Dr. Alexander Kaye, Leon Charney Book Award in Israel Studies Recipient

Dr. Alexander Kaye

The inaugural recipient of the YU Center for Israel Studies’ (CIS) Leon Charney Book Award in Israel Studies is Dr. Alexander Kaye, the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Assistant Professor of Israel Studies in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University for The Invention of Jewish Theocracy: The Struggle for Legal Authority in Modern Israel.

The award ceremony will take place on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. via Zoom, with comments by Dr. Selma Botman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Jess Olson, associate professor of Jewish history, and including Dr. Kaye, Dr. Joshua Karlip (Herbert S. and Naomi Denenberg Associate Professor of Jewish History and associate director of the Center for Israel Studies), Dr. Alyssa Quint (Charney Fellow at CIS) and Rabbi Yosef Blau, senior mashgiach ruchani at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

In the book Dr. Kaye, with methodological sophistication and historical empathy, traces the rise of the belief that Jewish law should be the law of the new State of Israel. Rabbi Isaac Herzog, first chief rabbi of the State of Israel and a leader of Religious Zionism, occupies a central role in this study.

CIS will also honor Dr. Anat Helman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for her recent book, Deganyah Pinat Holivud: Tarbut Tserikhah U’fnai B’reshit Ha-Medinah [Consumer Culture and Leisure in the Young State of Israel).

“The Charney book award honors important scholarship that reflects the complexity of modern Israel,” said Dr. Steven Fine, Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History and CIS director. “I am excited to honor the very different books by Alex Kaye and Anat Helman, two of the very best works to appear in recent years.”

Dr. Karlip noted that “due both to its deep historical engagement with rabbinic texts, its sophistication, and the continued significance of Rabbi Herzog’s legacy within the living memory of contemporary Jewry, including Yeshiva University, we believe that Dr. Kaye’s book is most deserving of the Leon Charney Book Award. We are also delighted to honor Dr. Helman’s book because of its effortless flowing between theory and fact and its use of a diverse array of primary sources.”

The Leon Charney Book Award in Israel Studies is made possible by the Leon Charney Legacy Fund of the YU Center for Israel Studies.

To receive the Zoom link for the event, you will need to register online. The link will be sent in your confirmation email.