The University hired an assistant director and a program coordinator for the new $15 million Schusterman Israel Studies Center, Prof. Ilan Troen (NEJS), the Center's director, said Monday.
Stephanie Gerber Wilson Ph.D '07, the new assistant director, said she'll help plan conferences and lectures as well as collaborate with faculty, students and other centers on campus like the Office of Global Affairs and the Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.
"I think that the Schusterman Center can really be a hub center of the Israel studies community on campus and in the broader Israel studies community," she said.
Wilson, a 35-year-old native of Southern California, received her Ph.D. in NEJS with a specialty in Israel studies. Troen, her advisor, said she's the first Ph.D. recipient he's ever mentored. Wilson worked for the Ethics Center between January 2001 and last May, helping manage Brandeis' partnership with Al-Quds University, a Palestinian institution in East Jerusalem.
"The hope is that there will be many more like her," Troen said.
"I think [Israel studies is] a field that's just starting and growing, and I think there's a lot of opportunity to build it up," Wilson said.
Rachel Litcofsky, the new program coordinator, most recently served as assistant director of public affairs at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, the Reform movement's seminary. Litcofsky, who started her position last week, declined to comment and deferred questions to Troen. "She has a lot of interest in Israel studies and that's one of the reasons she's come to work for us," Wilson said.
Troen said Litcofsky lived in Israel for a year and will help create and manage programs, seminars and scholarships.
She is married to Rabbi Greg Litcofsky, the spiritual leader of Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, Mass.
"They're both people of experience and knowledge of the subject matter and [have] wonderful common sense," Troen said of his new hires.
Still, Troen acknowledged that making the new Center successful will be challenging.
"It's going to be a lot of work," he said.