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Research

 

Research

My research interests focus on the intersection of religion and violence in America and Israel, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s.

 
 
 Jewish Defense League advertisement in  the New York Times

Jewish Defense League advertisement in the New York Times

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Dartmouth college undergraduate honors thesis

"We Are Speaking of Jewish Survival": The Emergence of the Jewish Defense League

2016-2017

The goal of my thesis is to understand why the Jewish Defense League (JDL) emerged in 1968 as a Jewish militant group in Brooklyn, New York. This thesis contributes to the existing scholarship on Jewish extremism by examining the factors that combined to pave the way for the formation and success of the JDL from 1968 to 1972. 

I point to four factors that led to the emergence of the JDL: an individual named Rabbi Meir Kahane, a local conflict between Blacks and Jews in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis of 1968, narratives of Jewish weakness and strength, and the fight to allow freedom of immigration for Soviet Jewry. Above all, the JDL believed that America in 1968 was a time of crisis for American Jews and they saw their group as filling a dire need in the American Jewish community: going at any length necessary to fight for Jewish survival.

Awards

  • High Honors in the History major

  • Peter J. Reichard 1966 Memorial Research Award 2017 - Best history Thesis

  • Charles T. Wood History Prize 2017 - Best history thesis dealing with a topic of inter-regional or comparative history.

  • Gary Plotnick ’62 Memorial Prize 2017 - Best essay or research paper, Jewish Studies

  • 2017 Undergraduate Thesis Library Research Award - demonstrates exemplary use of the library's resources

  • Religion Department Faculty Award 2017 - outstanding work in the religion department

  • Rockefeller Senior Honors Thesis Grant 2016 - awarded to do research


dartmouth vietnam project

2015-2016

I trained in oral history to conduct oral history interviews with members of the Dartmouth community who served in the Vietnam War or who were active in the anti-war movement on campus.

As the culmination of my year-long involvement in the Dartmouth Vietnam Project, I wrote a paper, Questioning Responsibility in the Vietnam War Era. I recognize that extrapolating individual stories into a wider view of organized religion and faith during the Vietnam War era is not without problems, but I contextualized the stories of the men I spoke to in order to explore how American values and good citizenship were understood in the late 1960s, and the greater struggle for the “soul” of America.

See more about the project:  https://www.dartmouth.edu/~dvp/

Listen to my interviews here

 Anti-war protest outside Dartmouth Hall, April 14, 1966

Anti-war protest outside Dartmouth Hall, April 14, 1966


 Dartmouth College Class of 2017

Dartmouth College Class of 2017

other major dartmouth coursework

History Seminar, Ritual and Violence in Crusader Jerusalem (Spring 2016) - term paper "The Zionist Crusader Analogy" focused on comparisons between the modern state of Israel to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The First Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem spans from the Crusaders conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 until Saladin’s defeat of the Crusaders in 1187. Israel’s borders have shifted dramatically since independence in 1948, but have remained roughly stable since since the Six-Day War in June 1967. Until this war, the West Bank was occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt. Palestinians currently claim the areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the state of Palestine, and these areas were not under Israeli control before the Six-Day War. Therefore, Palestinian analogies between Israel and the Crusaders do not truly emerge until the Israeli occupation following 1967. The paper is structured in two sections: one, the Zionist-Crusader analogy from the Palestinian perspective and two, the Israeli refutation of this analogy. Both sections draw on a sampling of Israeli and Palestinian politicians, historians, essayists and novelists to get a full picture of each side’s surrounding the Zionist-Crusader analogy.

Religion Seminar, Women and the Bible (Fall 2017) - on the legacy of Queen Esther, A Power(less/ful) Esther.  Queen Esther, the titular character of the Book of Esther, is one of the most powerful and heroic women in the Hebrew Bible. Historically, painters choose to portray Esther as fragile, sexual, or heroic. I analyzed the various ways in which painters, through the medium of oil on canvas, undercut or emphasize Esther’s power.

History Study Abroad (Fall 2015) - independent research paper, Jewish Nation, State or Homeland?: Britain, Menachem Begin, and the Struggle to Define Israel. I used archival material from all over London to focus on the struggle to define Israel through the lens of the relationship between Menachem Begin and Britain. As Begin would write in his memoirs, “The idea was very appealing. Britain would promise the Jews a Home – in Palestine. Not Palestine as a Home, but a Home in Palestine. Britain would have Palestine, and the Jews would have a Home in it.” By design, distinctions between nation, state and homeland were opaque.

James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar (2015-2016) - research assistant to Professor Paul P. Musselwhite. Constructed a database of colonial Virginia land sales as a research tool for Professor Musselwhite.

Academic Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa, top tenth of class

  • Magna Cum Laude, top 15% of graduating class

  • Rufus Choate Scholar, for the academic years of 2015-2017. This honor is given to students in the top 5% of their class

  • Albert I. Dickerson Writing Prize 2014 - awarded annually to a student who writes an outstanding expository essay in a first-year writing class