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About the Center

Center for Israel Studies

Mission Statement

The Center for Israel Studies supports research, conferences, publications, museum exhibitions, public programs and educational opportunities that enhance awareness and study of Israel in all of its complexities. In its short history, the center has already become a national and an international model for engagement of the political, social, scientific, economic, historical, religious and cultural significance of Israel in the world community.

  • Selma Botman, Provost, History
  • Shalom Carmy, Jewish Thought
  • Aaron Koller, Bible
  • Zafrira Lidovsky-Cohen, Hebrew
  • Joshua Karlip, Jewish History
  • Jill Katz, Archaeology
  • David Lavinsky, English
  • Ronnie Perelis, Jewish History
  • Shay Pilnik, Holocaust Studies
  • Jacob Wisse, Art History
  • Steven Fine, Director, Jewish History

Distinguished Visiting Faculty

Bringing Israel to our classrooms is a major goal of the CIS. Two major local scholars taught at YU as part of the Temple of Jerusalem year (2008):

  • Vivian Mann (JTS): Jerusalem in Jewish Art at Stern College (F 08).
  • Lawrence Schiffman (NYU): Jerusalem in the Dead Sea Scrolls at YC (S 08).

It is hoped that visiting scholars from Israel will be brought to our campus for extended periods as Distinguished Visiting Israeli Faculty.

Scholars in Classroom Program

Initiated in 2009 to bring visiting lecturers into YU undergraduate classrooms through mini-grants, this program allows working groups and individual faculty the resources to bring Israel related scholarship more deeply into our curricula:

  • Shulamit Laderman, Bar-Ilan University, The Hebrew Alphabet in Jewish and Israeli Art, Stern College, F 2009.
  • Stuart Miller, UConn, Storrs, Sepphoris, Queen of the Galilee and the Ancient Rabbis, YC, Revel, F 2009.

If you are a Yeshiva faculty member interested in having a visiting scholar present to one of your classes on an Israel-related topic, contact the CIS at israelstudies@yu.edu.

Hebrew Language Instruction

CIS supports the development of resources for the study and teaching of the Hebrew language at Yeshiva University:

Lecture by Professor Moshe Bar Asher, Hebrew University. With Yeshiva College. Spring 2009.

Partial Supporter of the Yeshiva College Hebrew Language Proficiency Initiative

Co-sponsor of National Association of Professors of Hebrew Annual Meeting. With Stern College. Chair: Tzefirah Cohen (Hebrew, Stern College). Held at Yeshiva University, July 2010.

Steven Fine is the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History and founding Director of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies. A cultural historian, Fine specializes in Jewish history in the Greco-Roman period. His work focuses mainly upon the literature of ancient Judaism, art and archaeology and the ways that modern scholars have interpreted Jewish antiquity.

Professor Fine’s most recent volume, The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel was published by Harvard University Press in 2016. His Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World: Toward a New Jewish Archaeology received the 2009 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award of the Association for Jewish Studies. Fine is an editor of IMAGES: A Journal for the Study of Jewish Art and Visual Culture and section editor for Judaica of the Cambridge World History of Religious Architecture (forthcoming).  His Art, History and the Historiography of Judaism in Roman Antiquity, a collection of essays reflecting his broad cultural interests, appeared in 2013 with EJ Brill.

The Arch of Titus Project, which he directs, discovered evidence that the Arch of Titus menorah was painted in yellow ochre color in antiquity. Fine has lectured to both popular and academic audiences throughout the United States, Israel and Europe, in both English and Hebrew. In recent years, he has spoken at the Getty Institute, Pergamon Museum, Berlin, the University of Basle, Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, University of Haifa, Oxford University, the Hebrew University, American Jewish University, Nyack College, Union Theological Seminary, Yale University, the Hebrew Union College, UC Davis, Duke University and the Brooklyn Museum. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Biblical Archaeology Review, Haaretz and numerous other news sources.

David Selis is a senior at Yeshiva College of Yeshiva University, majoring in Jewish history.  He has begun his MA studies at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies with a further focus in Medieval-Early Modern Jewish history. He is particularly excited by the history of the Hebrew book and the collection of Jewish books, especially in the United States. David hopes to pursue a career in Judaica librarianship.

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