Liel Leibovitz

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Liel Leibovitz (born 1976, Tel Aviv)[1] is an Israeli-American journalist, author, media critic and video game scholar.[2] Leibovitz was born in Tel Aviv, immigrated to the United States in 1999, and earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2007. In 2014 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Leibovitz was born in Israel to Iris and Rony Leibovitz.[5] His father, born into a wealthy family, became known in Israel as the "Motorcycle Bandit" who robbed 21 banks and served 8 years in prison during his son's childhood.[6] Leibovitz visited his father weekly while he was in prison, and his family suffered financially after his father's incarceration.[7] When he was about 9 he became very interested in the United States, particularly after visiting relatives there.[8] He received his B.A. from Tel Aviv University and after moving to New York City, he received an M.S. in journalism and a Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University.[9]


Leibovitz was a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Spokesperson’s Unit of the Israel Defense Forces.[10] He attended the film school at the University of Tel Aviv before moving to New York. He worked at a hardware store and then at the Israeli Consulate as a senior press officer,[8] producing "Israel Line," a daily summary of significant news taken directly from Israeli media. He served as culture editor of Jewish Week,[11] and has written for The Nation,[12] as well as for The New Republic.[13]

At the online American Jewish Tablet Magazine, Leibovitz serves as senior writer and executive producer of video and interactive media.[14]



  • A broken hallelujah: rock and roll, redemption, and the life of Leonard Cohen, (2014) Norton
  • God in the machine: video games as spiritual pursuit, (2014) Templeton Press
  • Fortunate sons: the 120 Chinese boys who came to America, went to school, and revolutionized an ancient civilization with Matthew Miller, (2011) Norton
  • Lili Marlene: the soldiers' song of World War II, (2009) Norton
  • Thinking inside the box: towards and ontology of video games (2007)
  • Aliya: three generations of American-Jewish immigration to Israel, (2006) St. Martin's Press


Leibovitz is married to American author Lisa Ann Sandell, who has published three young adult novels.[15]


  1. ^ "Q&A With Liel Leibovitz, Author Of A Broken Hallelujah". Heck Of A Guy – The Other Leonard Cohen Site. Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Liel Leibovitz Talks Seriously About Video Games NYU Steinhardt, April 13, 2012
  3. ^ "Liel Leibovitz". New York University. Archived from the original on November 19, 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Hornaday, Ann (4 April 2014). "Review: 'A Broken Hallelujah: The Life of Leonard Cohen,' by Liel Leibovitz". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Liel Leibovitz 'Aliya: Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel' Macmillan, 2007, p. 275
  6. ^ Liel Leibovitz (October 19, 2008). "How Israel Put Its Most Notorious Bank Robber on a Stamp". Haaretz. 
  7. ^ Going Postal Tablet Magazine, Oct 17, 2008
  8. ^ a b "Sandy Brawarsky, The Jewish Week, "Giving Up America" January 11, 2006
  9. ^ Liel Leibovitz Ph.D. to speak at WMA Commencement WMA, April 24, 2012
  10. ^ 2014-2015 National Security Fellows Defend Democracy, accessed 28 April 2015
  11. ^ To move or not to move a monumental decision Jewish Daily Forward, February 3, 2006
  12. ^ Liel Leibovitz The Nation, May 2015
  13. ^ MOMA applied design exhibit mistakes video games for art The New Republic, March 13, 2013
  14. ^ About Liel Leibovotz Ameinu, January 10, 2010
  15. ^ [1] Tablet Magazine, 2 December 2011