Prof. Menachem Blondheim


I’m a member of the Department of Communication and Journalism and of the Department of History. As a former entrepreneur and executive in the high-tech industry, as well as a Ph.D. in history, I study the development, performance, and meaning of communication technologies and environments, new and old. My research also explores the role of communication in American history and in Jewish history, as well as the history of media.

I received my BA degree from the Hebrew University, MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University, and have won fellowships from the NEH, Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, the University of Pennsylvania’s CAJC, the New York Public Library, as well as a variety of research grants. An Israeli Americanist who admires things Italian, I was a visiting professor at Penn, Columbia, NYU, Ca Foscari in Venice, LUMSA in Rome and Sapienza, also in Rome.

At the Hebrew University I serve as the academic director of undergraduate studies at the Rothberg International School, and as head of the university’s Center for American Studies. I was head of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace for 6 years, and prior to that served as chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism and the director of the Smart Family Institute of Communications. My public activities included chairing Israel’s new National Library’s Advisory Committee on Digitization, heading the academic committee of the Spielberg Jewish Film Archives, and serving as analyst on American affairs for a bunch of media outlets.


Research Interests

  • Communication Technologies
  • Media and Social Organization
  • Communication in American History
  • Communication and Religion
  • Jewish Communication


Selected Publications

  • Esther: The Biblical Book of Communication. Under review (with Elihu Katz). On Liberty in a Cellular Society: The Role of the Smartphone in the Lives of Israeli ZgensJerusalem: Magnes Hebrew University Press (with Hananel Rosenberg).
  • The Covid-19 Epidemic: An Interim Summary. Tel haShomer: National Institute for Health Policy Research, 2021 (joint author).
  • “The Smartphone and its Punishment: Social Distancing of Cellular Transgressors in Ultra-
  • Orthodox Jewish Society, from 2G to the Corona Pandemic,” Technology in Society, May 2021, (with Hananel Rosenberg).
  • Communication in the Jewish Diaspora: Two Thousand years of Saying Goodbye without Leaving. New York: Israel Academic Press, 2020 (edited with Hananel Rosenberg).
  • “The Jewish Communication Tradition and its Encounters with (the) New Media,” in: Heidi Campbell, ed., Digital Judaism. New York: Rutledge, 2015, pp. 16-39.
  • “America’s Global Standing According to Popular News Sites from Around the World,” Political Communication 30: 1 (2013): 139-161 (with Elad Segev).
  • “Narrating the History of Media Technologies: Pitfalls and Prospects,” in: Michael Bailey, ed., Narrating Media History (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 212-228.
  • The Toronto School of Communication Theory: Interpretations, Extensions, Applications. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007 (edited with Rita Watson).
  • Copperhead Gore: Benjamin Wood’s Fort Lafayette and Civil War America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.
  • "`Public Sentiment is Everything’: The Union's Public Communication Strategy and the Bogus Proclamation of 1864." Journal of American History 89:3 (2002): 869-900.
  • "Traditions of Dispute: From Negotiating Talmudic Texts to the Arena of Political Discourse in the Media," Journal of Pragmatics 34:10-11 (2002): 1569-94. (With Shoshana Blum Kulka and Gonen Hachohen).
  • “Harold Adams Innis and his Bias of Communication.” In: Canonic Texts in Communication Research, eds. Elihu Katz, John D. Peters, Tamar Liebes, and Avril Orloff (London: Polity Press, 2002), pp. 156-190.
  • "Public Demand and Rabbinic Supply: The Sermon in American Orthodox Synagogues, 1881- 1939." In: Popular Culture. Ed. B. Z. Kedar. Jerusalem: Merkaz Shazar, 1996, pp. 277- 304 (Hebrew).
  • News Over the Wires: The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844- 1897. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994.


Awards and Prizes

  • Donald L. Shaw Lifetime Award for Outstanding Service to Journalism History (2019)
  • Hazel Dicken-Garcia Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Journalism History (2008)
  • Covet Award in communications history (2003)
  • AJHA Book of the year (1994)