Ben Ami

Humboldt University of Berlin
Ruth Meltzer Fellowship

Research Topic

Legal Theocracy: The Ultra-Orthodox Adaptation of Halakhah to the Statist Era


Itamar Ben Ami researches modernity, religion, state, and secularism in the twentieth century, and focuses in particular on the political theology of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Judaism. At the Katz Center, he will examine how Haredism adopted halakhah to the statist era.

Ben Ami completed his PhD in political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a dissertation titled “The Orthodoxy’s Discovery of the Political: Isaac Breuer and the Jewish Conservative Revolution,” which won the Pinchas and Sheindel Wald Doctoral Prize in Jewish History from the Zalman Shazar Center. He was previously a research fellow and lecturer in the Faculty of Theology at Humboldt University of Berlin.

Selected publications

  • “How Judaism Became a State: Isaac Breuer and the Invention of Statist Theocracy,” Harvard Theological Review (forthcoming)
  • “Modern Haredim and Contemporary Haredi Society: Beyond the Paradigm of Liberalization,” Jewish Social Studies (forthcoming)



Studying law between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries, an age of transition from a world of empires to the modern age of the nation-state and international law.