came out in 2019 at Syracuse University Press.

The courses Menahem teaches at Rothberg include “The Arab Israel Conflict”, “Introduction to the Middle East” and “The Shi’i World in the Contemporary Era”.

Dr. Arik Sadan

My field of research is the Classical Arabic language, and my main points of interest are Arab grammarians, Arabic grammar and manuscripts and Judeo-Arabic bible commentary. I teach various courses in these fields. Besides several articles in my fields of research, I published four academic books.

Prof. Adam Silverstein

Professor in the Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Max Schloessinger Chair in Islamic Studies

Humanities Building, Room 5315. Office Hours: Sunday, 13:00-14:00 (by appointment)

Prof. Silverstein specializes in the history of the Middle East, from Late Antiquity until the Middle Ages. Most of his research is comparative, focusing on Islamic cultures within broad historical contexts. Prof. Silverstein studied at the University of Cambridge (Ph.D. 2002). Following a British Academy post-doctoral fellowship (2002-2005), he was a lecturer at the University of Oxford (2005-2010), and as Reader in Abrahamic Religions at King’s College London, until his arrival in Israel in 2012. Prof. Silverstein joined the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in 2021.

Dr. Hila Zemer

Hila earned her PhD from the Hebrew University. Her research deals with different aspects of the grammar of Arabic dialects, with relations to the development of the Arabic language. Her main fields of interest are Arabic grammar, Arabic dialectology. and Arabic historical linguistics. She has been teaching at the Rothberg International School since 2005, and in the Graduate Department since 2010. 

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Pre-Semester Program: “Encountering Jerusalem” 2023-24
Practical Hebrew Beginners4 credits
Modern Standard Arabic Beginners 5 credits
Jerusalem: A Journey Through Time and Space3 credits
Pre-Semester Program: “Encountering Jerusalem” 2023-24
Practical Hebrew Beginners 4 credits
Israeli Society3 credits