Director

 

Dr. Holli Levitsky
Director, Jewish Studies Program
Professor, English
Phone: 310-338-7664
Email:
hlevitsk@lmu.edu
Dr. Holli Levitsky, a specialist in southern American Literature, Jewish American women writers, literary theory, and Holocaust literature, held the 2001-2002 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Literature in Poland. She has published articles on William Faulkner, Cynthia Ozick, Sylvia Plath, Annie Dillard, Marge Piercy, Anne Frank, and others. Currently, she is completing two book projects: a study of the ambivalent ethnologies in William Faulkner's Snopes Trilogy and the edited final memoir of the Polish-Jewish writer Sara Nomberg-Przytyk. 
      
 

 

Affiliated Faculty

   
   
Dr. Elizabeth Drummond
Assistant Professor, History, European Studies, Jewish Studies, and Women's Studies
Elizabeth.Drummond@lmu.edu
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Elizabeth A. Drummond is an assistant professor of modern European history and is affiliated with the Jewish Studies, European Studies, and Women's Studies programs at LMU.  Her current project is a cultural history of the German-Polish national conflict in the province of Poznania before World War I, a manuscript entitled To Each His Own: National Identity and Nationalist Mobilization in a German-Polish Borderland, 1886-1914.  She has published articles on the "Jewish question" in the context of the German-Polish national conflict, on the role of women in the conflict, on images of modernity and nature in nationalist discourses, and on the significance of World War I for Germans in the eastern borderlands.  She has also contributed entries to the Encyclopedia of Anti-semitism and has articles in progress on the intersections of literature and history in the German-Polish conflict and on the use of textbooks in the fashioning of a German national identity. 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Véronique Flambard-Weisbart
Professor, French, Modern Languages and Literatures
vflambar@lmu.edu

 

Dr. Flambard-Weisbart's current research interests include contemporary French literary fiction, and French film; cyberspace, global communication, the Internet in the service of literary and cultural studies; and interdisciplinary (i.e. literary fiction, art, film) and comparative studies (e.g. Eastern & Western cinematic fiction.
 
 

 

 

 

Arthur Gross-Schaefer
Instructional Technology Analyst
Professor, College of Business Administration
agross@lmu.edu

 
Arthur Gross-Schaefer has been a member of the faculty at LMU since 1978. He previously taught at Western States School of Law, Boston University and the University of Southern California. Gross-Schaefer is a past president of the Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies, representative to National Conference of the Pacific Southwest Region of Reform Rabbis, and a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He is also a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, Beta Gamma Sigma, the California State Bar Association, the California Society of Public Accountants and has earned more than a dozen teaching awards. His areas of expertise include business law; ethics: business, legal, medical, religious, and personal; and clergy legal issues.
Dr. Amir Hussain
Professor, Theological Studies and Jewish Studies
amir.hussain@lmu.edu
Website
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Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at LMU, where he teaches courses on Islam and world religions. A Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, Amir was selected by student vote as LMU Professor of the Year in 2008 and 2009. His most recent book is Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God; an introduction to Islam for a North American audience. For 2011 to 2015, he will be the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 
Dr. Gil Klein
Assistant Professor, Theological Studies
Phone: 310-338-1732
Email: gklein1@lmu.edu
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B.Arch., Bezalel Academy, 1998; M. Phil., Cambridge University, 2003; Ph.D., Cambridge University, 2007. Dr. Klein specializes in the study of late antique rabbinic Judaism in correspondence with the discipline of architectural history and theory
      
 
Dr. Jeff Siker
Professor, Theological Studies
Email: jsiker@lmu.edu
 
Dr. Siker teaches and publishes in the area of New Testament studies and has been chair of the Department of Theological Studies since 2002. He is the author of Disinheriting the Jew: Abraham in Early Christian Controversy and of Scripture and Ethics: Twentieth Century Portraits. He is the editor of Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate and Homosexuality and Religion: An Encyclopedia. Dr. Siker is an ordained Presbyterian minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and is a Parish Associate at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.  
Dr. Brian Treanor
Professor, Philosophy
Email: btreanor@lmu.edu
 
Current research, under the auspices of the Taylor Chair, focuses on the role of our material constitution -- embodiment, the physical world, and so on -- in shaping and delimiting our hermeneutic horizons. This work will take form in a series of articles and in an edited book that builds on the presentations and conversations about "the human place in the natural world" that took place at the 2012 meeting of the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology which met at LMU. I'm also co-editing a special journal issue on "the sustainable city." Finally, in addition these various book-length projects, I'm working on an article on hermeneutics and the elements, on another on a virtue-theory approach to food, on an essay on hermeneutics and the environment for Routledge, and, finally, an essay exploring the difference between avoiding evil and doing good.  
Dr. Kevin Wetmore
Professor, Theatre Arts
Email: kwetmore@lmu.edu
 
Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. is an Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts with areas of expertise in Japanese theatre, African theatre, Shakespeare, Asian cinema, horror cinema, Greek tragedy, stage combat and comedy. He has degrees from Bates College, the University of Leeds and the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed his doctorate in Theatre and Performance Studies. He also received an M.A. in Theology from LMU.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neal Brostoff
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
neal@nealbrostoff.com

 

Neal Brostoff is a Los Angeles-based Jewish music scholar, as well as a concert and festival producer. He has served as music specialist for the Skirball Cultural Center, Cultural Affairs Director for the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, and he has taught Jewish music courses at Loyola Marymount University, American Jewish University, and UCLA.
 

 

 

 

Beth Cohen
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
beth.cohen@csun.edu

 

 

 

 

Michael Davidson
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
Michael.Davidson@lmu.edu

 

Prof. Davidson is a PhD candidate at Claremont Graduate University conducting research in the efficiency and effectiveness of the Development Community in reducing poverty through improved agricultural productivity.  He is also a consultant to Non-Governmental Organizations for climate smart agriculture and water resource management in the Middle East and West and Central Africa.  Prof. Davidson holds a BA in Political Science, and a Master's degree in Public Administration.  He is an American and Israeli citizen, having helped found a new Kibbutz where he lived and worked for twenty years.  He is also the 2013 recipient of the Pamela Mullin 'Dream and Believe' award.

 

 

 

 

Margarete Feinstein
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
mfeinstein@ucla.edu

 

Margarete Feinstein received her Ph.D. in History from UC Davis in 1993. She has served as an Assistant Professor of History at Susquehanna University and Indiana University South Bend, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University, a Visiting Scholar at UCLA, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College. Her published books include State Symbols: The Quest for Legitimacy in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, 1949–1959 (2002) and Holocaust Survivors in Postwar Germany, 1945–1957 (2010). Her most recent articles and book chapters include “Jewish Women Survivors in the Displaced Persons Camps of Postwar Germany: Transmitters of the Past, Caretakers of the Present, and Builders of the Future” in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies (2006), “Absent Fathers, Present Mothers: Images of Parenthood in Holocaust Survivor Narratives” in Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues (2007), and  “Jewish Observance in Amalek’s Shadow: Mourning, Marriage, and Birth Rituals among Displaced Persons in Germany” in We Are Here: New Approaches to Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (2010).
 

 

 

 

Elaine Goodfriend

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
elaine.goodfriend@csun.edu

 

Dr. Elaine Goodfriend is a lecturer at California State University, Northridge and teaches courses in History, Jewish Studies, and Religious Studies. She has a B.A. in Semitic Languages and Literatures from Cornell University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from U.C. Berkeley. She has taught at CSUN for the past sixteen years, and has taught at other local universities, including Loyala Marymount, the American Jewish University, and Claremont Graduate School. Her interests are the Hebrew Bible and Jewish History. Elaine’s most recent publication is the entry, “Ethical Theories in the Bible,” for The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality, edited by Elliot Dorff (publication forthcoming).

 

 

 

Michael Halperin

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
mhalperin@lmu.edu

 

Michael Halperin, Ph.D., teaches media and screenwriting in LMU’s School of Film and Television while continuing his writing career.   He was a Story Editor for Universal Television and Executive Story Consultant at 20th Century-Fox and wrote numerous episodes for long-running television series.   With Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Halperin edited the anthology “Judaism: Embracing  the Seeker”, KTAV Publishing, 2010.  "We Shall Survive", his screenplay about the Holocaust written under a grant from the NEH, has been optioned as feature film.  His produced plays are:  “Freedom, Texas” produced by the Celebrity Staged Reading Series in October 2009, published by JAC Publications. “Mela”, performed as a staged reading in Santa Monica, 2009 and in August 2004 in Jerusalem in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of  Yad Vashem.  “The Spark of Reason” (Dorothy Silver Playwriting Finalist) at the Promenade Playhouse, Santa Monica, 2008, published by JAC Publications. “Dancing With William Blake” was chosen in 2007 for inclusion in the Lawrence and Lee Archives of the Ohio State University Libraries by the Eileen Heckert Playwriting Competition .   “All Steps Necessary”, commissioned and produced by Inkwell Theater, premiered April 2006 in Los Angeles. His novels include the Young Adult book “Black Wheels”, chosen by the National Education Assn. for its prestigious African American Booklist 2005 through 2010 and the best-selling award-winning novel for children “Jacob’s Rescue: A Holocaust Story”, Random House. Non-fiction: “Writing Great Characters”, Lone Eagle; “Writing the Second Act”, MWP; and “Writing the Killer Treatment”, MWP.   He received his BA Degree in Communications from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications and a has a Ph.D. in Film Studies.  

 

 

 

Moshe Naor

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies

 

The Jewish Studies Program is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Moshe Naor as a faculty member for the 2013/14 academic year. Dr. Naor received his Ph.D. in History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His dissertation on the history of Zionism received awards from the Jewish National Fund and Haifa University's Forum for the History of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel. He has held several important fellowships including the Ray D. Wolfe Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto and a fellowship at the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. He has served as the Schusterman Visiting Professor at Tulane University and Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada.

 

 

 

Amy Shevitz

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies

 

Dr. Amy Shevitz teaches Modern Jewish History at Loyola Marymount University. In addition, she teaches American Jewish history and American Religion at California State University, Northridge.  She earned her undergraduate degree from Smith College and her Ph.D. in American history from the University of Oklahoma. 

Dr. Shevitz has written a book, Jewish Communities on the Ohio River, which was published by University Press of Kentucky in 2007.  Her current research interest is Jews in the American West, and she has started a project on the Jews of the San Fernando Valley in the post-World War II period.

In her spare time, she attends ballet classes and plays the violin in the Palisades Symphony.  Her husband and she live in Venice with their Moluccan cockatoo; their married daughter and two sons all live on the East Coast.

 

 

 

Monica Osborne

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
monicaosborne@gmail.com

 

Dr. Osborne is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Pepperdine University. Her work in Jewish literary and cultural studies takes an interdisciplinary approach, addressing issues including the ethics of representation, Midrash in a modern context, the Holocaust and other collective tragedies, and, most recently, humor in the context of the Holocaust and 9/11. Her work often draws from the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, and she is a co-founder of the North American Levinas Society and an active participant in the society's annual conferences. Dr. Osborne completed her doctoral work at Purdue University, where she was also on the editorial staff of the journal Modern Fiction Studies. She completed a dissertation called "The Midrashic Impulse: Reading Fiction, Film, and Painting in the Face of the Shoah," in which she suggests that the problems we encounter in trying to represent the Holocaust may derive precisely from the nature of our attempts: namely, that we have persistently tried to re-present events that we acknowledge to be ineffable and unknowable, and yet that conclusion has only led us to reinitiate the representational attempt. The dissertation highlights this failure as a way of marking a non-representational impulse to which all literature and other artistic endeavors composed in the wake of the Holocaust necessarily bear witness in a more or less self-conscious way. She names this impulse "midrashic" to reflect both what the ancient rabbis designated as a certain response to gaps in the scriptural text, and what a growing number of theorists in literary study, Jewish study, and philosophic study have designated as a significant interpretative mode. The midrashic impulse is a capacity of all literature to document or witness the violent origins from which it comes. Dr. Osborne is currently finalizing a book manuscript that draws from the dissertation: The Midrashic Impulse and the Literary Response to Trauma.

 

 

 

Saba Soomekh

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies
ssoomekh@lmu.edu

 

Saba Soomekh is a Theological Studies professor at Loyola Marymount University. She received her BA in Religious Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, her Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and her PhD in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She currently teaches courses on Judaism, World Religions, Women and Religion and the History of Modern Israel and Iran. Her book, "Between Religion and Culture: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women from the Shahs to Los Angeles," was recently published by SUNY Press.