Research Groups

At any given time, three interdisciplinary research groups are hosted at Mandel Scholion, each focusing on a particular field within the Humanities or Jewish Studies. The groups are composed of senior faculty and doctoral students from the Hebrew University; scholars from outside the University are also frequently invited to participate. The groups strive to study their topics with as much breadth and depth as possible, on the basis of the variety of methodological viewpoints that each scholar brings. Such an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research is generally quite rare in the humanities.

Each group consists of eight members – four senior faculty and four doctoral students. Around each group there is also an additional circle of research assistants, students, and other junior scholars who take part in the group's activity.

At the beginning of each academic year, the Center announces the annual competition for three-year Research Groups. Mandel Scholion’s academic committee chooses the new group in its January meeting. Press here to see sample call for proposal for Research Groups (in Hebrew)

Around February each year, the Center publishes a call for applicants for the four positions of doctoral students who will join the group. Those four positions are open to doctoral students at the Hebrew University whose fields of research are close to that of the group. Press here to see sample call for applicants for PhD students (in Hebrew)


Past and Past Perfect

In Someone Else's Shoes

Setting Tables: Eating, Social Boundaries and Intercultural Transfers



The proposed research group aims at exploring the construction of socio-cultural boundaries through practices of eating and abstinence. Most studies in the humanities and social sciences tend to emphasize the subject-object relationships between people and the foodstuffs they procure and consume. These relationships span from individuals' food-consumption patterns, through collective symbolic meanings of various foods, to the ideologies that render these meanings commonsensical (kosher dietary restrictions, veganism, ethical consumption) and, finally, the political-economies that organize the production, diffusion and consumption of food. Despite the significance of such approaches, our group will focus on a less-researched topic - practices of eating from a comparative perspective.

 We, will address the dynamic and contested social realm of eating by analytically intersecting the physical as, well as the normative dimensions  
 of eating practices. The physical dimension emphasizes the ways in which shared meanings that constitute subjects, communities and social hierarchies are engendered in domestic, urban and political spaces, here eating takes place. Specifically, group members will address the material and non-material qualities of eating, such as spatial events, private/public boundaries in eating, intercultural contacts of eating rituals, and the production of socio-cultural boudaries inspace. The normative dimension examines how eating practices in diverse historical and cultural contexts are regulated so as to maintain social order, cohesion and group identity in dynamic social and cultural settings.

 Group members ,will tackle normative issues such as implicit and explicit forms of eating regulations, textual constructions of communal eating, eating as a means of 
defining the "other", and the role of voluntary abstinence in the shaping of religious outlooks. Members in the group have different research interests and perspectives: textual-historical (Furstenberg), material-archaeological (Weiss), literary-philological (Wasserman) and sociological­ anthropological (Kaplan).  Our individual projects, within our separate disciplines are expected to generate meaningful dialogue that will not only shed light on deficiencies in the research of eating practices within their social and cultural dimensions, but will hopefully lead to equally meaningful ways addressing these deficiencies. This unique amalgamation is meant to foster a much-needed interdisciplinary discussion in the emerging field of food studies. 



Future Research Groups

Past Research Groups

Materials for Change

Liturgy and Arts

liturgy and artsLiturgy is intrinsically interdisciplinary and comprises musical, dramatic, theatrical and devotional elements of great consequence to believers far and wide. It is both history and theology, purporting to reflect and propagate values that inform individuals and communities alike, playing a vital role in the construction of sacred and lay memory. As a multi-sensory experience, liturgy maintains a dynamic relationship with the surrounding space and its visual components, including art, artifacts and architecture.

The group, comprising four medieval historians, among them a musicologist, two art historians, and during the first year, a specialist on medieval performance - seeks to engage in a comparative and interdisciplinary discourse, in order to contextualize the liturgical practice within the production of medieval cultural memory, and within the symbolic traditions expressed through liturgy and the arts. Our sources include texts, rituals, music, theater and visual media from Western Europe (Christian and Jewish) and the Latin Levant.


Group Members:

Prof. Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Prof. Iris Shagrir

Dr. Yossi Maurey

Prof. Galit Noga-Banai

Netta Amir

Noam Yadin Evron

Uri Jacob 

Avia Shemesh