Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
My life before BGU:
I grew up in Kiryat Ono and completed high school there too. I completed all three of my degrees at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: My BA in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and my MA and Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. I completed my first two degrees while serving in the army. I studied many different subjects for my MA thesis and doctoral dissertation, including globalization, food and identity, authenticity, consumption, and popular culture. I did my first postdoc at Tel Aviv University, and went from there to the United States, where I did another postdoc at Brandeis University. When we went to the US – myself, my partner Einat and our children, Dror and Michal – we planned on spending about a year there. Our stay extended, however, and we even moved to the west coast, to UC Davis for an additional postdoc. During our time in the US, I was also a lecturer at Tufts University and Boston University, both in Boston, MA.
"After all those years abroad with my family, and despite having had the privilege of studying and teaching at fantastic institutions in the US, it is impossible to exaggerate how proud and happy I am to return to Ben-Gurion University – to return home"
My primary fields of research are the anthropology and sociology of food, nutrition, and agriculture. I have also dealt with various aspects of the globalization of food. My doctoral research, which continued throughout my postdocs as well, examined the social aspects of organic food in Israel. This research enabled me to ask questions about the relationship between food and identity, capitalism, and the relationship between society and the environment. I also dealt with the relationships between consumption, ethics, social movements, and attitudes toward the environment. My interest in the complex interplay between food and society led me – in additional research projects and various collaborations – to also look at issues related to political culture, material culture, authenticity, race, gender, class, and nationalism.
In the last two years I have been involved in a new, innovative project – an ethnography of the microbiome, or the relationship between humans and microbes. I am presently working with a colleague at Haifa University on a joint research project examining the relationship between the science of the microbiome (what lives in our intestines), nutrition and algorithmic culture.
An insight from my research:
Over the years I have learned to appreciate critical social theory and its ability to illuminate important issues. I have also learned that daily practices and objects seen as trivial – those we take for granted – are never divorced from broader cultural, economic, and political process. I discovered that there is nothing in this world – no object or social practice – that is not worthy of study and that cannot yield insights into humanity and society.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is home to me. I am what is called ‘the first of my family to get a university education.’ When I began my undergraduate I began my undergraduate studies at BGU, the critical thought I encountered really opened my eyes. This combined with human interactions – with students and professors – to stimulate a curiosity and ways of thinking I didn’t have prior to then. I met my partner Einat during my undergraduate studies; she was my classmate in the Dept. of Behavioral Sciences. Another meaningful encounter was with Prof. Uri Ram, who taught a seminar on material culture. Uri was my advisor on my MA thesis and an inspiration. I learned from him to think, analyze, and write. He is not only a researcher and an intellectual of stature, but also a great adviser and teacher. I was privileged to have critical and professional guidance that was also kind, supportive and attentive. I did my PhD with Uri as well and enjoyed every moment. I was encouraged and supported. I was given the opportunity to initiate new academic activities and collaborations and was fortunate to forge friendships with students and colleagues that are still with me today. After all those years abroad with my family, and despite having had the privilege of studying and teaching at fantastic institutions in the US, it is impossible to exaggerate how proud and happy I am to return to Ben-Gurion University – to return home.
A source of inspiration:
My late grandmothers, Bronka and Frieda. One loved books and the other, people.
When I grow up:
When I was a boy and teenager, I wanted to be a drummer. I wanted to be Ringo Starr. Although there might be better drummers than he was, to me he is still the greatest of all.
If I were not a researcher, I would…
Be in music, photography, or therapy.
Something that doesn’t appear on my CV:
I studied at a professional cooking school in Guangzhou, China. This was a long time ago, over twenty years ago. China was very different from what it is today, and it was strange and fascinating. It was a real anthropological experience, way before I even understood what anthropology is. Today I keep my chef’s diploma alongside my academic certificates. I really love to cook and feed people.
» Steak or tofu? Come on. I’m a food anthropologist. How can I answer such a question briefly?
» Car or train? Train. And if possible, with a stop at the Beer-Sheva North/University station
» Fortis or Sakharov? Minimal Compact
» Classical Europe or India? Both
» Radio or podcast? Vinyl records, CDs, and cassette tapes
» Night or morning? Night. The night hours are my best time for writing
» Winter or summer? Winter. I enjoyed my two snowy winters in the Boston area and miss it a lot.
» Cat or dog? Dog. Pitsy
» Film or play? The movie E.T.