Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University
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The Center nurtures excellence in interdisciplinary scholarship and the teaching of Israel throughout history and across disciplines, with a keen focus upon the modern state. It supports research, conferences, publications, museum exhibitions, public programs and educational opportunities that enhance awareness and study of Israel in all of its complexities. In our short history, we have already become a national and an international forum for engagement of the political, social, scientific, economic, historical, religious and cultural significance of Israel in the world community.
Steven Fine, PhD, Professor of Jewish History, is the Director of the Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University. Jess Olson Assistant Professor of Jewish History, is Associate Director of the CIS.
Conferences and Symposia
International conferences and symposia that bring together renowned scholars with YU faculty and students are the core of Center for Israel Studies' activities.
The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah. With YU Museum. Organizer: Steven Fine. YU Museum and Wilf Campus, May, 2008.
Israel and India: A Relationship Comes of Age. VIP reception at the Indian consulate, associated exhibition on the Jews of India at YU Museum. With the Institute for Public Health and YU Museum. YU Museum, March 30, 2009.
Zionism on the Jewish Street: Geography and Nationalism at the Turn of the 20th Century. With YU Museum. Organizer: Jess Olson (Jewish History). YU Museum and Wilf Campus, March, 2010.
US-Israel Relations in the Era of Obama and Netanyahu. With the Began-Sadat Center, Bar Ilan University and American Friends of BIU. Organizers: R. Bevan, E. Resnick. YU Museum, Sept, 15, 2009.
Jews and Power in the 20th Century. With the Schottenstein Honors Program and the Schneier Center for International Affairs, Yeshiva University. Primary faculty advisors: S. Fine, R. Bevan. YU Wilf Campus, Spring, 2009.
Symposium on Priesthood in the Second Temple Period, 11/11/09. Organizer: Joseph Angel (Jewish History).
National Association of Professors of Hebrew Annual Meeting at YU, July 2010. Co-sponsored with Stern College, Chair: Tzefirah Cohen, Stern College.
Israel and Iran: From Cyrus the Great to the Islamic Republic. With the Schneir Center for International Affairs, Yeshiva University. Organizer: Daniel Tsadik. YU Museum, September, 2010.
Talmuda De'Eretz Yisrael: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antiquity. Organizers: Steven Fine (Jewish History), Aaron Koller (Bible). With YU Museum. YU Museum and Wilf Campus, March 2011.
Torah and Science Conference. With Bar Ilan and Machon Lev. Apr 2009, 2010, 2011. Hosted at the YU Israel campus, 2010.
Folktales of Israel: A Festival Honoring Professor Peninnah Schram. With YU Museum and Stern College for Women. YU Museum, November, 2011.
Religious Zionism in America: A Yom Iyyun Honoring Professors Bernard Rosensweig and Sol Roth, April 22, 2012.
Exhibitions are another way of bringing YU scholarship to a wide audience. The CIS has co-sponsored a wide array of Yeshiva University Museum exhibitions and is involved in outside projects at major New York institutions:
The CIS is dedicated to disseminating the knowledge cultivated by our affiliated faculty, conferences and programming
Steven Fine, ed, The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah, Studies in Honor of Louis H. Feldman (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2011). Articles were edited by a team of YC, Stern and Revel students.
Steven Fine and Shai Secunda eds. Shoshsnat Yakov: Studies in Honor of Professor Yakov Elman. Contracted to E.J. Brill Publishers, submission Summer, 2012.
Benyamim Tsedeka, ed. Catalog of Samaritan Manuscripts in the Yeshiva University Mendel Gottesman Library," 2012.
Jess Olson, ed., Zionism on the Jewish Street, Geography and Nationalism at the Turn of the 20th Century.
Daniel Tsadik, ed., Israel and Iran: From Cyrus the Great to the Islamic Republic. Contracted to E.J. Brill Publishers.
Steven Fine and Aaron Koller, eds., Talmuda De'Eretz Yisrael: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antiquity. Contracted with DeGruyters.
The Samaritans: A Biblical People. Exhibition at The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), New York, NY. Curator: Steven Fine (Jewish History). Research Associate, Yitzchak Schwartz (CIS). Fall, 2014.
Imagining the Temple: The Models of Leen Ritmeyer. Exhibition at YU Museum. Curators: Rhoda Seidenberg (YU Museum), Steven Fine (Jewish History). Spring, 2008.
From Malabar and Beyond: The Jews of India, Exhibition at YU Museum. In conjunction with CIS conference, Israel and India: A Relationship Comes of Age. Curator: Rhoda Seidenberg (YU Museum). Fall, 2009.
Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project
The Arch of Titus in Rome commemorates the Emperor Titus’ victory in the Jewish War (66-73 CE). This iconic monument contains bas reliefs of Titus’ triumphal procession through Rome, including a depiction of the seven-branched menorah from the Jerusalem Temple. Long significant for Christian art, this menorah is the symbol of modern Israel. Like the other reliefs on the Arch, the original colors of the menorah relief are no longer visible. New conservation techniques have been successfully recovered traces of the original colors on ancient monuments. We will apply these to the study of the Arch: Noninvasive UV-VIS Absorption Spectrometry will be employed to it for the first time to capture traces of pigments on the relief, and 3D scanning will be used for the first time to capture the geometric detail of the relief. We hope to create the first reconstruction of the polychromy of the relief using the new digital tools for painting and displaying 3D models.
The results may transform our understanding of the Arch of Titus, especially the menorah panel, whose original coloration is unknown.
Recent scholarship has focused on the significance of polychromy in classical art and architecture. This will be the first study to restore the color on a monument from the Flavian period. This project also has the potential to give us our first glimpse of the colors used to decorate the sacred vessels of the Jerusalem Temple. Given the importance of the Arch of Titus as a Flavian Roman monument and of Temple and its menorah in Judaism and Christianity, our project may transform the way we visualize and conceptualize Roman state architecture as well as the central monument of ancient Judaism, the Jerusalem Temple.
The final results of the project will be made available at no cost on the project’s Web site and in a printed scholarly publication, and will also be presented at a scholarly conference. The findings will also be integrated into the 3D digital model of the Arch in Rome Reborn: A Digital Model of Ancient Rome.
An international team of art historians, conservators and historians will be assembled to study the reliefs of the Arch of Titus in all of their complexity. A technology team headed by co-director Bernard Frischer will focus on the technical retrieval of evidence of polychromy, scanning of the reliefs and 3D digital modeling of the Arch. A team led by co-director Peter Schertz will focus on the Roman context of the Arch, including the topographical, artistic and political issues that naturally arise in any study of the monument. Director Steven Fine will oversee the entire project and lead a team dedicated to the interpretation of the Arch within Jewish and Christian contexts, from antiquity to the present.
Steven Fine, Yeshiva University, Project Director Bernard Frischer, PublicVR, Co-Director, Senior Scientist Peter Schertz, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Project Co-Director Louis H. Feldman, Yeshiva University Paolo Liverani, University of Florence Heinrich Piening, State of Bavaria Lawrence H. Schiffman, Yeshiva University William Stenhouse, Yeshiva University
Faculty Working Groups
Faculty Working Groups bring together faculty in a wide range of disciplines to serve as think tanks and to create community, leading to publication projects, academic and public programming. These groups, drawn together across our campuses, are increasingly taking the lead in the development of CIS programming. Current active groups include:
History of Zionism in Israel Chair: Jess Olson (Jewish History). Members: Rachel Mesch (French), Evan Resnick (Political Science), Joan Mazalis (Sociology), Josh Karlip (Jewish History).
The Nathan And Solomon Birnbaum Family Archive
Ronald Zwieg, NYU, The Palestinian Refugee Issue in American-Israeli Relations till 1967
Derek Penselar, University of Toronto, The Jewish Origins of the Israeli Army
Zionism on the Jewish Street: Geography and Nationalism at the Turn of the 20th Century. With YU Museum. Organizer: Jess Olson (Jewish History). March, 2010.
Israel and International Relations Evan Resnick (Political Science), Ruth Bevan (Political Science), Daniel Tsadik (Jewish History).
Jews and Power in the 20th Century, with the Schottenstein Honor’s Program and the Schneier Center for International Affairs, Yeshiva University. Primary faculty advisors: S. Fine, R. Bevan. Spring, 2009.
US-Israel Relations in the Era of Obama and Netanyahu, with the Began-Sadat Center, Bar Ilan University and American Friends of BIU. Organizers: R. Bevan, E. Resnick. Sept, 15, 2009.
Israel and Iran: From Cyrus the Great to the Islamic Republic. Organizer: Daniel Tsadik. With the Schneir Center for International Affairs, Yeshiva University. September, 2010.
Art and the Israeli Experience Chair: Norman Adler (University Professor, Psychology)
Lecture by Shulamit Laderman, Bar Ilan University, The Hebrew Alphabet in Jewish and Israeli Art. Stern College, Fall 2009.
Student Photography Contest, associated with the Student Arts Festival. Spring 2009 and 2010.
Religious Zionist Thought Chair: Shalom Carmy, (Jewish Thought)
Cos-ponsorship with the Yeshiva University Center for Ethics: Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University: "Religious Identity as a Challenge to Modern Politics." Yeshiva College, Spring 2009.
Science in Israel Chair: Carl Feit (Biology).
Torah and Science Conference. With Bar Ilan and Machon Lev. Apr 2009, 2010, 2011. Hosted at the YUI campus, 2010.
Jews and Judaism in Late Antiquity Chairs: Steven Fine (Jewish History), Yakov Elman (Jewish History)
Symposium on Priesthood in the Second Temple Period, 11/11/09. Organizer: Joseph Angel (Jewish History).
Talmuda De'Eretz Yisrael: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antiquity. Organizers: Steven Fine (Jewish History), Aaron Koller (Bible). With YU Museum. At the YU Museum, March 2011.