Research Groups

A Context Informed Perspective to the Study of Refugees' and Asylum Seekers’ Lives

This research group aims to broaden the often-limited view and understanding of refugees and asylum seekers lives. By employing qualitative methodologies, based on a context-informed approach, the group studies the topic of refugees and asylum seekers in Israel and in Europe. The members of the group are researching a variety of topics including: unaccompanied minors; parenthood, risk and protection of children; the “triadic” relationship between social workers; and interpreters and refugees in social services.

Research team: Dr. Yochay Nadan, Prof. Mimi Ajzenstadt, Dr. Bella Kovner, Lior Birger, Sabita Deshemaru, Or Kedem

For more information:

Birger, L., & Peled, E. (2017). Intimate strangers: Eritrean male asylum seekers’ perceptions of marriage and sexuality. Culture, health & sexuality, 19(12), 1360-1373.

Birger, L. Shoham, S & Bolzman, L. (2018). Better a prison in Israel then dying on the way: testimonies of refugees who ‘voluntarily’ departed Israel to Rwanda and Uganda and gained protection in Europe. An independent research report (37 pages).



Attachment in Large Families

The goal of the attachment research group is to describe and understand relational networks in families from different cultural groups. Attachment theory and research is based on the family model within the Western middle class. This model is applied to families worldwide but does not adequately capture their developmental dynamics. In Israel the study specifically focuses on families with many children, such as Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families, Christian and Muslim Arab families and families from Ethiopian origin. We try to assess the subjective representations of relationships of the family members with a multimethod approach.

Research Team: Prof. Heidi Keller, Hannah Bartl

For more information: 

Caught in the Middle: Children’s Exposure to High-Intensity Parental Conflict

Many children worldwide are exposed on a daily basis to high-intensity parental conflict between their parents. The overall aim of the project is to enhance the theoretical and practical knowledge in the field while exploring it using various perspectives. 

Research Team: Dr. Carmit Katz, Dr Hanita Kosher, Revital Katz

For more information:


Child Arrest

The child arrest research group is studying the criminological, victimological and psycho-social aspects related to child arrest in Occupied East Jerusalem. The qualitative and quantitative data for the group's studies includes police arrest records, analysis of court verdicts, protocols of Knesset discussions concerning child rights and children's access to justice, and reports published by the government, human rights organizations and both the Israeli and Palestinian Media. Moreover, over the past five years we have also conducted round table discussions; in-depth interviews with children and their families as well as professionals (e.g. public prosecution, public defense lawyers, professionals working for local and international NGOs, welfare and law enforcement professionals). In addition to being the only academic group that thoroughly studies all aspects related to children's access to justice in Occupied East Jerusalem, we are also involved in activism to promote children's rights. These include court watch visits, round table discussions, and participation in relevant Knesset discussions.

Research Team: Prof. Nadera Shalhoub Kevorkian, Dr. Bella Kovner, Ms. Shahrazad Odeh, Ms. Abeer Otman

For more information:

Bella Kovner and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2016). Children’s Rights, State Criminality and Settler Colonialism: Violence and Child Arrest in Occupied East Jerusalem, State Crime Journal 5(1): 109-138. DOI: 10.13169/statecrime.5.1.0109.

Bella Kovner and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2017). Child Arrest, Settler Colonialism, and the Israeli Juvenile System: A Case Study of Occupied East Jerusalem. The British Journal of Criminology. DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azx059.

Bella Kovner and Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (2017). Children, Human Rights Organizations, and the Law under Occupation: The Case of Palestinian Children in East Jerusalem. The International Journal of Human Rights. DOI:

Coping and Resilience Facing Medical Illness

This group focuses on promoting health and coping with illness. Our research explores the impact of illness, including End of Life Care and the impact on patients, their family members and professional caregivers. Our theoretical and empirical background is based on the prism of trauma, resilience and literature on post-traumatic growth. Currently, we are working on two main projects, the first: Predicting effective adaptation to breast cancer to help women BOUNCE Back: a collaboration with experts from the fields of oncology, computer modeling, psychology, and social medicine from Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Israel. The second project studies medical health professionals in several Israeli medical centers, and how they are influenced, both professionally and personally, by the provision of end of life care. A better understanding of these influences can help devise specific interventions to reduce professional burnout in this field. The current studies are taking place: 1) Predicting effective adaptation to breast cancer to help women BOUNCE Back 2) Effect of providing End of Life care of medical health personne. 

Research Team: Prof. Ruth Pat-Horenczyk, Yaffa Stokar, Rawan Dahabre, Hanan Khoury

For more information:


1. Hamama-Raz, Y., Perry, S., Pat-Horenczyk, R., Bar-Levav, R., Stemmer, S. (2012). Factors affecting participation in group intervention in patients after adjuvant treatment for early-study breast cancer. Acta Oncologica, 51, 208-214.

2. Pat-Horenczyk, R., Perry, S., Hamama-Raz, Y., Ziv, Y., Schramm-Yavin, S., Stemmer, S.M. (2015). Posttraumatic Growth in Breast Cancer Survivors: Constructive and Illusory Processes. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28, 214-222. DOI: 10.1002/jts.22014.

3. Hamama-Raz, Y., Pat-Horenczyk, R., Perry, S., Ziv, Y., Bar-Levav, R., & Stemmer, S. M. (2016). The Effectiveness of Group Intervention on Enhancing Cognitive Emotion Regulation Strategies in Breast Cancer Patients: A 2-Year Follow-up. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 15(2), 175-182.‏ DOI: 10.1177/1534735415607318.

4. Pat-Horenczyk, R., Saltzman, L. Y., Hamama-Raz, Y., Perry, S.., Ziv, Y., Ginat-Frolich, R., & Stemmer, S. M. (2016). Stability and Transitions in Posttraumatic Growth Trajectories among Cancer Survivors: LCA and LTA Analyses. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, practice and policy, 8(5), 541-5419. DOI: 10.1037/tra0000094.

5. Hamama-Raz, Y., & Pat-Horenczyk, R., Roziner, I, Perry S. Stemmer, S. (2019). Can Posttraumatic Growth after Breast Cancer Promote Positive Coping? A Cross-Lagged Study. Psycho-Oncology.

Submitted for Publication:

Hamama, L., Hamama-Raz, Y., Stokar Y.N., Pat-Horenczyk, R., Brom, D. & Harlev-Bron, E. (under review). Burnout and perceived social support in physicians and nurses: The mediating role of secondary traumatization. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Hamama-Raz, Y., Hamama, L., Stokar Y.N., Pat-Horenczyk, R. Brom, D. & Baron-Harlev, E. (under review) Secondary traumatic stress and posttraumatic growth: Comparing pediatric hospital professional sectors. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

In preparation:
Stokar, Y.N. & Pat-Horenczyk, R. The effects of end of life care on medical healthcare professionals.

Cultural Competence and Language Accessibility

Our research group is interested in promoting studies related to language accessibility of different populations, for example, the practice of interpretation and intercultural mediation, the experience of the professional relationship in a translated conversation and organizational preparation for community interpretation. We aim to develop knowledge to inform policy and practice in order to improve services operating with diverse populations. The current study is entitled: Community interpretation in the social services: An exploratory study.

Research Team: Dr. Orna Shemer, Dr.Yochay Nadan, Tamar Schwartz

For more information:


Nadan, Y. & Shemer, O. (2017). Community interpretation in the social services: Literature review and an exploratory study (96 pages). Joint Distribution Committee-IDC and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services. [Hebrew]

Shemer, O. (2016). Inter-cultural mediation: critical view on the development of a cultural-sensitive role. In B. Bashir., G. Ben Porat, & Y. Yona (Eds.), Multi-culturalism and policy (pp. 226-263). Jerusalem: Van leer Jerusalem institute. [Hebrew]

Family Group Conference Model for Families with Children at Risk

A Family Group Conference (FGC) is a model based process used for reaching a joint decision between and for families, professionals, and community members regarding children at risk . This process is led by a trained coordinator, who over a period of a few months accompanies the family and the people from the community who support them, in order to come together to build an intervention plan to improve the well being of children and reduce risk. This model, carried out in several countries, is currently run as a pilot study in Israel in several cities as a possible alternative to "decision committees" for children at risk. The pilot is currently being implemented with families from diverse cultural groups (e.g. Ultra orthodox, immigrants, Bedouins) and is led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Walfare, JDC-Ashalim and the Ministry of Immigration and Integration. The pilor itself is carried out by Mosaica.
This research group is conducting a longitudinal evaluation study of mixed methods by interviewing parents, children, social workers, coordinators and supportive members from the community. In addition to understanding aspects of FGC practice, we also explore perceptions of risk and protection within cultural context and the relationship between the diverse communities and the welfare systems.

Research team: Prof. Dorit Roer-Strier, Dr. Orna Shemer, Dr. Yasmin Abud-Halabi, Yan Serdtse, Liraz Mizrahi-Levy, Dimitri Gutman, Gilat Biton, Ahlam Abokirn, Michal Neomi Tayar

For more information: Dr. Orna Shemer:

Fathers, Fatherhood & Fathering

Parenting research in large-scale societies initially focused on mothers and when fathers were studied they typically were white, Euro-American, and middle-class. Currently, evidence is available from cultures in every continent but the coverage within and between nations varies widely. Almost all research on fathers across cultures since 1990 suggests some change in the direction of greater involvement by fathers. Our research group focuses on Fathers, Fatherhood & Fathering in different contexts in Israel. Our goal is to provide, facilitate, and disseminate research that documents parenting experiences and the perceptions of the fathers, the challenges and their coping methods. The current studies are taking place include: Perceptions of children's risk among Arab fathers in the Jerusalem Corridor area; The parenting experience of gay fathers who undertook surrogacy abroad; Fatherhood of stolen moments: Involvement of Israeli and FSU born fathers in infant care; and Mentalizing features in paternal speech of Israeli and FSU born fathers.

Research Team: Prof. Orya Tishbi, Dr. Yochay Nadan, Dr. Yasmin Aboud Halabi, Dr. Maya Tzfati, Nati Biton, Louis Jaber.

For more information: 



The study, run as a joint international research group of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Osnabruck University in Germany, studies the comparison of Israeli born and Former Soviet Union born fathers of young infants and the emerging subjectivity of mothers and the development of early mother-infant relationships among Israeli born and Former Soviet Union born mothers of young infants. In addition, the team is studying parental investments from an evolutionary-developmental perspective, focusing on psychological investments that show up during dyadic interactions, among cross-cultural samples within Israel and Germany.

Research Team: Yan Serdtse, Ruthi Senesh, Niklas Dworazik 


Parent Education/Support Programs in Welfare Services

This research group focuses on exploring the practice of “parent education” or “parent support programs” in the context of public welfare services. We aim to develop knowledge regarding its theoretical foundations, its relevance for diverse populations (people living in poverty, ethnic minority groups etc.) as well as its outcomes. The current study is entitled: Perspectives of parents and professionals regarding parent education/support programs in welfare services.

Research Team:  Dr.Yochay Nadan, Dr. Carmit Katz, Zohar Sharvit, Eliya Shemer

For more information:

Risk & Protection: Parents and Professionals Perceptions Regarding Risk and Protection of Children

The risk and protection group is triangulating perceptions of parents and professionals (e.g. social workers, teachers, community leaders) regarding the topics of children at risk, child abuse and neglect as well as protective variables. The studies are conducted in Israel (in diverse communities, such as with immigrants and refugees, the Ultra-Orthodox, Bedouins, etc.) and abroad. We aim to: 1) Document communalities and differences in perceptions of various communities and to compare the views of parents and professionals. 2) Learn about perceptions of professionals, both professionals from the studied communities and those who are not from within the communities. 3) Discover ways to promote the protection and safety of children. 4) Document available interventions for children at risk and their utilization by different communities as well as learn about advantages and challenges of utilizing these programs. 5) Learn about context specific community enhanced interventions in different communities. The data contributes both to theory and practice in the area of risk and protection. The current studies are being conducted within the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the Ethiopian community, the LGBT community and with families of Moroccan descent.

Research Team: Dorit Roer-Strier, Yochay Nadan, Netanel Gemara, Shelly Engdaow-Vanda, Lital Yona, Rivky Kising

For more information:

Sexuality and Sexual Abuse

This group deals with studies of sexuality and sexual abuse in a variety of contexts and in an attempt to examine the many facets of the phenomenon and its various and varied manifestations. The current studies being conducted include: “Child sexual abuse by authority figures among Haredi community: Personal and social perspective”; “Sibling sexual abuse (SSA) and involvement in sexual acts between siblings in the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox society: Perspective of adults who were involved in these actions in childhood”; “‘Brother’s Salvation’: Personal perspectives of children and wives of Goel Ratzon (the former members of the cult)”; Preadolescent peer-to-peer sexual abuse (PSA): Professionals perspectives”; Perceptions of sexuality and sexual abuse among religious women in social networks and in virtual discourse” .

Research Team: Dr Dafna Tener, Efrat Lusky, Amitai Marmor, Aya Almog, Shosh Turgeman, Efrat Lehman, Tzfnat Melamed

For more information:


The LGBT Community: Children, Adolescents, Young Adults and Their Families

This research group aims to broaden our understanding regarding the lives of children and families in the LGBT community. We adopt intersectional, resilience, and human rights approaches to study a variety of topics including: parenthood in same sex families, risk and protection of children in same sex families and the inclusion of transgender students in the academic arena.

Research team: Dr. Yochay Nadan, Dr. Maya Tzfati, Dr. Brie Radis, Mr. Netanel Biton. 

For more information:

Young Children’s Perspectives on Risk and Protection

 This research group aims to develop and promote the discourse on young children's perspectives among local and international researchers. The main questions this group aims to understand include: 1. What can we learn from young children? Based on studies conducted with children, what issues are children dealing with? What can we learn from them about children's worlds and about ourselves? 2. What are the methods to analyze various data collected such as photos, drawings and verbal explanations? Should we regard photography and drawing as independent research methodologies or triggers for verbal text? 3. What is the impact of context on children's perspectives? Various contexts such as culture, ethnicity, religion, politics, economy, migration are affecting children's worlds. What are possible ways to assess the effects of contexts on children perspectives? 4. What are the ethical dilemmas and challenges involved in researching children perspectives? Is it possible to develop a guideline that is acceptable across our diverse research locations? 5. Impact and practical implications for the pre-school educational systems. What could be the contributions of the growing body of knowledge on the practice of pre-school teachers and other members of the educational systems dealing with preschoolers?. The current studies taking place include:  “Risk and Protection in the Views of Immigrant Children”; “Analysing Visual Data” and “Combined Analysis of Multiple Data”.

Research Team: Dr. Yael Dayan, Prof. Dorit Roer-Strier, Dr. Yael Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Dr. Nira Wahle

For more information:


Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Dayan, Y., Wahle, N., & Roer-Strier D. (2019). A qualitative interview with young children: What encourages or inhibits young children's participation? International Journal of Qualitative Methods 18, 1-9


Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Ashter, S., Dayan, Y., Roer-Strier D. & Wahle, N. (2019). Agency in children's perspectives. Megamot 54(2), 71-94 [Hebrew] 

Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Roer-Strier D., Dayan, Y., & Wahle, N. (2019). Children at Risk: Children’s Perspectives of Risk and Protection. In: T. Tulviste, D. L. Best & J. L. Gibbons (Eds.). Children’s social worlds in cultural context (pp. 201-216). Springer. 

Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Dayan, Y., & Wahle, N. (in print). Risk and protection: Children's perspectives. In: J.E. Korbin, R.D. Krugman, D. Roer-Strier & Y. Nadan (Eds.). Context-Informed Perspectives of Child Risk and Protection in Israel. Springer's Child Maltreatment Series. 

Wahle, N., Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Dayan, Y., Erlichman, O., & Roer-Strier D. (2017). On the margins of race, immigration and war: Perspectives on risk and protection of young children from the Ethiopian community in Israel. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 25(2), 305-320. doi: 10.1080/1350293X.2017.1288387

Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Kurman, J. and Roer-Strier D. (2017). The role of resilience in the adjustment of immigrant youth who experienced filial responsibility. Society and Welfare, 37(1), 59-85. [Hebrew]

Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., & Kosner, A. (2015). Psychological adjustment of immigrant youth from FSU in Israel: The aspects of language and cultural brokering. Israeli Ministry of Education, Hed Haulpan, 104, 89-104. [Hebrew] 

Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Kurman, J., & Roer-Strier, D. (2015). Adjustment enhancer or moderator? The Role of resilience in postmigration filial responsibility. Journal of Family Psychology29(3), 438-446. doi: 10.1037/fam0000080

Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Kurman, J., & Roer-Strier, D. (2015). Immigrant’s emotional reactions to filial responsibilities and related psychological outcomes. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 45, 104-115. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2015.02.002

Ponizovsky, Y. Dimitrova, R., Schachner, M.K., & van de Schoot, R. (2013). The Satisfaction With Life Scale: Measurement invariance across immigrant groups. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10, 526-532. doi: 10.1080/17405629.2012.707778

Ponizovsky, Y., Kurman, J., & Roer Strier, D. (2012). When role reversal and brokering meet: Filial responsibility among young immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 987-997. doi: 10.1037/a0029913


Dayan, Y., Manzura, S., Porat, A., Ponizovsky-Bergelson, Y., Ben-Nun, N. & Harel-Kanot, Z. (2017). Young children's perspectives: A course planning guide.