The focus of my research has been on European and Israeli Hebrew writers who transformed biblical narratives, rabbinic legends, and hasidic tales into modern works of literature that convey the relationship of the author to the Jewish tradition and to issues of contemporary significance. My first book, Modern Midrash: The Retelling of Traditional Jewish Narratives by Twentieth-Century Hebrew Writers (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), focused on adaptations of Hasidic tales by the European Hebrew writers Micha Yosef Berdyczewski and Y. L. Peretz, adaptations of rabbinic legends by the European Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik, adaptations of biblical narratives by the European Hebrew writer David Frischmann, and the role of biblical archetypes in the poetry of the European Hebrew writers Shaul Tchernichowsky and Yocheved Bat-Miriam and the works of the Israeli writers Amir Gilboa, Abba Kovner, Dan Pagis, Nissim Aloni, Moshe Shamir, and Amos Oz.
In my second book, Does David Still Play Before You?: Israeli Poetry and the Bible (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997), I focused on the role of Hebrew Bible in contemporary Israeli poetry and culture as reflected in poems by several Israeli writers: Amir Gilboa, T. Carmi, Nathan Yonathan, Matti Megged, Yehuda Amichai, Anadad Eldan, Nathan Zach, Dan Pagis, Haim Gouri, Aryeh Sivan, Moshe Dor, Yehudit Kafri, Dalia Ravikovitch, Asher Reich, Meir Wieseltier, Aliza Shenhar, Edna Aphek, Rachel Chalfi, Yitzhak Laor, and Maya Bejerano.
My third book, Creator, Are You Listening?: Israeli Poets on God and Prayer (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006) focused on the relationship of six contemporary Israeli poets with a variety of Jewish cultural backgrounds to the experience of the absence and presence of God and to the nature of prayer. These poets include: Zelda MIshkovsky, Yehuda Amichai, Asher Reich, Rivka Miriam, Admiel Kosman, and Hava Pinhas-Cohen.
My fourth book, Beyond Political Messianism: The Poetry of Second-Generation Religious Zionist Settlers (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2011) is about the emergence of poetry among religious Zionists associated with the Israeli settler movement in the West Bank.
My fifth book, The Charm of Wise Hesitancy: Talmudic Stories in Contemporary Israeli Culture (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2017) is about the resurgence of interest among both secular and religious Jewish Israelis in Talmudic stories during the second half of the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first century as an illustration of the rediscovery of repressed cultural texts as relevant to contemporary concerns.
I have also written on the portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict in contemporary Israeli fiction, the responses in kibbutz Passover haggadot to the conflict over Israel/Palestine by Jews and Arabs during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, and the retelling of the biblical Exodus narrative in a novel by Israeli writer Shulamith Hareven.