Research Support

The Helen Diller Institute is occasionally able to provide ad-hoc support for UC Berkeley affiliated undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research projects in Jewish law, thought, and identity, and in Israel studies. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and decisions are made based on available funds. To request a research grant, email a brief project description and a budget draft to Dr. Rebecca Golbert,


Past Research Projects Funded by the Berkeley Institute



“Participation in World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 2017”
Francesco Spagnolo (Curator at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley)

Dr. Spagnolo will present a paper highlighting the contributions of Israeli ethnomusicologists to the study of Jewish musical traditions in the Mediterranean (with a focus on Greece).

“Clerkship for Justice Menachem Mazuz of the Supreme Court of Israel” Shneur Wolvovsky (3rd Year Law Student, Berkeley Law)

Mr. Wolvovsky has been offered the opportunity to clerk for Justice Menachem (Meni) Mazuz of the Supreme Court of Israel for the Fall 2017 semester (September through December). The Court uses foreign law clerks primarily to research comparative law issues. As a relatively young country, many issues of first impression come before the court. Therefore, the Court often looks to the law of other jurisdictions, like the United States, for precedent. Wolvovsky’s job will be to research and write about the relevant law in the United States.

“Research Internship at the International Institute for CounterTerrorism, IDC Herzliya” Charles Culioli (4th Year Undergraduate Student, UC Berkeley)

Charoles Culioli will be interning at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism from the 29th of May to the 4th of August 2018. The internship is research-oriented; Culioli will be dealing with research, writing, data-gathering, and will help organizing events, conference and so on. His main task will be to work on a personal research project dealing with counterterrorism. Once completed, this project will be published by the ICT. Additionally, he will start doing research for his honor thesis on the relationship between UNRWA and Hamas in the Gaza strip. Finally, he will take Hebrew classes.



“Jabotinsky Archive in Tel Aviv”
Raphael Margarik (PhD Student, English Department with Designated Emphases in Jewish Studies and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, UC Berkeley)

Mr. Margarik examined the Jabotinsky archive in Tel Aviv, particularly Jabotinsky’s translations of Dante into Hebrew. He studied Jabotinsky’s polemical articles and poetry in pre-War Rome and studied how the city’s vortex of feuding radical sects and complex nationalist politics, as well as Italian history and literature, informed Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionism. He explores how the cosmopolitan and secular Jabotinsky, who held religion in contempt, read Dante’s “poema sacra.” Margarik believes the translations lead to the nexus between epics and politics.



“Sender’s Limits on Economic Energy Sanctions”
Nir Maoz (Undergraduate Student, UC Berkeley)
In collaboration with David Zillberman (UC Berkeley Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics) and Itai Fishhandeler (Hebrew University in Jerusalem’s Department of Geography)

“Mount Scopus Midwives”
Shaina Shealy (UC Berkeley, M.A. student in Journalism
Live podcast to stream February 29th at 2 PM on PRI, article available here.

“Ethnic identity among Israeli Adolescents: Outcomes and Implications”
Maya Benish-Weisman (University of Haifa, Department of Counseling and Human Development)



“Middle Eastern Musical Intersections in Contemporary Israel”
Prof. Benjamin Brinner (UC Berkeley, Music)

“The Environmental Movement in Israel” (Dissertation support grant)
Miri Lavi-Neeman (UC Berkeley, Ph.D. candidate in Geography)



“International Influences and Judicial Decision-making in Israeli Courts”
Osnat Grady-Schwartz (Hebrew University, Law; Fulbright Scholar) with Prof. Kevin Quinn (UC Berkeley, Jurisprudence and Social Policy/Political Science)

“Design for Environmental Collaboration in the Kidron Valley,”
relating to the Kidron Valley/Wadi El Nar River Basin Restoration Project

Prof. Slav W. Hermanowicz (UC Berkeley, Engineering), and Dr. Yael Perez (UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design): Travel funds for participation in the research workshop

“Lessons from Israeli Privatization”
Prof. Malcolm Feeley (UC Berkeley, Law and Political Science)