Shira Weiss

Shira Weiss, Research Fellow
Shira Weiss teaches medieval and modern Jewish Philosophy at Stern College, Yeshiva University. She holds a PhD in Medieval Jewish Philosophy and wrote her dissertation on the concept of choice in the philosophic exegesis of Joseph Albo. She was awarded an NEH fellowship for college professors on Free Will and Human Perfection in Medieval Jewish Philosophy and has authored several articles. In addition, she holds an EdD and serves as Assistant Principal at The Frisch School, Paramus, NJ. Her research interests include: medieval Jewish philosophy, the philosophic interpretation of Scripture, Jewish ethics and philosophy of religion. She is currently working on a monograph which investigates ethical issues in biblical narrative.

Aryeh Tepper

Aryeh Tepper, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Aryeh Tepper earned his doctorate in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His book,Progressive Minds, Conservative Politics: Leo Strauss’ Later Writings on Maimonides, was published in 2013 with SUNY Press. His essays, articles and prose-poems have appeared in the Jewish Review of BooksJewish Ideas DailyThe Literary Review, The Madison Review,The Jerusalem Post, and The Jewish Daily Forward, and other places. Aryeh has taught at the Tikvah Fellowship in New York City, the CUNY Graduate Center, and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. His time at the Herzl Institute is devoted to researching and writing about the Bible’s teaching regarding the problematic power of music, a subject on which he has lectured at Princeton University, the University of Arizona, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Aryeh teaches at Ben-Gurion University and lives in Israel with his wife Maya and their four children.

Melis Erdur

Melis Erdur, Post-doctoral fellow
Melis (Miri) Erdur received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the New York University in 2013.  In her dissertation A Moral Critique of Moral Philosophy, (which she wrote under the supervision of Professors David Velleman, Sharon Street and Hartry Field,) she criticizes the common assumption that moral discourse requires a particular sort of philosophical “ground”: a morally neutral account of rightness, wrongness, obligations and values, which ideally would provide final and all-embracing answers to questions such as “What in the end makes any moral statement true or false?” and “Why be moral?”  She argues that questions about the nature of morality must (and this is a moral must – she insists) be answered from a primarily substantive moral point of view, rather than a metaphysical, epistemological or semantic one.

Melis believes that canonical Jewish texts – the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud – offer us a philosophical framework that does justice to the gravity of fundamental questions about morality.  These texts are clearly deeply interested in what we owe to each other, why we owe it to each other, and how we can know that we owe it to each other.  However, they deal with those questions from a primarily moral (as opposed to metaphysical, conceptual, etc.) perspective, and in such a way that does not trivialize them, explain them away, or turn them into such abstractions that we end up forgetting why it was important to ask them in the first place.  Her current project is thus to articulate how the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud achieve this, as well as what exactly is so right about it.

Melis grew up in Izmir, Turkey, and got her B.A. in philosophy and mathematics and then her M.A. in philosophy from Bogazici University in Istanbul.  She now lives (very happily) in Tel Aviv.

Anthony Bolos

Anthony Bolos, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Anthony Bolos recently completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, under the supervision of Duncan Pritchard and Allan Hazlett. His PhD was on the value of knowledge and its relationship to issues in the epistemology of religious belief. His primary research interests are in Epistemology and the Philosophy of Religion. While at the Institute, however, Anthony will be researching the relationship between science and the Hebrew Scriptures. You can find his personal webpage here: abolos.wix.com/philosophy.

Edward Greenstein

Edward Greenstein, Senior Fellow
Edward Greenstein is Professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, since 2006, and Director of the Institute for Jewish Biblical Interpretation there.  Prior to that, he was professor at Tel Aviv University (from 1996) and at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he taught for 20 years.  He has also taught at Columbia, Yale, Princeton, and other institutions of higher learning and has lectured widely.  Prof. Greenstein has edited the Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society since 1974 and has published widely in Biblical and ancient Semitic studies.  He has been engaged in writing commentaries on Job and Lamentations as well as other books.  He has received research fellowships and grants from the (U.S.) National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University, and the Israel Science Foundation.