Doctor Reuven Gafni

Head of the Department, Land of Israel Studies,

School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Interdisciplinary Studies B.A, Land of Israel Studies B.A, Land of Israel studies M.A

Areas of Expertise

A Historian and Historical-Geographer, Dr. Gafni`s main areas of research include the urban, demographic and social development of Jerusalem in modern times; The design and development of the of the Jewish settlement map modern Eretz-Israel; The study of synagogues in Israel in the 20th century; And the connections between Judaism, nationalism and statehood in the Land of Israel and the State of Israel.

Selected Courses

1. Jerusalem from ancient times to the 21st century (A Regional Course)
2. Sacred landscapes: Religion and cult in Eretz-Israel in modern times
3. Synagogues in Eretz-Israel in the modern period: Religion, culture and nationalism
4. Between Gaza and Peqi`in : The Jewish settlement map in Eretz-Israel in the 19th century
5. The evolution of modern Jerusalem in the 19th century
6. Religion and Nationalism in Eretz-Israel in the 20th century
7. Sports In Eretz-Israel in the 20th century: Society, Culture, Nationalism

Selected Publications

Ph.D. Dissertation
Houses of prayer and nationality: The shaping of Hebrew nationalism in Eretz-Israel Synagogues during the British Mandate period, March 2013, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem [Hebrew, 350 p.] (see authored books, no. 1) 

Scientific Books (Refereed)
Authored Books – Published

1. Under the dome of the nation: The shaping of Hebrew nationalism in Eretz-Israel Synagogues during the British Mandate period, The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism, Ben-Gurion university of the Negev [Hebrew, 350 p.]

 2.  A Jewish Community in an Arab Town: Beit She`an 1890-1936,  Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 2018 [Hebrew, 220 p.] 

Hebraizing Sherlock Holmes: A Literary and political affair in Mandatory Eretz-Israel, Yad Ben-Zvi, June 2020 [Hebrew, 221 p.]

Opening a Siddur: A journey throughout Jewish Prayer Books in Eretz-Israel in Modern Times, Tevunot Academic Press, Herzog College [Hebrew, 277 p.] 

Edited Books – Published
The Hurva: six hundred years of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem (new Studies with the rebuilding of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem), Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2009, (together with Prof. David Cassuto and Dr. Aryeh Morgenstern) [Hebrew, 314 p.]

High Above All: The Tiferet Israel Synagogue and the Hassidic Community in Jerusalem (together with Uriel Gelman and Yochai Ben Gedalia) [Hebrew, 280 p.]

Edited Books – Accepted for Publication 
Jerusalem 1948-1973 (with Prof Arnon Golan, Dr. Amnon Ramon & Dr. Assaf Zeltser, Accepted for publication at Yad Ben-Zvi [Hebrew, 400 p.] 

Articles in Refereed Journals
Articles – Published

“Of Sports, Identity, and the Cultural Context: The Failed Attempts to Create a Baseball Culture in Pre-State and early Israel, 1927-1960”, Submitted to Journal of Jewish Identities, 15, 2 (2022), pp. 119-134

“The Passover `Hilula`: On the origin and meaning of a forgotten Safed tradition”, Artzot Hagalil, 1 (July 2022), pp. 41-58

“Community, Economy and Faith: A Ketubah from Beit She`an from the WWI Period, Pe`amim, 161 (2021), pp. 203-211 [Hebrew] [with Anat Cohen] 

“Lone Jewish Medical Personnel in Arab Towns during the British Mandate: A Conditional Presence”, Israel Studies (UIP), 26.1 (2020), pp. 196-218

“A Period of Jewish Settlement in Nazareth: The Jewish Presence in Nazareth, 1900-1938”, Cathedra [20 p.] [Hebrew]

“Emek Ha`Arazim: A short lived Jewish settlement near Jerusalem in the British Mandate Period”, Judea and Samaria Studies , 29, 1(2020), pp. 67-99 [Hebrew]

“Memory and Re-Creation: Commemoration of Synagogues of the Islamic World in Israel”, Arts, 2020, 9, 64 (special Issue: Synagogue Art and Architecture), pp. 1-16   

“A Jewish doctor in an Arab town: Dr. Olga Feinberg and her activities in Jericho during the British Mandate Period”, Korot: The Israeli Journal of the History of Medicine and Science, 24 (2017-2018), pp. 69-87 [Hebrew]  

“A Siddur fitted for our times: The Story of the Rinat Israel Siddur – Concept, Content and Influence”, Alei Sefer, 28 (2018), Bar Ilan University, pp. 175-210 [Hebrew]

Jews Between Borders: The Jewish Presence in Samakh in the first half of the 20th century”, New Researches of the Galilee, 3 (2018), Tel-Hai Academic College, pp. 9-28 [Hebrew]

Jews. Arabs and Jews again in the Shamma`a neighborhood in Jerusalem, 1900-1970″, Cathedra, 161 (October 2016), pp. 85-116

“Community, Religion and Nationalism in the ten years of the Turei Yeshurun periodical”, Kesher, 48 (2016), Tel-Aviv University, p. 82-91 [Hebrew] 

“The school custom: Prayer books and educational synagogues during the British mandate”, Dor L’Dor, 44 (2013), Tel Aviv University, pp. 433-465 [Hebrew]

“For Judaism and the Building of the Land: Rabbi Benjamin and Ha-Hed between Nationalism and Ultra-Orthodoxy”, Kesher, 44 (Autumn 2013), Tel-Aviv University, pp. 57-67 [Hebrew]

 “The Jurat-El-Anab neighborhood as a reflection of historical and geographical changes in the heart of Jerusalem during the years 1892-1967” Horizons in Geography, 84 (2013), Haifa University, pp. 24-40 [Hebrew]

“An Allepo (Halab) ’Midrash’ in Jerusalem: Beit Midrash Zechut Aharon Silvera in the Machane Yehuda neighborhood in Jerusalem”, Eretz U’Mloah: Studies in the History of the Aleppo community (Halab) and culture, 2, Yad Ben-Zvi, (2013), pp. 176-190 [Hebrew]

 “Public Prayer and Its Significance at the Hebrew University, 1917–1948”, Cathedra, 147 (April 2013), pp. 149-168 [Hebrew]

“Is there a future for the Historical Journals of yesterday?  With the 200th issue of the History journal ‘Et-Mol’ “, Kesher, 38 (Aviv 2009), Tel-Aviv University, pp. 136-142 [Hebrew]

 Struggles surrounding the Establishment of Synagogues at socialist neighborhoods in the 1920’s”, Knishta, 4 (2009), Bar Ilan University, pp. 137-154 [Hebrew]

“Memory, Economy and Ideology: On the meaning of Synagogue names in Jerusalem”, These are the Names, 5 (2011), bar Ilan university, pp. 49-56 [Hebrew]

“The written Synagogue: On the Journal of Tel-Aviv’s Great Synagogue, 1946-1948”, Kesher, 39 (Autumn 2009), Tel-Aviv University, pp. 138-145 [Hebrew]

” `On Sabbath Eve Satan Came to Kfar Yehezkel’: The Conflict over the Establishment of a Synagogue in a Socialist Village (1924–1928)” cathedra, 130 (January 2009), Yad Ben-Zvi, pp. 75-102 (together with Roni Yavin) [Hebrew]

“The image of a multi ethnic neighborhood: Synagogues in the Beit Yisrael Neighborhood”, Eretz-israel, 28 (2008), Israel Exploration Society, pp. 367-375 [Hebrew]

 “Between Neighborhoods and Towns: on the Halachic approach and geographical awareness in the first Jerusalem neighborhoods”, Horizons in Geography, 71 (2008), University of Haifa, pp. 5-21[Hebrew]

 “Between Mea`h Shea`rim and The Garden Neighborhoods: Kiryat Shmuel, Jerusalem (1924-1948): The Dream and The Reality”, Jerusalem and Eretz-Israel, 3 (2006), Bar Ilan University, pp. 135-159 [Hebrew]

Articles – Accepted for Publication
“Educational Siddurim in Eretz-Israel, 1900-2020: Development Lines, Ideological Aspects, and an Annotated Bibliographical List, Submitted to Kenishta (Bar Ilan University), 5 (2022?), (32 p.) [Hebrew] 

“Do we need others to edit our Siddur? Religion, Ideology and Politics Surrounding the Publication of the Mizrachi Edition of Rinat Yisrael”, Submitted to Israel (Tel Aviv University) (25 p.) [Hebrew]   

“Identity, Ethnicity and Nationalism: The Rabban Yochanan  Ben Zakai Central Synagogue and the Sepharadi Community of Jerusalem, 1900-1948″, submitted to Israel studies Review, 38.1 (April 2023) (20 p.)

Submitted for Publication
“Between Society, Culture and Nationalism: The Creation and Design of the Ashkenazi Hazanut Scene in Jerusalem, 1900-1950″, Submitted to Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Prees (16 p.)

Articles or Chapters in Scientific Books

“Memory and Re-Creation: Commemoration of Synagogues of the Islamic World in Israel”, J. Ringel & S. Ohayon (eds.). Displacements of Jewish Communal Life in Islamic Lands and Cultural Reconstruction in Israel, 2022, pp. 107-114 (an early version of C.a.5)

“Landscape of their community: Ethnic group, society and community in the synagogues of Babylonian (Iraqi) Jews in Central Jerusalem, 1920-1980”, M. Ben Shachar and others (Eds.), Jubilee book for Prof. Isaiah Gafni, Zalman Shazar Center Jerusalem 2017, pp. 447-476 [Hebrew]

 “Domes, Ruins & Memories: The Tiferet Israel synagogue as reflected in Hebrew literature and writings”, High Above All: The Tiferet Israel Synagogue and the Hassidic Community in Jerusalem, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2016, pp. 111-132 [Hebrew]

“Wondering populations and synagogues in Jerusalem (1860-1967)”, D. Bar, K. Cohen-Hatab and A. Zelzer (Editors), The city in reflection of its studies: Historical geography research on Jerusalem, Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 2011, pp. 238-264 [Hebrew]

“Education, prayer and homiletics: The educational enterprises of Cantor Shlomo Zalman Rivlin in Jerusalem during the first half of the twentieth century”, Y. Rivlin and Y. Rozenson (Editors), The Disciples of the Gra in Eretz Yisrael: History, Philosophy, Reality, Jerusalem 2011, pp. 73-86 [Hebrew]

“the Hurva is all ours: On the Hurva Synagogue and it’s reflection in Hebrew literature”, R. Gafni, A. Morgenstern and D. Cassuto (Editors), The Hurva: Six hundred years of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2009, pp. 170-189 [Hebrew]

“Jewish Sacred Architecture under Islam”, S. Fine (ed.), Jewish Religious Architecture from Ancient Israel to Modern Judaism, Leiden 2019, pp. 238-257 

Accepted for Publication
“Two Minorities on the brink: Jews and Samaritans in 19th century Nablus”, S. Fine (ed.), The  Samaritans: A Biblical People, Boston and New York 2021 

“From East to West – And Back: The Re-establishment of The Jewish Quarter in Western Jerusalem”, A. Seltzer et. al (eds.), Jerusalem 1948-1974,  Yad Ben-Zvi  [20 p.] [Hebrew]

“The Synagogues”, Y. Ben-Naeh & M. Held (eds.), Jewish Communities in The East  in the 19th & 20th Centuries: Eretz-Israel, Yad Ben-Zvi [18 p.] [Hebrew]

Other Scientific Publications (Book Reviews)
“Missing from the Israeli historiography: A review of Chaim Shelem’s book ‘An Island of possibilities’ [Jerusalem 2012], The biography of Benjamin Mintz, Leader of the Poa`lei Agudat Yisrael movement], Cathedra, 157 (2015), pp. 194-199 [Hebrew]

“Changing Times, Loss of Identities: A review of Y. Ben-Na`eh, An Autobiography of a Sepharadi scholar of the Old Yishuv“, Cathedra, 165  (2017), pp. 212-216 [Hebrew]

“One family, changing contexts: A Review of the book `The Salomons` [I. Bartal & Shimon Shamir (Editors)], Jerusalem 2014”, Studies in contemporary Jewry, 29 (2016), Oxford University Press, pp. 304-306

“The Components of a Local Revolution: A Review of the Book `The Maritime Revolution`[K. Cohen-Hattab], Jerusalem 2019, Yad Ben-Zvi”, Cathedra, 175 (May 2020), pp. 151-154

Entries in scientific encyclopedias

Machpela, Cave of (Judaism), Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR), Vol. 17, De Gruyter, Berlin & Boston, pp. 365-369 

Mount of Olives (Judaism), Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR), Vol. 18, De Gruyter, Berlin & Boston, pp. 1288-1294

Accepted for Publication
Neot Kedumim, Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, De Gruyter, Berlin & Boston (Forthcoming) 

Other Publications
Authored Books

Winds of Hope: Mishkenot Sha`ananim 1860-2015, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2015 [162 p.]

Nusah yerushalaim: congregations and Synagogues in Jerusalem’s center, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2012, [Hebrew, 440 p.]

Dreams and Spirit: Mishkenot Sha’ananim 1860-2010, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2012 [Hebrew, 140 p.]

Between the Pillbox and Beit HaNasi: the story of the Kiryat Shmuel and Merechavia neighborhoods, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2009 [Hebrew, 158 p.]

Beit Tefila: Hidden Synagogues in the heart of Jerusalem: Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Yemin Moshe, Machane Yisrael, Nachlat Shiva, Even Yisrael, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2008 [Hebrew, 210 p.]

Mikdash mea`t:  Known and unknown Synagogues in Jerusalem: Sha`arei Chesed, Rechavia, Kiryat Shmuel, Talbia, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2004 [Hebrew, 210 p.]

Edited Books
Mekor Chaim: The story of a neighborhood in southern Jerusalem, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2015 (Together with Yossi Shpanier & Eyal Meiron), [Hebrew, 207 p.]

   To Serve You in Truth: A Tribute to Rav Yehuda Amital, Jerusalem 2010 (together with Reuven Zigle)] [Hebrew, 427 p.]

Articles: Published
“Jewish Pilgrimage to the Sartabba until 1948”, Jordan Valley Studies, 5 (2021), pp. 55-68 [Hebrew]

“Prayers, Politics and Ideology”, Ha`uma, 217 (2019), pp. 104-113 [Hebrew] 

“The Beit She`an-Jericho Road and it`s Significance, 1800-1970”, Jordan Valley Studies, 3 (2019), pp.   [Hebrew] (Together with Orit Shalom)

“The Religiuos Institutions of the Old City`s Refugees in The New City”, A. Pickel-Tzabari (ed.), From Crisis to Redemption: The Story of Jerusalem`s Old City Refugees, Jerusalem 2019, pp. 36-46 [Hebrew] 

“The Jewish Presence in Jericho During the British Mandate”, Jordan Valley Studies, 2 (2018), pp. 49-69 [Hebrew] 

 “Guardians of Jerusalem: The old city Walls as a boundry of the holiness”, Segula, 39 (September 2017), pp. 32-38

“Communal Seal: Synagogue Seals in Eretz-Israel in the modern period”, Ariel [Hebrew, 25 p.]

 “The attempt to establish a synagogue in memory of the Saints of Krakow and the Rama in Kfar Etzion, 1947” Al A’tar, 18 (January 2014), pp. 59-76 [Hebrew]

 “Rural Memories in an Urban Setting: The Lifta-Elite Synagogues in Jerusalem” , Y. Shpanier and Y. Rozenson (editors),  A Sapphire Gift: Jubilee book for Yitzchak Sappir, Elkana-Rechovot 2013, pp. 403-422 [Hebrew]

“ ’The Praised Holy Communities in Jerusalem:’ The Arbil Jews Synagogue in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood”, Z. Yehuda (editor), The Jews of Arbil in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Research, Certification and Testimonies, Or Yehuda 2012, pp. 83-102 [Hebrew]

“Memorial and Dedication Plaques in the Synagogue: Public awareness, commemoration and community” Al A’tar, 16 (January 2010), pp. 83-103 [Hebrew]

“Nachlat Ya’akov in Nachlat Shiva: The story of the first Synagogue outside the walls”, A. Shiller (editor), From Tzfat to Jerusalem: Shoshana HaLevi book, Jerusalem 2010, pp. 49-56 [Hebrew]

“Synagogues in Jerusalem: decorations and design”, Ariel, 192 (June 2009), pp. 6-31 [together with Nirit Shalev-Kalifa] [Hebrew]

“Memory, commemoration and geography surrounding the Gerer Rebbes grave sites in Jerusalem”, Al A’tar, 16 (April 2009), pg 105-118 [Hebrew]

“The first Synagogues outside the Old City walls in Jerusalem”, Ariel,173 (September 2006), pp. 40-57 [Hebrew]

Out of the mouth of babes: the history of the “Ohel Shem” educational Synagogue in the Tahkemoni school in Jerusalem”, Derech Agada, 9 (2006), pp. 99-113 [Hebrew]

“Synagogues in neighborhoods surrounding Me’ah She’arim”, Ariel, 163-164 (March 2004), pp. 213-224 [Hebrew]

“A Shtetl in the heart of Jerusalem”, In: N. Shalev-Kalfa, Nachlaot in the heart of the City, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem 2003, pp. 180-210 [Hebrew]

“Tzara’at (Leprosy) as a punishment in the Bible and the Sages”, Megadim, 30 (January 1999), pp. 23-34 [Hebrew]

 “The sons of Eli and the sons of the Rechav” Megadim, 25 (December 1996), pp. 125-132 [Hebrew]

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