Contact Us

Department Chair:
Prof. Ori Shachmon 

B.A. Advisor:
Dr. Hoseph Wiztum


M.A. Advisor:
Iyas Nasser

Department Secretary:
Sara Parnassa
Room 4507, Humanities Building
Tel.: 02-5883965




Ori Shachmon

Prof. Ori Shachmon

Department's Chair
Room 5325. Office Hours: By appointment

Received her PhD in Arabic dialectology from the Hebrew University in 2008, and was appointed to the faculty of the University in 2009

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. She teaches various courses in modern Arabic literature, in Palestinian Arabic and other spoken dialects, and in Arabic socio-linguistics.

Ori's dissertation was based on ten years of intensive field-work with Arabic speaking Jews who hail from the North Yemenite province, close to the Saudi border. At the same time, she worked as a team leader and main researcher of a large-scale project on Palestinian dialects, with the participation of two German universities and two Israeli ones. She has thus gained expertise in two different types of Arabic dialects: one is the spoken language of the Arabian Peninsula, where archaic linguistic features coexist side by side with innovative developments; the second is the Arabic which is spoken by the rural Palestinian population of central Israel (the areas around Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem), an area in which one can observe - perhaps better than anywhere else in the whole Arab world - the linguistic dichotomy between town and village.  

Currently, Ori stands at the head of two projects supported by the Israel Science Foundation: the first follows the gradual change of attitude towards writing in local Palestinian dialects; the second deals with the ties linking communal identity to language, focusing on Arabic speaking Christians in Israel. In addition, she has recently won a research award for the study of the spoken language of Jews who lived in the villages of Lower Yemen, a group of dialects which exhibits a host of unique features.

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Albert Arazi

Prof. Albert Arazi

Began his academic career at the University of Lyon (France), where he received his BA in Arabic and French language and literature.

Meir M. Bar-Asher

Prof. Meir M. Bar-Asher

Room 5306. Office Hours: Monday 13:00-14:00

Ph. D. (1991) in Islamic Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published on Imami Shi'i and Isma'ili doctrine and exegesis and on the Nusayri-Alawi religion

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. His studies include Scripture and Exegesis in Early Shi'ism  (Leiden and Jerusalem 1999) and (in collaboration with Aryeh Kofsky) The Nusayri-Alawi Religion: An Enquiry into its Theology and Doctrine, Leiden 2002.

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Haggai Ben-Shammai

Prof. Haggai Ben-Shammai

Professor Emeritus of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University. He has served as co-director of the Center for the Study of Judaeo-Arabic Culture and Literature

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(Ben-Zvi Institute, since 1995); President of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies (1997-2013); co-director of the Jewish Studies program at St. Petersburg State University (2000-2006); academic co-director of the Friedberg Genizah Project (since 2003); and Academic Director of the National Library of Israel (October 2009-September 2015). Prof. Ben-Shammai studied at the Hebrew University in the departments of Arabic Language and Literature, history of the Islamic countries and Semitic languages for the degrees of B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. (1962-1977). His interests include Judaeo-Arabic Bible exegesis and philosophy, history of Jewish communities in Islamic countries, with special emphasis on Karaites, and Islamic theology (Kalam). Prof. Ben-Shammai has published numerous articles and chapters in books on these areas and has co-edited several books.

Prof. Ben-Shammai served as visiting professor and research fellow in several universities in England and the U.S.A. (Cambridge, London, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Yeshiva U). He was involved in the founding and academic management of projects aimed at enhancing Jewish studies in Russia, and in organizations active in research and diffusion of Jewish studies, such as the Ben Zvi Institute for the study of Jewish Communities in the East, the Center for the Study of Judaeo-Arabic Culture and Literature and the Friedberg Geniza Project.

On a personal note: Prof. Ben-Shammai was born in Tel-Aviv in 1939, grew up in Jerusalem and has lived to this day in this city. He served in the army in a Nahal unit, and stayed on a Kibbutz for a few years afterwards. He is married to Bitya, who was for many years the editor and director of the RAMBI project. Haggai and Bitya have four married children, twenty grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Michael Ebstein

Dr. Michael Ebstein
Room 6419. Office Hours: By appointment

Received his PhD at the Hebrew University in 2012. In his research, he focuses on classical Islamic mysticism, with particular attention to medieval Andalusian mysticism

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as well as the links between the Shi'ite tradition and Sunni mysticism.

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Yohanan Friedmann

Prof. Yohanan Friedmann

Max Schloessinger Professor Emeritus. Since 1999, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Near Eastern Studies in 2016.

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In 2002 Friedmann was member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In 2003 he received the Landau Prize in the Humanities.  Prof. Friedmann continues to teach on a volunteer basis in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature and the Department of Near Eastern Studies.

Friedmann's studies center on Islamic religious thought, mainly in the Indian subcontinent. He assays the historical record for evidence of both tolerance and intolerance of other religious faiths in the Islamic tradition in his most recent work, "Tolerance and Coercion in Islam: Interfaith Relations in the Muslim Tradition". Since 1993, he has been the editor of the acclaimed Hebrew University publication Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam.

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Miriam Goldstein

Dr. Miriam Goldstein
Room 5312. Office Hours: By appointment

Holds a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard College (1999) and an MPhil, completed during the tenure of a Marshall Fellowship, from the University of Cambridge

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(2001). Dr. Goldstein completed her doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2006. In her research Dr. Goldstein strives to illuminate Judeo-Arabic literature, especially Bible exegesis, in its larger context and in a comparative light; and she also focuses on the interchanges, both positive and polemical, between the Jewish communities of the medieval Arabic-speaking world and their neighbors of other faiths. Her current research on Judeo-Arabic literature is funded by a four-year grant from the Israel Science Foundation and focuses on the reconstruction of several Rabbanite commentaries from Genizah fragments and the preparation of critical editions with closely annotated translations and introductions, as well as the creation of a website with "working editions" of certain important Judeo-Arabic Karaite texts that have until now been available only in manuscript collections. Goldstein is also working on her next book - an edition and study of the well-known medieval polemic Toledot Yeshu in its Judeo-Arabic versions.

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Isaac Hasson

Prof. Isaac Hasson

Professor emeritus at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Arabic Language and Literature. The principal focus of his scholarship has been on Jerusalem in Islam

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, the transition from Jahiliyya to Islam, and contemporary Sunni-Shia relations. His publications include: Fada’il al-Bayt al-Muqaddas of Abu Bakr al-Wasiti (1979); Le voyage de Sa’id ibn Muhammad al-Suwaysi au Yaman 1890-1895 (2008) (in collaboration with A. Arazi); “Muslim Literature in Praise of Jerusalem: Fada’il Bayt al-Maqdis,” The Jerusalem Cathedra, 1 (1981); “The Muslim View of Jerusalem—The Qur’an and Hadith” in J. Prawer and H. Ben-Shammai (eds.), The History of Jerusalem, The Early Muslim Period 638-1099, (1996); “Judham entre la Jahiliyya et l’Islam,” Studia Islamica (1995); “La conversion de Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan,” JSAI (1998; “Les Shiites vus par les Neo-Wahhabites,” Arabica (2006).

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Simon Hopkins

Prof. Simon Hopkins


Grew up in England and studied Semitic languages at the University of London. His doctorate dealt with the language of early Arabic papyri

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and was published as Studies in the Grammar of Early Arabic (1984). After several years of teaching Hebrew at the University of Cape Town, he moved to Israel, where he worked on the Historical Dictionary project at the Academy of the Hebrew Language before joining the Arabic Department of the Hebrew University in 1984.

Simon Hopkins is interested in Semitic philology as a whole, especially in the historical development of Arabic and Aramaic and the relations between them. In these areas he has published work on mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic (particularly Maimonides) and Neo-Aramaic dialects.

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Etan Kohlberg

Prof. Etan Kohlberg

Born in Tel-Aviv in 1943. After completing his military service he began his studies at the Hebrew University and was awarded the B.A. (1966) and M.A. degrees (1968)

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summa cum laude. From 1969 through 1971 he was at Oxford University, where he wrote his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Samuel Stern and Richard Walzer (1969-1971). In 1972 he began teaching at the Hebrew University, and was promoted to senior lecturer four years later. In 1983 he was appointed associate professor and has been a full professor since 1991. He served as Head of the Institute of Asian and African Studies (1987-1989).

Prof. Kohlberg has been awarded the Rothschild Prize (2008) and the EMET Prize (2008) for his unique contribution to the study of Islam and in particular its Shii branch.

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Michael Lecker

Prof. Michael Lecker
Office Hours: By appointment by email

Has taught at the Hebrew University in a variety of positions since 1978. His M.A. thesis (1978, supervised by J. Blau), "Jewish Settlements in Babylonia during the Talmudic Period"

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traced Talmudic place names that survived in the geographical literature. His Ph.D. thesis (1983, supervised by M.J. Kister), "On the Prophet Muhammad's Activity in Medina" studied the so-called Constitution of Medina and several other topics relating to Muhammad's Medinan period.

Michael Lecker studies early Islamic texts, with an emphasis on the life of the Prophet Muhammad. It is not clear exactly how Muhammad's classical biography came into being. What is certain is that it is a product of the first Islamic century. While reflecting several rival viewpoints, the many solid facts it includes help us establish the broad lines of Muhammad's life and time. Lecker also founded the Jerusalem Prosopography Project.

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Michal Levi

Dr. Michal Levi

Room 5326. Office Hours: Monday 14:00-15:00, by appointment by email

Completed her academic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  She has taught in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature since the year 2000.

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Her doctoral dissertation was supervised by Professor Sarah Stroumsa and Prof. Etan Kohlberg.  It focused on the question of man’s reward after death according to the commentator and theologian Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, who belonged to the Ash‘arite school of thought. Dr. Levi’s discussion also included the views of the rival school to the Ash‘ariyya, namely the Mu‛tazila, regarding this issue.

Her research interests include:  Quranic exegesis, kalām literature, and the linguistic and cultural aspects of the Arabic language - written and spoken.

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Aryeh Levin

Prof. Aryeh Levin

A recipient of the Israel Prize in General Linguistics (2010). Received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature

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. Over the years, Prof. Levin has held a number of senior positions at the university, including head of the department for Arabic Language and Literature, head of the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Chair of the Advanced Studies Committee of the Faculty of Humanities, and the Henya Sharef Professor Emeritus in Humanities. Professor Levin continues to teach on a volunteer basis in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature until the present day.

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Menahem Milson

Prof. Menahem Milson

Professor (emeritus) of Arabic Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he taught beginning in 1963. He has served as chair of the Middle East Media Research Institute

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(MEMRI). He is author and director of the online edition of the Arabic-Hebrew dictionary originally authored by David Ayalon and Pessah Shinar. Prof. Milson served as the head of the Institute of Asian and African Studies and as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University. Prof. Milson’s areas of research include Sufi literature, modern Egyptian literature and Arabic lexicography.
He holds a Ph.D. in Arabic literature from Harvard University (1964).

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