I completed my Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1995 and won a post-doc fellowship at the (then) newly-established department of Middle East Studies, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. In 1997 I joined the department as a faculty member.

My fields of research and teaching include socio-legal history of the Ottoman Empire and the passage of the Ottoman legal system to the colonial era, with a special interest in the Ottoman Sharia court system and legal reforms during the long 19th century; social history of late and post-Ottoman Palestine; family history; microhistory; historiography; historical thinking.

In my book, Family and Court: Legal Culture and Modernity in Late Ottoman Palestine (Syracuse University Press, 2006) I focus on the sharia courts of late-Ottoman Jaffa and Haifa. Employing a comparative socio-legal analysis of the records produced in the two courts, I discuss their legal culture. In the book, I offer observations on the impact of the growth and social transformation underwent by the port cities of Jaffa and Haifa on the socio-legal construction of the family. In my current research project I explore the Ottoman Family Code (1917). This important law is misrepresented in the historiography on both late and post-Ottoman Middle East. Another aspect of my research is the daily work of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman sharia courts in Palestine during the First World War and the early colonial period.

Other Publications

Selected Articles


“There are Judges in Jerusalem, there were Legislators in Istanbul: On the History of the Law (Mistakenly) Called ‘Ottoman Law of Family Rights’,” Mishpaha BaMishpat, 8 (2018): 125-161 [in Hebrew].


“State, Family, and Anticorruption Practices in the Late Ottoman Empire,” in Anticorruption in History: From Antiquity to the Modern Era, eds. Ronald Kroeze, André Vitória and Guy Geltner, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, 251-263.


“Legal Reforms and the Sharia Courts in the Late Ottoman Empire: Some Remarks on Women, Gender, and Family,” in One Law and One Justice for Men and Women Alike: Women and Law in Mandate Palestine, eds. Margalit Shilo, Ruth Halperin-Kadari, and Eyal Katvan, Bar-Ilan University: The Law School Press, 2010, 115-147 [in Hebrew].

 (with Ido Shahar), “Shifting Perspectives in the Study of Shari‘a Courts: Methodologies and   Paradigms,” Islamic Law and Society 15 (1, 2008): 1-19.


“Recording Procedures and Legal Culture in the Late Ottoman Shari’a Court of Jaffa,” Islamic Law and Society, 11 (3, 2004): 333-377.

“Women’s History and Ottoman Sharia Court Records: Shifting Perspectives in Social History,” HAWWA, 2 (2, 2004): 172-209. 

“Text, Court, and Family in Late Nineteenth-Century Palestine,” in Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property, and Gender, ed. Beshara Doumani, New York: SUNY Press, 2003, 201-228. 

“Women, Class and Gender: Muslim Jaffa and Haifa at the Turn of the 20th Century,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 30, (4, 1998): 477-500.

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