Ph.D. Candidates and Alumni

Jehad Abusalim


Dekel Canetti

Dekel Canetti is a cultural sociologist, interested in generation and maintenance of common narratives. He is writing his thesis on a born-again (Tshuva) Hasidic community in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem. Dekel received his MA in sociology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and BA in economics from Haifa University. Dekel also facilitated Paths to Peace, a Palestinian-Israeli discussion workshop in the College of Arts and Science. At night he is a brave superhero.

Dotan Greenvald


Donna Herzog


Brett Levi

Brett Levi is a PhD candidate in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied History, Jewish Studies, and History of Art. Brett received his master's degree from Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where he was awarded the prize for best master's thesis in 2013 for his paper “Hasidic Geopolitics and the Greater Land of Israel: Israeli Hasidic Rebbes Encounter the West Bank, Gaza and Territorial Withdrawal, 1982–2013.” Brett has worked at research institutes and non-profit organizations in New York, Boston, and Jerusalem. His primary research interests include political geography; religious Zionism; ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities; and post-WWII European Jewish history.


Geoffrey Levin

Geoffrey Levin is a PhD student in Hebrew & Judaic Studies and History at New York University. Originally from Wheeling, Illinois, Geoffrey received a graduate Diploma in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Bologna Center and a B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State University. He also studied at the University of Haifa, and is a recipient of the Schusterman Israel Scholar Award.
Prior to NYU, Geoffrey was a visiting graduate student at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Political Science, and was a researcher for a project analysing post-“Arab Spring” constitutional transitions at a think tank in Bologna, Italy. His research interests include Israeli political and diplomatic history with a focus on U.S.-Israeli and Israeli-Arab relations.

Geoffrey may be reached via email at


Idan Rochelle



Ahmad Amara, PhD Awarded Spring 2016

Ahmad Amara, is a Palestinian Human rights lawyer. Amara received his BA and Master's degrees in Law from Tel Aviv University, and earned a second Master's degree in International Human Rights Law from Essex University in the United Kingdom. His research focused on International humanitarian law and the law of occupation, in addition to land and housing rights. In 2005, Amara co-founded Karama (Arabic for "Dignity"), a human rights organization located in Nazareth, where he served as a Senior Staff Attorney. Before beginning his doctoral work, Amara served for three years as a global advocacy fellow and clinical instructor in the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program. His research and advocacy projects in Harvard focused, among other areas, on historical land rights for the Bedouin Arabs of the Negev; land confiscation in East Jerusalem, Housing rights in Israel and Jordan and the rights of domestic migrant workers rights in Jordan. Amara's current research focuses is on the legal history of late Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine with regard to property rights and legal advocacy. 

Shirly Bahar, PhD Awarded Spring 2017

Shirly Bahar is the Director of Public Programs at the American Jewish Historical Society, and a PhD candidate at the Hebrew and Judaic Studies Department of New York University. Shirly is also the founder and organizer of the first Mizrahi Film Series at NYU, running since 2014. Shirly is writing her dissertation on pain, affect, and performance in Palestinian and Mizrahi contemporary documentary cinema. Shirly’s article “Coming Out as Queen: Queer Studies, Jewish Identity, and the Book of Esther” was published inStudies in Gender and Sexuality Journal (September 2012). Shirly’s review article “Restrictions Apply: Agency, Affect and Reenactment in Einat Amir’s Performance and Video Installation Our Best Intentions” was published in Third Text (August 2015).


Hillel Gruenberg, PhD Awarded Fall 2014

Hillel Gruenberg was born and raised in New Rochelle, a close suburb of New York City. Hillel received a BA from the State University of New York in Binghamton, where he majored in History and Philosophy, Politics and Law (PPL) with a concentration in Middle East and North African Studies. Hillel spent his first year of university study at the Hebrew University while also working in irrigation on a Kibbutz in southwestern Israel.  Additionally, he was an Intern in the Israeli Knesset the summer prior to completing his BA.  The year following his graduation from SUNY Binghamton, Hillel enrolled as a non-degree graduate student at the Hebrew University in preparation for his doctoral degree studies program.  Currently Hillel is a PhD candidate in the Joint PhD Program in Hebrew & Judaic Studies and History at New York University, specializing in Israeli/Zionist Political History.  His chief interests include the encounter between Zionism and Liberalism in practice and theory as well as the adaptation of Zionist ideologies to the Israeli political sphere.

Shay Hazkani, PhD Awarded Spring 2016

Shay Hazkani received his PhD in the joint program of the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and the Department of History. Originally from Israel, Shay received his Master’s Degree in Arab Studies from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University and his B.A in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University. His research focuses on subaltern and socio-cultural history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Prior to starting his Masters, Shay worked for seven years as a West Bank correspondent and as a war correspondent for Israeli radio and television, where he covered the Second Intifada, the 2005 Israeli pull-out from Gaza and the 2006 war in Lebanon. Besides reporting on the daily clashes, Shay took special interest in human rights issues and the Israeli settler movement.


Shira Klein, PhD Awarded Spring 2012

Dr Shira Klein is an Assistant Professor of History at Chapman University, where she  teaches Jewish, European, migration, and Holocaust history. She received her BA from Tel Aviv University and her MA from La Sapienza University in Rome. She completed her PhD in 2012 at New York University, where she was a proud member of the Taub Center for Israel Studies. Dr Klein is currently revising her doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript, a cultural history of Italian Jewry and its diaspora in the United States and Palestine. It enquires into the experiences of Italian Jews from the time of emancipation in the nineteenth century until after the Holocaust. Dr Klein has received a Yad Hanadiv Fellowship in Jewish Studies for 2014-2015, which will enable her to spend the year in Israel working on her manuscript. 


Fredrik Meiton, PhD Awarded Spring 2015

Fredrik Meiton is a joint PhD student in History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies at New York University. He has a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Lund in Sweden, and an MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies from Oxford University. The working title of his dissertation is “The Electrification of Palestine.” It focuses on the political and social significance of electricity generation and distribution in Palestine during the period of British rule, 1917-1948.


Dan Tsahor, PhD Awarded Fall 2015


Amy Weiss, PhD Awarded Fall 2014

Amy Weiss, a native of New Providence, New Jersey, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a degree in Jewish Studies and sociology from Rutgers College, Rutgers University in 2005.  As a student in both the Henry Rutgers Scholars Program and the Sociology Honors Program, she wrote her senior thesis on the religious and educational influences which impact American Jews’ decisions to make aliyah.  She received her Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007.  Amy is currently enrolled in the joint PhD program in Hebrew & Judaic Studies and History at NYU.  She intends to focus her research on the ways in which American ethnic groups influenced US public and foreign policy regarding Israel in the post-war period.


Shayna Weiss, PhD Awarded Fall 2014

Shayna Weiss is from Jacksonville, Florida. In 2007, she graduated from Brandeis University with a double major in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and International and Global Studies. At Brandeis, she received highest honors for her thesis on religious women in the Israeli Defense Forces. She is a 2008 graduate of the Drisha Beit Midrash Program, in which she spent the year studying Talmud and other Jewish texts full time.  Shayna is now a doctoral candidate at NYU in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and the Taub center for Israel Studies, focusing on issues of religion and gender in Israeli society.  She is finishing her dissertation on the origins of gender segregation in the Israeli public sphere. During her "free time," she blogs about Israeli television and culture.