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About Me

I am President of the Herzl Institute, a research and educational hub established in Jerusalem in 2013. I’m also Director of the John Templeton Foundation‘s project in Jewish Philosophical Theology, and a member of the Israel Council for Higher Education’s commission reviewing the General Studies and Liberal Arts programs in all of Israel’s universities and colleges.

I research and write in the fields of philosophy and theology, political theory and intellectual history. My next book is The Virtue of Nationalism (Basic Books, 2018). Previous books include The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which was awarded the second place PROSE award for the best book in the category of Theology and Religion by the Association of American Publishers; God and Politics in Esther (Cambridge University Press, 2016); and The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul (Basic Books, 2000).

In addition, my work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, NPR, Commentary, and The New Republic, among others. I also write a series of occasional essays on philosophy, Judaism, Israel, politics and higher education called Jerusalem Letters. I received the American Jewish Press Association’s Simon Rockower Prize in the category of Art Criticism for my essay on the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man (“Hollywood’s Jewish Moment,” March 2010). In April 2016, I appeared with actor Morgan Freeman in his hit National Geographic miniseries “The Story of God.”

Previously, I founded and headed the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute that conducted nearly two decades of pioneering work in the fields of philosophy, political theory, Bible, Talmud, Jewish and Zionist history, Middle East Studies and archaeology beginning in 1994. The Center’s publishing arm, Shalem Press, became Israel’s leading publisher of works of Western philosophy translated into Hebrew, and also published Azure magazine. In 2013, Shalem received accreditation to begin granting Israel’s first Liberal Arts B.A., and formally became Shalem College. I served as President of Shalem from 1994-2002, and as Provost (academic head) from 2005-2012. You can read a journalistic write-up about my work at Shalem here.

I was born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1964. I graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies in 1986, and completed my Ph.D. at Rutgers University in Political Theory in 1993. As an undergraduate, I established and was the first editor of Princeton’s conservative student journal, The Princeton Tory. The first issue appeared in October 1984, when Ronald Reagan was President and Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of Britain.

I live in Jerusalem with my wife Yael Hazony. We have nine children.