After graduating from Sewanee, Israel taught high school in Indiana before heading to Houston, Texas, for graduate school. There he married Sewanee classmate Katherine D. Christy, C'95 and completed the M.A. and Ph.D. in history at Rice University. Since earning his doctorate, Israel taught at Texas A&M University and returned for a short but wonderful stint teaching history at Sewanee (2003-2005) before heading to his current post at Auburn University.
Israel is the author of Before Scopes: Evangelicalism, Education, and Evolution in Tennessee, 1870-1925 (University of Georgia Press, 2004); the Tennessee Historical Commission recognized Before Scopes as its best book for 2004. In 2005, Israel was selected as one of the promising Young Scholars in American Religion by Indianapolis's Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. Israel was one of the contributors to the recent sesquicentennial history of the University of the South, and he thoroughly enjoyed the research and intellectual interchange with current Sewanee faculty on the project. He is currently researching religion, race, gender, and social reform in the early twentieth century South.