Prof. Shai Lavi
Director of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Shai Lavi is the director of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and a professor of law at Tel Aviv University. Professor Lavi earned his first and second degrees in law and sociology at Tel Aviv University and his doctorate in law at the University of California, Berkeley. His area of specialization is the sociology of law and legal theory; he explores bioethical issues from historical and contemporary perspectives, with an emphasis on the use of technology in the beginning of life and at its end. He also engages in comparative research—in Germany, Turkey, and Israel—on issues related to legal regulation of the body and the tension between religion and secularity. His book on the end of life, The Modern Art of Dying: A History of Euthanasia in the United States, won the 2006 Sociology of Law Distinguished Scholarly Book Award of the American Sociological Association. Prof. Lavi has received a Fulbright Fellowship, the Zeltner Prize for young scholars in law, a grant to establish the Minerva Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the End of Life, a research grant from GIF, the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, and served as the founding director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University. He has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Yeshiva University in New York, and Humboldt University of Berlin.