MJSA Board


President, Dr. Mara Cohen Ioannides, Department of English, Missouri State University

MaraMara Cohen Ioannides is Senior Instructor in the Department of English at Missouri State University, and specializes in American Jewish studies. Her work focuses on the Jews of the Ozarks, a region that includes Southwest Missouri, northern Arkansas, and a corner of Kansas. Jewish Reform Movement in the U.S. (2017), a revised version of her dissertation on the American Reform movement’s Haggadah and how the changes in the group’s theology influence the content of this book, was published by De Gruyter. She lectures regularly around the world. Along with her work on American Jewish studies, Mara writes historical fiction about Greek Jewry. Her first novel, A Shout in the Sunshine, was published by the Jewish Publication Society and the Second, We are in Exile/Estamos en Galut, was released by Hadassa Word Press.

Email: maraioannides@missouristate.edu

Vice President, Dr. Paul Bartrop, Department of History and Director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Florida Gulf Coast University

Paul Bartrop is a multi-award winning scholar of the Holocaust and genocide. He is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida. In 2011-2012 he was the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Richard Stockton College, New Jersey. He has previously been a Scholar-in- Residence at the Martin-Springer Institute for Teaching the Holocaust, Tolerance and Humanitarian Values at Northern Arizona University, and a Visiting Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. In Australia, he also taught at the University of South Australia and Monash University. His major current projects are: The Evian Conference of 1938 and the Jewish Refugee Crisis; and Women of the French Resistance: The Rescue of Jews in Vichy France during the Holocaust. He the author or editor of 18 books, the most recent of which are: The Holocaust: A Resource and Document Collection (4 volumes, in press); Resisting the Holocaust: Upstanders, Partisans, and Survivors (2016); The Bosnian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide (2016); and Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and Document Collection (4 volumes, 2015). In addition, he has published numerous scholarly articles in journals and books. He has been a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and was for many years the Australian representative on the International Committee of the Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies; a member of the Advisory Board of the Genocide Education Project, California; and senior consultant of the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Bartrop is currently Vice-President of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association, and is a Past President of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies.

Email: pbartrop@fgcu.edu

Treasurer, Dr. David Meola, Department of History, University of South Alabama

DavidDavid Meola, is currently the Bert & Fanny Meisler Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of South Alabama. He has taught courses on the Holocaust, Early Modern Germany, Early Modern and Modern Cities, Diasporas in Global Context, Modern Germany, Minorities and the Nation-State, and a History of the Mediterranean. He has worked tirelessly at helping his students succeed and has sought to get more out of his students by providing them with the tools and motivation to do well, especially in the improvement of their writing skills. A native of New Jersey, David holds a Ph. D. in History from the University of British Columbia. His dissertation, Becoming Public: Jews and their Role in the German Press, 1815-1848, uncovers how Jews in Baden and Hannover took part in societal discussion about Jewish emancipation and inner-Jewish reform. He is currently working on his book manuscript, which is based on his dissertation, and is under contract with the University of Toronto Press. David currently has one book chapter in print, one article published in the Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook (2014), and one published in the journal Eighteenth Century Thought  (2016).

Email: dameola@southalabama.edu

At-Large Board Members:

Dr. Stephen M. Cohen, Independent Scholar

StephenStephen Cohen has been researching, presenting, and publishing studies of scientific terminology in Yiddish for nearly twenty years, after receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is also researching the life of his cousin, Haim Kantorovitch, who was a Socialist theoretician, writer, teacher, and leader of the Workmen’s Circle in the 1920s and early 1930s. He recently co-authored two books: “What’s in a Name? A Young Person’s Jewish Genealogy Workbook” and “Introduction to Electrochemistry”. A Technical Writer by day, he is also a professional calligrapher of Judaic art for many years, a published composer of Jewish choral music,and the family genealogist for over four decades (with over 3400 people in his family back to the late 1700s). He is a Board member of the Royal Society of Chemistry–US Section, the Past-President of the Sharim v’Sharot Foundation [a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about and performing Jewish music], a member of Yugntruf–Youth for Yiddish, the League for Yiddish, ASCAP, the Philadelphia Calligraphers’ Society, the American Chemical Society, and the Society for Technical Communication. He gives presentations and workshops on calligraphy and genealogy to the general public, and speaks only Yiddish to his children.

Email: drstevecohen@earthlink.net

Dr. Steven L. Jacobs, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Alabama

Steven Jacobs holds the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies at The University of Alabama where is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Religous Studies. He received his degrees from The Pennsyvania State University in English Literature & Education (BA) and his BHL, MAHL, DHL, and DD from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where he also received semicha. He teaches Judaic Studies across the board while he research interests are in Hebrew Bible translation issues; Jewish-Christian Relations; Holocaust; and historical and contemporary genocides.

Email: sjacobs@as.ua.edu

Dr. Peter Haas, Professor of Religious Studies, Case Western Reserve University

PeterPeter Haas held the Abba Hillel Silver chair in Jewish Studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio from 2000 until his retirement in the summer of 2016.  He was chair of the Department of Religious Studies from 2003 until 2015.   His teaching centered on contemporary Judaism after the Holocaust, but he also regularly taught courses on Western religions, the religions of the modern Middle East and on the Middle East crisis. For many years he taught as a visiting professor at Spertus Institute in Chicago.  He was active in the Wroxton Symposium on the Holocaust since its formation in the mid 1990’s.  He currently teaches for the Siegel Lifelong Learning program at CWRU and volunteers for a number of community organizations.

Email: peter.haas@att.net

Dr. Joshua Shanes, Director of the Jewish Studies Program, College of Charleston

JoshuaJoshua Shanes is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1993, his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin in 2002, and spent time in between studying in Israel. Professor Shanes’s research interests focus on Central and East European Jewry in the 19th and 20th centuries, specifically turn-of-the-century Galicia and the rise of Zionism as a counter-movement to the traditional Jewish establishment.

Email: shanesj@cofc.edu

Charlyn Ingwerson, Drury University

charlynCharlyn Ingwerson is a magna cum laude graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Philosophy. She holds an M.A. in English as well as a MA TESOL certificate from MSU, and an M.A. in Theology/Biblical Languages from AG Theological Seminary, as well as a PhD in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Arkansas. Her primary areas of research are the literatures of the modern Middle East, with an emphasis in contemporary Israeli literature. Charlyn is a member of the faculty of the Department of English at Drury University where she has designed courses in Israeli and Iranian film studies, as well as the Middle Eastern and Israeli novel, and coordinates the English for Academic Purposes program. She is a member of ASCAP, a songwriter/publisher—Shir Shalom Music, and member of an ad hoc group of songwriters.

Email: cingwerson@drury.edu

Dr. Michael Pytlik, Oakland University

MichaelMichael Pytlik is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Anthropology as well as a lecturer and the Director of Judaic Studies at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He teaches courses on the archaeology of Israel, Jewish Sacred Texts, Introduction to Judaism, Jewish Theology, Monotheistic Mysticism and World Religions. He also leads Oakland University students to Israel each year to excavate.  He has established a field school there in conjunction with Hebrew University. For five seasons the expedition excavated at Khirbet Qeiyafa, an important Iron Age site associated with the kingdom of David in Judah at about 1000 BCE. From 2014 to 2017 the team excavated ancient Lachish. Pytlik has taught at Oakland University since 2009. He holds a doctorate in Jewish Studies from Spertus College in Chicago.  His dissertation centered on the topic of King David through the lenses of archaeology, history and Jewish tradition.

Email: pytlik@oakland.edu

Rabbi Dr. Matthew Kaufman, Independent Scholar 

Matthew Kaufman received his PhD in Humanities from York University in Toronto. His research interest is in the creation of American Jewish identity in the twentieth century against the backdrop of science and secularity. Horace Kallen Confronts America (2019), a revised version of his PhD dissertation, was published by Syracuse University Press. He was the first recipient of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association’s Graduate Student Paper Award for “The Menorah Journal and Shaping American Jewish Identity: Culture and Evolutionary Sociology,” which was subsequently published in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies. Subsequent articles have appeared in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science (2017) and American Jewish History (2019). Matthew was ordained as a rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1998, and currently serves as rabbi of Congregation Iyr HaMelech, a warm and intimate Reform congregation in Kingston, Ontario. He holds a black belt in Shotokan karate, is happily partnered with Stephanie Todd, and has two children, Abraham and Batya.

Email: rabbimatthew@gmail.com

Graduate Student Board Member:

Jessica Jamnetski-Evers, Florida Gulf Coast University

Jessica Jamnetski-Evers is a Doctoral candidate in education at Gratz College in Philadelphia.

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