Areas of Specialization: Judaic Studies, Religion and Culture
My main area of interest is Jewish Cultural Studies, with a special emphasis on the contemporary period and all aspects of present-day Jewish life and thought. My ongoing current research concerns Holocaust memory and representation: I’ve published one book on this topic, Committed to Memory: Cultural Mediations of the Holocaust (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003), which addresses the roles the contemporary media and modes of cultural mediation play in shaping consciousness of the legacy of the Holocaust, especially in the form of its institutionalized memory. I am currently working on a second book in this area of research, Holocaust Symbols: The Icons of Memory, which deals with the historical and memorial contexts of several fundamental images associated with the Holocaust. For this project I was on leave from January through August 2004 as a Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Other ongoing research interests include Hasidism and South African Judaism, the latter growing out of my experiences living and teaching in Cape Town for three years from 1996-98. I also have an interest in Religion and Violence, and in 2006 I published a co-edited collection of essays on Religion, Violence, Memory, and Place (Indiana University Press). I have written articles for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Prooftexts, Jewish Social Studies, and Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and chapters in a number of edited collections. While I am responsible for teaching classes in all areas of Judaic Studies from the rabbinic period onwards, my current teaching leans toward the modern period: current and planned courses include The Holocaust, Holocaust Memorials, Jewish Mysticism, Modern Jewish Thought, Jews, Sex, and Gender, and, more generally, courses such as Violence and the Sacred and Religion and Literature. I have taught in the greater Miami community as well, with lectures and adult education courses at local synagogues and at the Miami Art Museum. I also serve as Graduate Program Director in the department of Religious Studies, and I am Director of the Judaic Studies Program at FIU, which sponsors an annual lecture series, as well as other activities and an undergraduate certificate.