Albert and Liese Eckstein Scholar-in-Residence

The 2022 Albert and Liese Eckstein Scholar will be announced in Fall 2021.

Previous Scholars


February 21, 2021

Jeffrey S. Gurock


  • American Jewry’s Contemporary Scorecard: Anti-Semitism and Tolerance in the United States

    In recent days, American Jews have been confronted with a spate of anti-Semitic attacks—often ideological and sometimes violent. However, even as these difficulties exist, American Jews still live in a nation that is uncommonly tolerant of them. Through an examination of how one of America’s foremost establishments—the world of organized sports—has treated Jews, now and in the past the problems of today can be better understood.

Jeffrey S. Gurock, Yeshiva University is the author or editor of eighteen books. His works include the award-winning A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, OrthodoxyAmerican Judaism and Jews In, Gotham: New York Jews and their Changing City; and The Jews of Harlem: The Rise, Decline and Revival of a Jewish Community.


January 27, 2020

Libby Garland


  • American Jewish Studies and the Scholarship of Migration
    Intersections and divides between the study of American Jewish immigration history and broader fields of U.S. immigration history, migration, and border studies.
  • Jews & Immigration: History and Moral Obligation
    In the 1920s, the U.S. Congress passed laws designed to drastically limit the immigration of foreigners considered inferior and a threat to the nation. Many Jews, along with others targeted by immigration restrictions, entered the United States anyway, in violation of the law, with the aid of smugglers or forged documents. This lecture discusses this dramatic history and how it helps us understand our current historical moment.

Libby Garland is associate professor of history at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York and the author of After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965,  winner of the American Jewish Historical Society’s Saul Viener Book Prize and the American Historical Association’s Dorothy Rosenberg Prize in 2015.


January 28, 2019

Stanley Mirvis


  • Jews and Conversos in the Early-Modern World: The State of the Field
    In Iberia between 1392 and 1497 thousands of Jews converted to Christianity either under duress or voluntarily. These conversions created a new class of people who straddled existing confessional, social, and cultural boundaries and who gave rise to a new hybrid identity. Some “New Christians” retained a certain attachment to Judaism as “crypto Jews,” most erased their Jewish past but brought their Judaic sensibilities to their interaction with European culture, and still others would reconvert to Judaism and form a new community of Jews.
  • Jews in the Atlantic World: Being Jewish in the Early Modern Period
    “Jews in the Atlantic World: Being Jewish in the Early Modern Period” explores the ways life in the colonial Atlantic—Western Europe, West Africa, South and North America, and the Caribbean—was a transformative experience for early-modern Jews and Judaism. The story is told through the lives of three Sephardic men who each in their own way embodied the Atlantic Jewish experience: one as a trans-national and trans-religious border crosser who traveled between Spain, France, Brazil, and the Caribbean as well as between Christianity and Judaism, one as the planter patriarch of a racially blended creole family, and another as a trans-Atlantic adventurer who traveled between England, the Caribbean, West Africa, and North America during the 18th century.

Stanley Mirvis is the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies and assistant professor of history at Arizona State University. He has published widely on the early-modern Atlantic Jewish experience and the “Western” Sephardic Diaspora. His forthcoming monograph is titled The Jews of Eighteenth-Century Jamaica: A Testamentary History of a Diaspora in Transition (Yale University Press: Spring 2020)


February 26, 2018

Matt Goldish


  • The Sephardim of Amsterdam and the Dawn of Modernity
  • What Happened to Conversos After They Converted? Strands of the New Christian Experience

Matt Goldish is the Samuel M. and Esther Melton chair of Jewish history at The Ohio State University. He previously taught at the University of Arizona. He received masters and doctoral degrees at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Matt’s work focuses on Sephardic life after the Spanish expulsion, Jewish-Christian intellectual relations, and messianism. His books include Judaism in the Theology of Sir Isaac Newton, The Sabbatean Prophets, and Jewish Questions: Responsa on Sephardi Life in the Early Modern Period.


January 30, 2017

Bernard Cooperman


  • Reconsidering the Ghetto: Salo Baron’s Dream of a Happier Life
  • Five Hundred Years Ago in Venice: Why Jews were Happy to Live in Ghettos

Bernard Cooperman served as director of the Center for Jewish  Studies and the Center for Historical Studies at the University of Maryland, and has written on many aspects of early modern and modern Jewish history, including the papal practice of tolerance towards Iberian Jewish refugees; the economic and cultural life of Jews in Italy; urban and community histories of Jews in Rome, Bologna and Livorno; the impact of print on Jewish culture; and business competition and sexual scandal among Roman Jewish moneylenders. He is finishing a book on the constitutional history of Roman Jews, and working on a comparative history of the European ghetto.


February 1, 2016

Lynn Rapaport


  • The Holocaust in Popular Culture: a Close Look at Schindler’s List
  • Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

Lynn Rapaport received her doctorate in Sociology from Columbia University. She is the author of Jews in Germany after the Holocaust:
Memory, Identity, and Jewish-German Relations, recipient of the 1998 Most Distinguished Publication Award in the Sociology of Religion from the American Sociological Association. She is also the co-editor of Lessons and Legacies IX: Memory, History, and Responsibility: Reassessments of the Holocaust, Implications for the Future. She is currently working on a project on how the Holocaust is portrayed in American popular culture from the 1940s to present day.


February 23, 2015

Ken Frieden


  • Travelling to Zion and Beyond: Sea Travel, Translation and the Rise of Modern Literature
  • American Cinema and the Yiddish Tradition

Ken Frieden is the B.G. Rudolph Chair in Judaic Studies at Syracuse University, and the author of Classic Yiddish Fiction, and anthologies of Yiddish literature in translation, such as Tales of Mendele the Book Peddler and Classic Yiddish Stories. He edits the series Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art; translates from Yiddish and Hebrew; and has edited collections of short stories by Israeli authors Etgar Keret and David Ehrlich.


February 10, 2014

Hasia Diner


  • Coming to Arizona: the Jewish Presence in the Southwest
    In the great age of Jewish migration, from the 1820s through the 1920s, what brought Jews from Europe to the American southwest? Despite the vast distances of tens of thousands of miles, across two continents, handfuls of Jews made the decision to cast their lot with region, remote even by American standards. What familial and business magnets drew them to the area and how did their migrations resemble and depart from those of Jews who chose other, more accessible, places?

Hasia Diner is Director of the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University. Her research focuses on the intersection of American and Jewish history. Her numerous publications include The Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000 and a book examining ways in which Jews in post-World War II America went about the process of creating a public culture memorializing the Holocaust.


February 25, 2013

Zvi Gitelman


  • Can Israel be both a Democratic and Jewish State?

Dr. Zvi Gitelman is Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He received his doctorate at Columbia University, and his current research focuses on ethnicity and politics, especially in former Communist countries, Israeli politics, East European politics, and Jewish political thought and behavior. Gitelman's most recent book is Jewish Identities in Postcommunist Russia and Ukraine: An Uncertain Ethnicity (2012). It draws on two large surveys at the beginning and end of the 1990s conducted with two colleagues in Russia. He is currently working on a project on ethnic relations in the Soviet armed forces during the war and Soviet policy regarding the Holocaust, based on hundreds of oral testimonies of Soviet Jewish veterans of WWII, and on Soviet archives.


January 30, 2012

Kenneth W. Stein


  • Narratives and History: Telling Israel’s Story Without Polarization
    Because there is so much emotion involved in telling, understanding and connecting with Israel’s history, it is difficult at times to tell what is history and what is narrative, what is accurate and what is invented. How can Israel’s story be told without polarization and how can it be taught with equal attempts at objectivity? Looking back into 150 years of Zionist and Israeli history and using the investigative tools of the historian informs these answers.

Kenneth W. Stein is director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Israel, and has taught Middle Eastern History, Political Science and Israeli Studies. He has authored numerous books and scholarly publications on the development of modern Israel, American foreign
policy towards the Middle East, origins and development of the Arab-Israel conflict, and modern Arab history, including: History Politics and Diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, A Documentary Source Compilation on CD and Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace.


January 31, 2011

Mel Scult


  • Mordecai Kaplan: The Challenge of His Heresy
    Exploring the radical implications of Mordecai Kaplan’s thought and will discuss the historical significance and relevance of Kaplan’s ideas for American Jewry in the 21st century.

Mel Scult is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Harvard University and holds a doctorate in Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. He is a premiere scholar on Mordecai Kaplan, and has published several volumes including Dynamic Judaism: The Essential Writings of Mordecai Kaplan; Judaism Faces the Twentieth Century: A Biography of Mordecai M. Kaplan; and Communings of the Spirit: The Journals of Mordecai M. Kaplan, 1913-1934.


February 15, 2010

Derek J. Penslar


  • The Politics of Knowledge: Israel Studies, Jewish Studies and Academia
  • Jewish Origins of the Israeli Army

Derek J. Penslar is Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto. His publications focus on modern European Jewry, the history of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel. He is author or editor of numerous books, including Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe (2001); Orientalism and the Jews (2005); and Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective (2006). At the time of his lecture he was writing two books: The Origins of the State of Israel, 1882-1948: A Documentary History (with Eran Kaplan, under contract to the University of Wisconsin Press) and Uniform Identities: Jews and the Military in Modern History (under contract to Princeton University Press). Penslar is co-editor of Jewish Social Studies and The Journal of Israeli History and vice-president of the Association for Jewish Studies. He has been a Directeur d’études invité at the École Pratiques des Hautes Études in Paris, the Nachshon Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at Harvard and a visiting professor of Israel Studies at Columbia. 


February 2, 2009

David N. Myers


  • Jewish Studies in the University: Provincial or Global?
  • Remembrance of Things Past: The Place of History and Historians in Modern Jewish Culture


February 11, 2008

Mark Z. Brettler


  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Ten Commandments in the Bible and in American Life


March 21-22, 2007

Judit Bokser Liwerant


  • Latin American Jewish Communities and their Present Challenges
  • Times of Globalization: Jews in Latin America Today


January 18-19, 2006

Omer Bartov


  • The Death of a Shtetl: The Holocaust in Buczacz, Ukraine, in Fact and Memory
  • Jews, Arabs and the Holocaust in Recent Israeli Cinema


January 25, 2005

Ronit Matalon


  • 'I am sorry to tell you, but…': On Writing in Israel on Identity, Femininity and Two Billion Hungry People


February 12-13, 2004

James Kugel


  • The Bible’s Most Ancient Interpreters
  • The God of Old: Representations of the Divind in Biblical Literature
  • Parshat Yitro: Shemot (Exodus) 18:1 – 20:23


January 30-31, 2003

David Kertzer


  • The Popes Against the Jews: Responding to My Critics
  • Snowballs in Rome: Anti-Semitism in Restoration Italy (1814-1859)


January 23-24, 2002

Ruth R. Wisse


  • A Workshop on Yiddish Poetry in English Translation
  • The Serious Side of Jewish Humor


January 25, 2001

Daniel Boyarin


  • The Diadoche of the Rabbis
  • The Birth of the Study House: A Talmudic Archaeology


February 9-10, 2000

Sander L. Gilman


  • By a Nose: German, American and Israeli Jews and Aesthetic Surgery
  • Is Life Beautiful? Can the Holocaust be Funny: Some Comments on Older and Newer Films


January 1999

Stephen Whitfield