Faculty & Staff
Director and Associate Professor of Jewish Civilization
Ph.D, 1999, Sociology, The New School for Social Research
Ph.D, 1991, Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, New York University
Jacques Berlinerblau holds separate doctorates in ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, and in Sociology. He is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from the composition of the Hebrew Bible, to the sociology of heresy, to modern Jewish intellectuals, to African-American and Jewish-American relations. His articles on these and other subjects have appeared in Biblica, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Semeia, Biblical Interpretation, Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages, Hebrew Studies, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and History of Religions.
He has published four books, including Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibility of American Intellectuals (Rutgers University Press) and The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously (Cambridge University Press). His most recent book, Thumpin' It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today's Presidential Politics, was released in January 2008 (Westminster John Knox).
Melissa Weinberg Spence
B.A, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Michigan State University
M.A, Arts Administration, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
International Executive MBA, Georgetown University
Melissa began her work as the Assistant Director for the Program for Jewish Civilization in 2004. Previously, she served as director of the Holocaust Awareness Institute at the University of Denver’s Center for Judaic Studies. For three years, Melissa managed programs for the Institute, developed and coordinated teacher training programs for secondary teachers, and was responsible for the organization’s financial success. She developed two programs that became models for other Holocaust organizations, namely training for children of Holocaust survivors to learn to speak about their own and their parents’ experiences, and the expansion of the Holocaust Study Trunk program to include Spanish language materials for non-native English speakers. Melissa has also held several other positions, including Educator and Curatorial Assistant/Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator at the Mizel Museum of Judaica, and Community Development Director at Jefferson County Build A Generation, a grass-roots, youth violence prevention program. While attending graduate school she assisted in the creation of a docent training program for teens at Sculpture Chicago, and upon graduation, developed a pilot program for the City of Chicago’s nationally recognized Gallery 37. Her experiences as an intern with the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) became the foundation for her thesis on arts integrated curricula.
She has participated in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Conference for Educators, completed the 2002/2003 Community Resource Center’s Colorado Leadership and Nonprofit Management Program, and is a former member of the National Advisory Committee of the American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center.
Rev. Dennis McManus
Visiting Assistant Professor
Fr. Dennis McManus has taught at Georgetown University since 1997. He holds a master's degree in historical ethics from Georgetown University and a doctorate from Drew University in historical theology. At present, he is on the faculty of the Program for Jewish Civilization in the School of Foreign Service, where he offers courses in the history of Christian-Jewish conflict, autobiography in the Holocaust, and the theory and practice of interreligious dialogue.
Fr. McManus has served for the last four years as Consultant for Jewish Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), where he staffs the two official dialogues between the Jewish community and the Catholic Church in the United States. He also belongs to the Church Relations Committee of the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum and from 1999-2008 was a member of the editorial board of The Stimulus Foundation of New York that publishes works devoted to Catholic-Jewish history and relations. From 2009- 2011, he was the personal delegate of the Archbishop of New York to the Jewish community of New York City. Since 1997, Fr. McManus has membered on the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League/USCCB joint program in Holocaust education known as Bearing Witness, offered nationally in Catholic dioceses. He is also director of the newly founded Jan Karski Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Georgetown University, which sponsors a week-long, intensive program in Holocaust education for high school teachers from across the U.S. Additionally, he teaches annually in the Holocaust Education workshop at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.
Fr. McManus' research interests lie in two fields: first, the relationship of Jews with early Christians and second, the meaning of Judaism in Roman Catholic liturgy. As general editor of The Ancient Christian Writers Series (Paulist Press, New York) from 1993-2007, and Drew University's translation editor from 1995-1997 for its new series, Ancient Christian Commentary (IVPress, Downers Grove), he helped to highlight the interaction of Christianity and Judaism in early Church writing. Fr. McManus has written numerous articles on this and other historical topics in The Word Set Free (ADL, 2000); The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian-Jewish Relations (2002) and "The Jewish Background of the Celibacy of Jesus" in The Celibacy of Jesus (Ignatius Press, 2012). A forthcoming work, "Benedict XVI, the Jews and the Liturgy," will be published in the spring of 2013.
Sarah M. Fainberg
Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Civilization
Ph. D, 2008, Political Science, Sciences Po, Paris
Professor Fainberg is a sociologist and historian specializing in both Soviet Studies and Eastern European Jewish history, with a particular focus on how State politics shapes ethnic identities. Her dissertation (Sciences Po, 2008), now being prepared for publication, traces how Soviet Jews reconstructed their ethnic personae, social networks and conceptions of Jewish heritage under the Soviet nationalities policy in the post-war period. She brings to her work a special interest in the shaping of collective identities, the mechanisms of social discrimination and the dynamics of collective memory. Her latest project moves her into the post-Soviet space, and explores the promotion of new national narratives and remembrance patterns among ethnic minority groups in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Professor Fainberg received her academic training in Paris, first at the École Normale Supérieure in Philosophy and later at Sciences Po in Political Science, where she received her Ph.D. in 2008. She has taught Political Sociology and History at the State University of St. Petersburg, Russia (2002– 2003) and at Columbia University (2005–2007) where she was a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies.
At Georgetown Professor Fainberg will teach the course “Gateway to Jewish Civilization,” an introduction to Jewish history and culture from antiquity to the present. Her other courses will include both lecture courses and advanced seminars on Eastern European Jewish history, the French Nation-State and its minorities, and political dissent in the former Soviet Union.
Executive Committee Chair
Robert Lieber is a Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University, where he has previously served as Chair of the Government Department and Interim Chair of Psychology. He is an authority on American foreign policy and U.S. relations with the Middle East and Europe. He was born and raised in Chicago, received his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin and his Ph.D. at Harvard. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has also taught at Harvard, Oxford and the University of California, Davis, and has been Visiting Fellow at the Atlantic Institute in Paris, the Brookings Institution in Washington, and Fudan University in Shanghai.
Dr. Lieber’s latest book, The American Era: Power and Strategy for the 21st Century, has been published by Cambridge University Press (2005, and in an expanded paperback edition 2007.) As one reviewer has described it, “This may be the best book on American foreign policy written since September 11.” In addition, Lieber is author or editor of thirteen other books on international relations and U.S. foreign policy.
Professor Lieber has lectured widely in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the policy realm, he has been a foreign policy advisor in several presidential campaigns and consultant to the State Department and for National Intelligence Estimates. His articles and opeds have appeared in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers, including International Security, Foreign Policy, American Political Science Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The National Interest, Commentary, Internationale Politik (Berlin), Politique Etrangere (Paris), International Affairs (London), Harper’s, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), and Asharq Al-Awsat (London), among others, and his media appearances have included The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS TV, ABC TV's Good Morning America and Nightline, NBC and CBS network news, the O'Reilly Factor on Fox TV, Voice of America, BBC World Service, and other radio and TV programs in Europe, the Arab world and Israel. Among his assorted credits is a walk-on part in the Alfred Hitchcock film classic, North by Northwest.
Professor Yossi Shain is the Romulo Betancourt Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University where he is also the Head of the Aba Eban Program of Diplomacy, and Co-Chair of the MA Program in Political Leadership. At Georgetown University, he is a professor of Comparative Government and Diaspora Politics and the founding Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization. In 2007, he served pro-bono as President of the Western Galilee College.
Prof. Shain earned his B.A. (Philosophy) and M.A. (Political Science) degrees from Tel Aviv University (cum laude) and his Ph.D. (Political Science with distinction) from Yale University in 1988. Since 1989, he has taught Political Science at Tel Aviv University, where he served as Department Head from 1996 to 1999 and the Head of the Hartog School of Government from 2003 to 2007. From 2004 to 2008 he co-directed (with Peter Berkowitz) the Israel Program on Constitutional Government. He held many visiting appointments, including at Yale University, Wesleyan University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Middlebury College. He was also a visiting senior fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, and senior visiting fellow at the Center for International Studies at Princeton University. He was recently invited to hold the Koret visiting professorship at the Hoover Institute and in the Spring of 2010 will be a visiting professor at the Science Po, Paris. Prior to his appointment as full professor at Georgetown University in 2002, Prof. Shain was the Aaron and Cecile Goldman visiting professor in the Department of Government from 1999 to 2002.
Outside the academy Prof. Shain has been involved in many projects and served on national and international committees related to security, international politics, the Jewish world, Diaspora, and migration policies. He also worked with various NGOs and governmental agencies (in Israel, the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, Armenia, and other countries). Shain also served three years as President of the Israeli Local Government Conference. Prof. Shain has won many scholarly awards, including the American Political Science Association Helen Dwight Reed Award for his work on exile politics, the International Fulbright Award, Israel’s Allong Fellowship for distinguished young scholars, and fellowshiphs from the French and German governments for his work on nationalism, ethnicity, and Diaspora politics.
He is the author of The Frontier of Loyalty: Political Exiles in the Age of the Nation-State (1989; new edition Michigan University Press, 2005; Hebrew edition, 2006); Between States: Interim Governments and Democratic Transitions (with Juan J. Linz, Cambridge University Press, 1995), and Marketing the American Creed Abroad: Diasporas in the U.S. and Their Homelands (Cambridge University Press, 1999), which was awarded the 2000 Best Book of the Year Prize by the Israeli Political Science Association. His latest book is Kinship and Diasporas in International Affairs (Michigan University Press, 2007). Professor Shain also edited Governments-in-Exile in Contemporary World Politics (Routledge, 1991), and co-edited Democracy: The Challenges Ahead (with Aharon Kleiman, St. Martin’s, 1997) and Collective Memory in International Affairs (with Eric Langenbacher, Georgetown University Press, 2009).
Professor Shain is presently finishing a book provisionally entitled Moral Hazards: The Language of Corruption and Its Costs in Democracies (to be published simultaneously in Hebrew and English). In addition to his books, Professor Shain has published more than fifty academic articles in edited books and leading academic journals. He also contributed non-academic essays to newspapers and magazines – in Israel and the US – and provides commentaries on television and radio. He has been a regular guest on all major Israeli TV and radio channels, and has appeared on NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, PBS, Al-Jazeera International, and The News Hour.
Ori Z. Soltes is Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University, and former Director and Curator of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, where he curated over 80 exhibitions. He has taught and lectured in 23 other universities and museums throughout the country, on subjects ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict to The Body in Ancient Art. Both before and since his years as a museum Director, he has guest-curated exhibitions across the United States and overseas.
Professor Soltes was educated in Classics and Philosophy at Haverford College, in Classics at Princeton University and The Johns Hopkins University and in Interdisciplinary Studies at Union University. He is the author of over 150 articles, exhibition catalogues, essays and books on a wide range of topics, and the writer and narrator of over 30 documentary videos. His most recent books are Our Sacred Signs: How Christian, Jewish and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source, (Westview Press, 2005), The Ashen Rainbow: Essays on the Arts and the Holocaust, (Bartleby Press, 2006), Searching for Oneness: Mysticism in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Traditions (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008), Untangling the Tangled Web: Why the Middle East is a Mess (Bartleby Press, 2009).