Visiting Faculty

Visiting Faculty 2014-2015

Yuval Ben-Bassat, Abramson-Israel Institute Visiting Professor
University of Haifa

Dr. Yuval Ben-Bassat is a senior lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa where he teaches Ottoman and Turkish history. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago (2007). His research focuses on petitions sent from Palestine to the Ottoman capital at the end of the 19th century, the rural population of Palestine at that time, the early Jewish-Arab conflict, the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, and WWI in the Levant. Dr. Ben-Bassat is the author of Petitioning the Sultan: Protests and Justice in Late Ottoman Palestine (London: I.B.TAURIS, 2013, 346pp), and the co-editor of Rethinking Late Ottoman Palestine: The Young Turk Rule, 1908-1918 (London: I.B. TAURIS, 2011, 310pp.).

Avishai Benish, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Visiting Professor of Israeli Law and Society
Legal Studies
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Avishai Benish is Assistant Professor at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His fields of expertise are public law, welfare law and social policy, and his main research is on the impact of welfare state governance reforms (such as privatization and performance management) on accountability, social rights and administrative justice. Avishai graduated with honors from the Hebrew University, receiving an LL.B. in Law and Political Science; he is also an honors graduate of the LL.M. program at Columbia University Law School. He has published in journals such as Law and Policy, Public Administration and Social Service Review, and he currently serves as co-editor (with Professor David Levi-Faur) of the Jerusalem Papers on Regulation & Governance working papers series. His current research is on the regulation of privatized social services through an empirical study of the institutional dynamics of extending public law to private welfare contractors and the impact of marketization on the role and practices of street-level professionals. Avishai is also leading a research study (with Professor Shimon Shapiro) on the inspection of social services and the implications of inspectors' professional background on the goals and style of their regulatory enforcement.

Itay Fischhendler
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Itay Fischhendler heads the Environmental and Planning program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research interests focus on environmental conflict resolution; natural resources governance and decision making under conditions of political and environmental uncertainties. He is a leading scholar on transboundary water institutions and Middle Eastern water policy, and has published over 30 articles in leading public policy, conflict resolution, peace studies, geography, ecological economics, and environmental journals. Itay is now engaged in research related to energy infrastructure along the Israeli coastal line.

Shira Offer
Bar-Ilan University

Shira Offer is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and was a Research Analyst at the Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children, and Work. Her main research interests include personal networks, work and family, gender relations, and poverty. As a sociologist studying families, Offer's research is motivated by the concern of how the current social, cultural, and economic climate affects the well-being and functioning of parents and children of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. She has published a number of articles in such journals as the American Sociological Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Forces, Social Science Research, The Sociological Quarterly, Community, Work, and Family, Racial and Ethnic Studies, and Current Sociology. For more information and downloads visit


Visiting Faculty 2013-2014

Sharon Aronson-Lehavi, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor 

Dr. Sharon Aronson-Lehavi is the 2013-2014 Lisa and Douglas Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor. She will be teaching courses in the departments of Comparative Literature; Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS); and Near Eastern Studies (NES). Prof. Aronson-Lehavi is a tenured Senior Lecturer of Theatre and Performance Studies at the Department of Comparative Literature, Bar Ilan University, and a member of the Israel Young Academy (IYA), established by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. She holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her past awards and distinctions include a Fulbright grant for doctoral studies, a Dan David post-doctoral research award, and the 2012 award for Excellence in Teaching, Bar Ilan University.

Prof. Aronson-Lehavi specializes in theatre and performance history and theory. Her primary areas of research are late medieval theatre, modern theatre and performance, theatre and religion, and Jewish and Israeli theatre and performance. She is the author of Gender and Feminism in Modern Theatre, (Open University Press, 2013; Hebrew); Street Scenes: Late Medieval Acting and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, New Middle Ages Series, 2011); and the editor of Wanderers and Other Israeli Plays (Seagull Books, In Performance Series, 2009), an anthology of seven contemporary Israeli plays in English translation with an introduction by the editor. Her essays have appeared in Performance Research, Theatre Research International, Performance and Spirituality, and other journals and books. Her current research project deals with religious representations in modern experimental theatre and performance.

Amnon Lehavi, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Visiting Professor of Israeli Law and Society 

Prof. Amnon Lehavi (Yale, J.S.D) is the 2013-2014 Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Visiting Professor of Israeli Law and Society. He will be teaching Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel. He is the Atara Kaufman Professor of Real Estate, Radzyner School of Law, and Academic Director, Gazit-Globe Real Estate Institute, Interdisciplinary Centre (IDC) Herzliya, Israel.

Prof. Lehavi is a leading authority on property, real estate, land use controls, international economic law, and law and globalization. He is the author of The Construction of Property: Norms, Institutions, Challenges (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and the editor of Gated Communities (Nevo Press, 2010). Prof. Lehavi has published extensively in top journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Texas Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Law and Social Inquiry, and Yale Journal of International Law. He has won numerous prizes, including the 2007 Tzeltner Award for an outstanding young scholar and the 2008 and 2010 IDC Award for excellence in scholarship. Prof. Lehavi also served as the Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Private Law (2012-2013).


Visiting Faculty 2012-2013:

Barak Medina, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Visiting Professor

Medina is the the outgoing Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Medina earned his LLB, and his BA and MA in Economics from Tel-Aviv University, an LLM from Harvard Law School, and a PhD in Economics from The Hebrew University. He joined the Hebrew University Law Faculty in 2003, and served as its Dean from 2009-2012. 

He has authored the authoritative book on Israeli constitutional law, and is a scholar of the economic analysis of law.  His latest book, “Law, Economics, and Morality,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2010.At Berkeley, Medina will teach a seminar on Law, Economics and Morality at the Law School, and will teach Israeli constitutional law in the Legal Studies Program.

Yaacov Yadgar, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund Visiting Israeli Professor

Yadgar teaches in the Department of Political Science at Bar Ilan University in Israel.  Yadgar received his PhD from Bar Ilan, where he studied with Israel Prize winner Charles Liebman, leading analyst of the Israeli and American Jewish communities. Yadgar is a scholar of religious identity, politics, and culture in Israel. 

His latest book, "Secularism and Religion in Jewish-Israeli Politics (2011),"  focuses on the failure of the "religious vs. secular" discourse to capture accurately the complexity of Jewish identity--not least because that discourse ignores the "masortim" (traditionists) who comprise over a third of the Jewish-Israeli population.

In UC Berkeley's Political Science Department, Yadgar will teach undergraduate and graduate seminars on Israeli Political Culture and Religion in Politics, and a lecture course on Religion and Politics in Israel (Spring 2013).  He will also teach "History of Zionism" in the Department of History (Fall 2012).

Leon Wiener Dow, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation Post-Doctoral Lecturer; Post-Doctoral Fellow in Jewish Law, Robbins Collection for Civil and Religious Law, Berkeley Law

Wiener Dow received his B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University, rabbinic ordination from Rabbi David Hartman, and a PhD in philosophy from Bar Ilan University. 

His research seeks to develop a philosophy of halacha (Jewish Law) based on the thought of Franz Rosenzweig.  At Berkeley, Wiener Dow will teach undergraduate courses on "Modern Jewish Thought" and "Israeli Culture Through Film."

Visiting Faculty 2011-2012

Nurit Novis-Deutsch, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor

Novis-Deutsch, whose research focuses on the study of identity, psychology of religion, and moral development, received her PhD in psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.Her current research focuses on the religious identity of Bay Area Jews, and this year she is teaching a freshman seminar on "Jewish Collective Identity and Memory" (Jewish Studies 39E), as well as two courses, "The Israeli Experience – Explorations in Psychology of Identity," and "Psychology of Religion," in the Department of Psychology, and lecturing in History of Israel (History 100.2).



Menachem Hofnung, 2011 Inaugural Visiting Professor in Israeli Law, Economy and Society.

Hofnung is Herbert Samuel Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research covers national security and civil liberties, constitutional politics and comparative political finance, and at Berkeley he taught "Democracy, Civil Liberties and National Security: Israel in Comparative Perspective," to Legal Studies and Political Science undergraduates.

Hofnung has served as President of the Israeli Law and Society Association, and a member of the National Commission on the Structure of Governmental Administration in Israel (Magidor Commission, 2006). He is the incoming President of the Association for Israel Studies.