Dr. Holli Levitsky
Director, Jewish Studies Program
Professor, English
Phone: 310-338-7664
Holli Levitsky is the founder and Director of the Jewish Studies Program and Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her research, scholarship and teaching focuses on Jewish American and Holocaust literatures. She is the author of Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust and the Literary Imagination, The Literature of Exile and Displacement: American Identity in a Time of Crisis,  and numerous articles, book chapters and reviews. Since holding the 2001-2002 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Literature in Poland, Dr. Levitsky  has participated in symposia, conferences, and study trips to Germany and to Poland to advance German-Jewish and Polish-Jewish understanding. She regularly leads workshops for secondary and college teachers in California and in Poland on teaching the Holocaust.         


Affiliated Faculty


Dr. Elizabeth Drummond
Associate Professor of History
Affiliated faculty: European Studies, Jewish Studies, and Women's Studies

Elizabeth Drummond earned her Ph.D. at Georgetown University, with a specialty in modern Central European history. She has published a number of articles on the German-Polish national conflict in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including on the role of women in nationalist mobilization and the gendering of nationalism, on the position of Jews in the German-Polish national conflict, on the imagery and symbols employed by German and Polish nationalists in the construction of nationalist identities, on migration in and out of Poznania, and on the problem of PoznaƄ/Posen as a transnational city. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled "Each To His Own": National Identity and Nationalist Mobilization in the German-Polish Borderland of Poznania, 1886-1914, a comparative study of the construction of national identity at the grassroots level and the mobilization of national sympathies in a binational borderland. Professor Drummond's courses include a First-Year Seminar on bystanders during the Holocaust, lower-division courses in world history and modern European history, and upper-division courses in modern European history, modern German history, modern Polish history, European gender history, European imperialism, and European popular culture. 





Dr. Véronique Flambard-Weisbart
Professor, French, Modern Languages and Literatures


Véronique Flambard-Weisbart earned her Ph.D. in 1990 from University of California, Los Angeles, with a specialty in 20th century French Literature.  Before beginning her appointment at LMU in 1992, she taught French language, literature and culture at California Institute of Technology, and at University of Southern California.  Since the mid-1990s, a large portion of her research and scholarship has focused on the works of controversial French author Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961), both praised for his innovative and emulating emotive writing style, while simultaneously condemned for his notorious antisemitic pamphlets from 1937 to 1941. Beyond leading seminars in French on Céline and contemporary French authors and film directors around such themes as "Resistance and Collaboration", "Poetics and Ethics of War in French Fiction", "French Identity and Futurity in the Global Village", she also teaches a first-year seminar, "Identity Crisis in Contemporary France", in which she explores France’s identity crisis in light of recent debates on twentieth-century French History and national identity.  The troubled legacies of key events in modern French history, such as the Great War and its destructive effects on postwar French society, Vichy and French participation in the Holocaust, the Algerian War and decolonization, and the crimes of Communism worldwide, are all examined through the debates and controversies they have generated in France since the 1990s.  She also engages with the larger community: for example, in November 2015, she was invited by the Alliance Française de Los Angeles & the Services Culturels du Consulat Général de France à Los Angeles to co-lecture on and perform publically with Annie Dutoit "The Monster of Montmartre: Louis-Ferdinand Céline's War Chronicles",  and by the Sunday Jewish Book and Discussion Group at the LMU William H. Hannon Library, to facilitate a discussion of the bestselling novel The Paris Architect  (2013) by Charles Belfoure.





Arthur Gross-Schaefer
Professor, College of Business Administration


Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer is also a lawyer and a CPA. In addition to his duties at LMU as the new interim campus rabbi, he is a full professor of business law and ethics and has been at LMU the last thirty-seven years. Professor Gross-Schaefer was recently named as one of the top 300 undergraduate professors in the United States by the Princeton Review. He was the founding Rabbi for LMU Hillel. He has also served as the Hillel Rabbi for USC and UCSB as well as Rabbi for a variety of congregations and for the past eighteen years continues to be the Rabbi for the Community Shul of Montecito and Santa Barbara. He publishes and speaks on a diverse number of topics on law, ethics, academic freedom and conflict resolution. In addition, he is the co-founder and president of the Avi Schaefer Fund that was created to honor the memory of his son and aims at creating more nuanced and civil dialogue surrounding the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. His wife, Laurie Gross, is an internationally known artist and liturgical consultant. He views his sons as his university.



Dr. Amir Hussain
Professor, Theological Studies and Jewish Studies

Dr. Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies and teaches courses on world religions. His own particular speciality is the study of Islam, focusing on contemporary Muslim societies in North America. His academic degrees (BSc, MA, PhD) are all from the University of Toronto where he received a number of awards, including the university’s highest award for alumni service. For 2011 to 2015, Amir is the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the premier scholarly journal for the study of religion. In 2008, he was appointed a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities.

 Prior to his appointment at LMU, Amir taught at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) from 1997 to 2005. He is the co-editor for the fourth editions of World Religions: Western Traditions, and World Religions: Eastern Traditions, textbooks published in 2014 by Oxford University Press. He is also the co-editor for the third edition of A Concise Introduction to World Religions, published by OUP in 2015. Prior to those books, he wrote an introduction to Islam for North Americans entitled Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God (Kelowna: Copper House, 2006). He has published over 50 book chapters and scholarly articles about religion.



Dr. Gil Klein
Assistant Professor, Theological Studies

Gil Klein is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theological Studies. He has an undergraduate degree from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He has been awarded post-doctoral fellowships in the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, as well as in the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. Examining the urban setting of rabbinic Judaism in Late Antique Palestine as part of his doctoral and post-doctoral research has led him to the broader study of the rabbis' spatial culture. His recent work includes "Torah in Triclinia: The Rabbinic Banquet and the Significance of Architecture”, JQR Vol. 102, No. 3 (2012) 325-370. He is currently completing a book manuscript on rabbinic spatial politics in the late antique city.      



Dr. Jeff Siker
Professor, Theological Studies

Jeffrey S. Siker (BA, MA Indiana; MDiv Yale; PhD Princeton) is Professor of Theological Studies with expertise in formative Christianity and Judaism.  He teaches courses in New Testament studies, the history of biblical interpretation, the Bible and ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His books include Disinheriting the Jews: Abraham in Early Christian Controversy (Westminster John Knox, 1991),Scripture and Ethics: Twentieth-Century Portraits (Oxford, 1996), Homosexuality and Religion: An Encyclopedia (ed., Greenwood, 2007), and Jesus, Sin, and Perfection in Early Christianity (Cambridge, 2015).  He is currently completing a book on Liquid Scriptures: The Bible in a Digital World (forthcoming, Fortress). 



Dr. Brian Treanor
Professor, Philosophy

Dr. Treanor is currently the Director of the Academy of Catholic Thought and Imagination, Professor of Philosophy, Daum Professor of the Liberal Arts, and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University, where he has been teaching and researching since 2003. He received his Ph.D. from Boston College where he studied with Richard Kearney and Jacques Taminiaux.  His dissertation focused on various ways of conceiving divine and human otherness, drawing on Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish philosophers.  Dr. Treanor’s work takes its cue from the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics, but remains consciously interdisciplinary by engaging theology, literature, poetry, psychology, ecology, and other disciplines. He is the author or editor of six books; among his recent work are Emplotting Virtue (SUNY 2014), Interpreting Nature (co-editor, Fordham 2013), and Carnal Hermeneutics (Fordham 2015). Notably, Dr. Treanor is also  well known for excellence in the classroom; he received several teaching awards—including the President’s Fritz B. Burns Teaching Award. He consistently demonstrates a deep commitment to his students and their learning, exemplifying LMU’s vision of the teacher-scholar.



Dr. Kevin Wetmore
Professor, Theatre Arts

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.

He is the author of Athenian Sun in an African Sky: Modern African Adaptation of Classical Greek Tragedy (McFarland, 2001), Black Dionysus: Greek Tragedy and African American Theatre (McFarland, 2003), The Empire Triumphant: Race, Religion, and Rebellion in the Star Wars Films (McFarland, 2005), Shakespeare and Youth Culture (Palgrave 2006), Back from the Dead: Reading Remakes of Romero’s Zombie Films as Markers of Their Times (McFarland 2011), Post-9/11 Horror in American Cinema (Continuum, 2012), The Theology of Battlestar Galactica (McFarland 2012), and Modern Asian Theatre and Performance 1900 – 2000 (with Siyuan Liu and Erin B. Mee, Methuen/Bloomsbury, 2014) as well as the editor or co-editor of eleven more volumes, including Modern Japanese Theatre and Performance (Lexington, 2006), Suzan-Lori Parks: A Casebook (Routledge 2007) Revenge: East and West (Palgrave, 2008), Portrayals of Americans on the World Stage (McFarland, 2009), Catholic Theatre and Drama (McFarland 2010), Black Medea: Adaptations for Modern Plays (Cambria, 2013), and the Methuen Drama Anthology of Modern Asian Plays (with Siyuan Liu, Methuen, 2014), among others. He is also the author of numerous articles on theatre, cinema, Japanese culture, popular culture, horror, and performance.











Neal Brostoff
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies


Neal Brostoff has taught courses in Jewish and Israeli music history and Jewish music performance in UCLA’s Ethonomusicology and Musicology Depts. since 2011. Mr. Brostoff is also the Music Programs Coordinator for the Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music at UCLA. He has taught Jewish music courses at Loyola Marymount University and at American Jewish University. In his professional career, Mr. Brostoff has produced Jewish music concerts and festivals and has lectured on Jewish music topics. He has also served as Cultural Affairs Director for the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles and as Music Specialist at the Skirball Cultural Center. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Mount St. Mary’s College and California State University at Fullerton.






Beth Cohen
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies






Michael Davidson
Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies


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


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


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 and LMU, as well as other local universities. Her interests are the Hebrew Bible and Jewish History. Elaine’s most recent publication is “Food in the Hebrew Bible” for a volume on Jewish food traditions, and an article on Biblical Law, titled "Leviticus 22:24: A Prohibition of Gelding for the Land of Israel?” Elaine has also written the entry “Ethical Theory in the Bible,” for The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality, edited by Elliot Dorff (2012).






Michael Halperin

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies


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.






Stella Setka

Director, National & International Scholarships Office, and Lecturer, Honors

Stella Setka holds a Ph.D. in English from Purdue University. Dr. Setka has taught classes on reading the Torah as literature, Jewish American literature, and Holocaust literature, and she is currently designing a course for undergraduates that examines Jewish American Holocaust fiction in the context of cultural trauma narratives from other American ethnic groups. Her scholarship on ethnic American literature and women’s studies has been published in journals such as MELUS, Mosaic, American Periodicals, and Jewish Film & New Media, and she is currently working on a monograph that examines the role of the supernatural in cultural trauma narratives by black, Jewish, and Native American authors. Dr. Setka is the Director of the National & International Scholarships Office at Loyola Marymount University and also teaches in the Honors Program.






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



Dr. Monica Osborne is the Visiting Assistant Professor of 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 is finishing a book manuscript entitled “The Midrashic Impulse and the Contemporary Literary Response to Trauma.” Dr. Osborne is also a graduate of the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory (2007), and has written for Tikkun, The New Republic, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Religion and Literature, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Shofar, Modern Fiction Studies, MELUS, The Jewish Daily Forward, and as well as various edited collections. She recently published a book with Dr. Holli Levitsky and Dr. Stella Setka, entitled Literature of Exile and Displacement: American Identity in a time of Crisis. Dr. Osborne was previously an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she worked with Dr. Eric Sundquist and taught classes in Jewish and American fiction, post-WWII German film, and the Holocaust. She has also taught at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.






Saba Soomekh

Part-time faculty, Jewish Studies 


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.