ISMI Staff

Emily Dabney - Administrative Assistant

Emily Dabney received her BA in History and French from Georgia Southern University in 2006. In addition to her work as an administrative assistant at ISMI, Emily is a Ph.D. candidate at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, researching the experience of European Jews interned in forced labor camps in North Africa during World War II. Emily has been the recipient of numerous academic awards, including fellowships from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies.

Roni Eshel - Assistant Director

Roni Eshel, fourth generation Israeli, was born in Tel Aviv. He is a graduate of California State University (BA) and UCLA (MA and MAAS). He is a member of the American Political Science Honor Society. Roni worked for many years as an investigative reporter at the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv. He also served as assignment editor, news editor, and editor-in-chief of the newspaper's seven metro (daily and weekly) editions. During this time, Roni was also a visiting lecturer in the history department of Tel Aviv University. He later founded and managed a firm that specialized in advertising, public affairs, and political consultation. He has taught high school and regularly lectures on topics relating to modern Israeli society and politics.

Eli Sperling - Israel Specialist and Assistant Program Coordinator

Eli Sperling has been actively engaged in issues relating to Israel and the greater Middle East since the beginning of his under-graduate education at Evergreen in Olympia, WA. After receiving his BA in Middle East studies and political economy in 2006 , he moved to Israel to pursue an MA in contemporary Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University. During his four and a half years in Tel Aviv, Eli worked as a research assistant to prominent Israeli scholar, Yosi Kostiner, worked with numerous political and humanitarian organizations, led groups of students and other international delegations around Israel and spent two years researching the social, political and economic conditions of the Sinai Bedouin living in Dahab, Egypt. He is a fluent Hebrew speaker who likewise reads Arabic and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, spending significant periods of time in Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula. Eli is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and working as an Israel specialist and program coordinator at Emory University's Institute for the Study of Modern Israel and Center for Israel Education.

Dr. Kenneth W. Stein - Director

Kenneth W. Stein is Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Israeli Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, where he has taught since 1977. His extensive curriculum vitae and scholarly publications can be found here. At Emory University, his honors include the highest awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching (1995), recognition for internationalizing the curriculum (2001), and lifelong exceptional mentor to students (2009).The Anti-Defamation League and the Israel on Campus Coalition awarded him the Ross Award in 2007 for his intellectual integrity in speaking out against the falsehoods in former President Jimmy Carter's 2006 book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. In 1998, he established the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel.

Rich Walter - Associate Director for Israel Education

Richard Walter has extensive experience increasing community involvement in Jewish formal and informal learning for a wide variety of age groups. Prior to joining ISMI in August 2012, he served as Director for Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, and Director of Education and Community Development at the Bureau of Jewish Education in Rhode Island. From 1997 to 2001 he taught in the Solomon Schechter School in Providence, Rhode Island. He was educated at Brandeis University where he received his BA and MA degrees focusing on Jewish history, Middle Eastern history, and Judaic Studies.

Heather Waters - Program Associate

Heather Waters has been with ISMI since its inception in 1998. Her organizational and managerial abilities have been the bedrock of ISMI's progress and successes over the last 15 years.