Zvi Ankori rarely sits down while lecturing. Instead, he moved around his classroom, gesturing frequently and pausing on occasion to draw a map or answer a question.
His strong Israeli accent apparently does not bother his students, who praise his informality, enthusiasm and articulateness.
Ankori, who teaches two Summer School courses, is the only person in the world known to hold the position of professor of Greek Jewry, his title at the University of Tel Aviv.
Ankori says his interest in Greek history revolved around the historical encounter there among three major religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The first of Ankori's two Summer School courses deals almost exclusively with the history of Arab-Israeli conflict. The second concentrates on Palestinian history.
Ankori's teaching philosophy is based on the idea that each student should be treated as an individual--a hard-working individual. "I will not tolerate those who walk in between raindrops and try not to get wet," he says.
A number of Ankori's students take both of his courses, and some can invariably be found with Ankori after a class, discussing issues outside of the curriculum.
Although new to Harvard, Ankori has had some experience on the United States academic scene. He has spent several years of his nearly 25-year academic career teaching at Columbia and Ohio State, and he received his doctorate from Columbia in 1956.
Ankori declined to attempt a comparison of his Harvard and Israeli students, but he said his Harvard students comprise an overall "eager, mature and responsive" group.