Visiting Scholars

Our Scholars, Fellows and Professors

Each academic year, the Center for Jewish Studies welcomes a group of scholars from around the world to gather at Harvard to engage in full-time research in Jewish Studies. By drawing together scholars from a variety of universities and a variety of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, the Center for Jewish Studies makes it possible for these visiting scholars to share their research not only with each other but also with members of the Harvard community.

The Center is pleased to announce the visiting fellows, professors, and scholars who will be in residence at Harvard University during the 2018-2019 academic year.

2018-2019 Harry Starr Fellows in Judaica:
Abraham (A.J.) Berkovitz, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (spring term)
Aleksandra Buncic, Independent scholar (academic year)
Jason Lustig, University of California at Los Angeles (academic year)
Martina Mampieri, Sapienza University of Rome, IRHT-CNRS, Paris (academic year)
Nathan Mastnjak, Indiana University (academic year)
David Sclar, Independent scholar (academic year)

2018-2019 Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow:
Rabbi David Geenstein, Congregation Shomrei Emunah (spring)

2018-2019 Visiting Scholar:
Christina Spaeti, Universität Freiburg, Switzerland (academic year)

2018-2019 Weinstock Visiting Professor:
Yair Zakovitch, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (fall)

2018-2019 Fellows:
Michal Ohana, Ben-Gurion University (fall)
Gil Rubin, Israel Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow (academic year)

Abraham (A.J.) Berkovitz, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (spring term)

A.J. Berkovitz is Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, USA. His current book-project, The Psalms in Late Antiquity: A History of Reading, focuses on the late antique reception and practice of the Psalter, and explores issues related to book history and the Jewish-Christian encounter. He is also the co-editor of Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity: Authorship, Law and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition (Routledge, 2018).

Aleksandra Buncic, Independent scholar (academic year)

Aleksandra Bunčić (Sarajevo, 1983), graduated summa cum laude from the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Sarajevo, where she studied Art History and Pedagogy. Dr. Buncic completed her doctorate in Art History at the University of Zagreb where she had been researching the iconography of a fourteenth-century Spanish illuminated manuscript produced for Jews known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. Her research on this extraordinary manuscript had been awarded several times. In 2010 and 2011, she was a Rothberg Family Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2013, she was a fellow in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University in North Carolina. In 2014, she was a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In 2015,  she received the  fellowship for final year PhD students (acknowledgment of the institution restricted). Dr. Buncic was a postdoctoral fellow in the Departments for Art History and Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2015). From 2007 to 2015 she had been employed at the Commission to Preserve National Monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specializing in the history of art and involved in the expert recording, processing and evaluation of properties to be designated as national monuments. Currently she works as an academic advisor on an international animated documentary dedicated to the study of the transmission of knowledge, of the book as a medium, and to the fascinating story of the Sarajevo Haggadah. Her current research interest also includes an unusual “astronomical anthology” that was written in Hebrew in Catalonia in 1361 (The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, LJS 57).

Jason Lustig, University of California at Los Angeles (academic year)

Jason Lustig is a Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies and the Gerald Westheimer Early Career Fellow at the Leo Baeck Institute. Dr. Lustig received his PhD from the UCLA Department of History in 2017, and his research focuses on the history of Jewish archives in Germany, the United States, and Israel/Palestine. His work has appeared in the Journal of Contemporary History and is forthcoming in American Jewish History (summer 2018), and he is currently preparing a book manuscript titled A Time to Gather: Archives and the Control of Jewish Culture. He also is the creator and host of the Jewish History Matters podcast (

Martina Mampieri, Sapienza University of Rome, IRHT-CNRS, Paris (academic year)

Martina Mampieri earned a joint PhD in History and Jewish Studies at the University of Roma Tre and the University of Hamburg (2017). She is postdoctoral research fellow at Sapienza University of Rome and has spent a six-month visiting research fellowship to conduct archival research on Isaiah Sonne at the Yad Ben-Zvi Institute and the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem (January-July 2018). She collaborates on Digital Humanities projects such as RACINES. Critical Edition of David Qimhi’s Sefer ha-Shorashim and its Latin Translation, in Digital Form, based at the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes (IRHT/CNRS, Paris), and Footprints. Jewish Books Through Time and Place. Her doctoral dissertation on the Hebrew chronicle Divre ha-yamim shel ha-‘apifior Paolo ha-revi’i ha-niqra Teatino by Benjamin Nehemiah ben Elnathan from Civitanova Marche (16th cent.) combines a first annotated English translation and a new edition of the Hebrew text with an in-depth study of the historical background. The resulting book is currently under review for publication. She has published peer-reviewed articles and others are forthcoming. Martina has been a visiting research fellow at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati (2016). Her research interests include Jewish history and historiography in the early modern period; Italian Jewry; Hebrew books and manuscripts; material culture; Hebrew language and literature; Jewish-Christian relationships and polemics.

Nathan Mastnjak, Indiana University (academic year)

Nathan Mastnjak (PhD, University of Chicago, 2015) has taught and conducted postdoctoral research in the literary traditions of the Hebrew Bible at Indiana University. His work focuses on issues of authority and the materiality of texts. He is the author of Deuteronomy and the Emergence of Textual Authority in Jeremiah (Mohr Siebeck, 2016) as well as articles in The Journal of Religion, Vetus Testamentum, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Biblical Interpretation. His current book project, which will be published with Oxford University Press, is entitled The Scrolls of the Prophets. Through an investigation of the prophetic literature, this study suggests that many biblical compositions had their material beginnings in collections rather than single book-length scrolls. Building on these observations, The Scrolls of the Prophets seeks to reframe how biblical scholarship imagines what it calls the “books” of the Bible.

David Sclar, Independent scholar (academic year)

David Sclar studies early modern Jewry, with emphases on social and religious history, communal and individual identity, and the history of the book. He has held fellowships at Princeton University, the University of Oxford, the University of Toronto, and New York University, and has published articles in the AJS ReviewJewish History, and Jewish Studies Quarterly. He is finishing a book on the Italian kabbalist Moses Hayim Luzzatto, and has started a new project on Western Sephardic religious culture and the development of the Ets Haim Yeshiva in Amsterdam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

2017-2018 Harry Starr Fellows in Judaica:

Theme: “Jewish Literatures and Languages”
Miriam Goldstein, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (academic year)
Alessandro Guetta, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris (spring)
Nili Samet, Bar-Ilan University (spring)
Uri Shachar, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (academic year)
Jeffrey Shandler, Rutgers University (spring)
Willem Smelik, University College London (academic year)
Jonathan Decter, Brandeis University (spring) Honorary Starr Fellow

2017-2018 Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow:
Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum, Hadley Wood Jewish Community (spring)

2017-2018 Alan M. Stroock Fellow:
Kathryn Hellerstein, University of Pennsylvania (spring)

2017-2018 Gerard Weinstock Visiting Professor:
Israel Knohl, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (fall)

2017-2018 Fellows:
Andrés Enrique-Arias, University of the Balearic Islands (fall)
Gil Rubin, Israel Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow (academic year)

2016-2017 Harry Starr Fellows in Judaica:
Theme: “Jews In the Classical World”

Todd Berzon, Bowdoin College (spring)
Todd Berzon is Assistant Professor of Religion at Bowdoin College, where he specializes in the religions of late antiquity, late antique Christianity, and theory and method in the study of religion.  His work broadly focuses on how ancient religious communities that viewed themselves as distinct (orthodox/heterodox, Jewish/Christian, etc.) articulated and negotiated perceived differences. He is the author of Classifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity (University of California Press, 2016).  His current research project, entitled Holy Tongues: The Materiality of Language in the Religious World of Late Antiquity, investigates how Jews and Christians treated language as a material and corporeal marker of piety and impiety.

René Bloch, Universität Bern (spring)
René Bloch is Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Bern (Switzerland), where he holds a joint appointment in the Institute of Jewish Studies and the Institute of Classics. He studied Classics and Hebrew Bible at the University of Basel and the Sorbonne and holds Master degrees from both Universities. He obtained his Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) as well as his “habilitation” from the University of Basel. Bloch’s research focuses mainly on Jewish-Hellenistic literature and more generally on the interactions of Jews and non-Jews in the Greco-Roman period. His most recent publications include: “Leaving Home: Philo of Alexandria on the Exodus“, “What if the Temple of Jerusalem Had not Been Destroyed by the Romans?,” and “Ancient Anti-Semitism (Oxford Bibliographies.)” He is currently working an article on “Philo between Greek and Jewish Myth” and is the chief editor of the forthcoming edition of Philo’s De Vita Mosis (Mohr Siebeck).

Richard Hidary, Yeshiva University (spring)
Richard Hidary is an associate professor of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University. He is the author of Dispute for the Sake of Heaven: Legal Pluralism in the Talmud (Brown University Press, 2010) and Rabbis and Classical Rhetoric: Sophistic Education and Oratory in the Talmud and Midrash (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). His articles appear in AJS Review, Conversations, Dead Sea Discoveries, Dine Israel, Encyclopedia Judaica, Jewish Review of Books, Jewish Studies an Internet Journal, Moment Magazine, Review of Rabbinic Judaism and Okimta.

Lennart Lehmhaus, Freie Universität Berlin, CRC/SFB 980 “Episteme in Motion” (spring)
Lennart Lehmhaus (PhD, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 2013) works as a post-doc research associate within the Collaborative Research Center SFB 980 “Episteme in Motion” on transfer of knowledge at Freie Universität Berlin. As a member of the project A03 (on Encyclopaedic medical episteme in Late Antiquity), he inquires into Talmudic medical discourses, their Jewish epistemologies and encyclopedic dimensions, with a comparative eye on Graeco-Roman and (Ancient) Near Eastern cultures. His dissertation and first book on Seder Eliyahu Zutah combines a first-time annotated German translation and bi-lingual edition with a thorough study of the innovative literary, discursive and socio-cultural dimensions of this work. He has published several articles on rabbinic Judaism and midrashic traditions in a multi-cultural context, and on Jewish literature and knowledge. His research interests comprise ancient Jewish cultures and literatures; knowledge and science in the ancient world; literary theory, intertextuality and socio-cultural readings of texts; trajectories of Jewish traditions into contemporary Jewish and Israeli culture.

Françoise Mirguet, Arizona State University (academic year)
Francoise Mirguet (PhD, University of Louvain, 2007) is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University, where she teaches at the School of International Letters and Cultures and in Jewish Studies. Her current research focuses on emotions in ancient Jewish literature. Her forthcoming book is entitled An Early History of Compassion, and will be published by Cambridge University Press towards the end of 2017. Her first book, La représentation du divin dans les récits du Pentateuque, was published in 2009 by Brill. She has also published several peer-reviewed articles in different journals. Her latest article is “What is an ‘Emotion’ in the Hebrew Bible? An Experience that Exceeds Most Contemporary Concepts,” published in Biblical Interpretation. Francoise has been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard) in Washington, DC. She teaches Biblical Hebrew and ancient Jewish literature, as well as the history of emotions.

Judith Newman, University of Toronto (spring)
Judith Newman is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism in the Department for the Study of Religion at Emmanuel College in University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the history of scriptural interpretation, embodied practices, and the formation of self and communities in early Judaism and Christianity. Her project as a Starr Fellow, “Transforming Time through Speech and Blessing in Early Judaism” seeks to identify ways in which communities constructed alternative temporalities in the Greco-Roman period. She is also completing a monograph Before the Bible: the Liturgical Body and the Formation of Scripture under contract with Oxford University Press and writing a commentary on the book of Judith. Other publications include Early Jewish Prayers in Greek with Pieter van der Horst and Praying by the Book: The Scripturalization of Prayer in Second Temple Judaism.

Ellen Birnbaum, Independent scholar (Honorary Starr Fellow)
Ellen Birnbaum has taught and/or conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard, Brandeis, and Boston University. She is presently co-editing a commentary with Professor John Dillon of Trinity College Dublin on Philo’s On the Life of Abraham for the Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series. To complete the project, they received support from a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant. Author of The Place of Judaism in Philo’s Thought, she has also written several articles on Philo and the ancient Alexandrian Jewish community. For many years, she served as Co-Chair of the Philo of Alexandria Group/Seminar in the Society of Biblical Literature and is currently a member of the Seminar’s Steering Committee.

2016-2017 Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow:
Rabbi Caryn Broitman, Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center (spring)
Rabbi Caryn Broitman has been a congregational rabbi for the past 25 years and has served the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center since 2003. She graduated with a BA in the Comparative Study of Religion from Harvard University and received rabbinic ordination at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. Her central academic interest has been the study of literature and religion, and she has written on the use of literary theory in the teaching of Jewish texts. She further explored this topic as a Melton Fellow in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1996/97. Prior to the Silver Fellowship, Rabbi Broitman participated in the Ministers in the Vicinity program at the Harvard Divinity School, taking classes on literature and religion. Her focus of research for the Silver Fellowship is the “secular sacred” in modernist literature, especially in Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Yiddish writer Jacob Glatstein.

Weinstock Visiting Professor:
Elliot Wolfson, University of California, Santa Barbara

Visiting Scholars:
Moshe Rosman, Bar-Ilan University (summer 2016)

Ofra Tirosh-Becker, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (academic year)
Ofra Tirosh-Becker is a Professor in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature and in the Department of Hebrew Language at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her PhD from the Hebrew University and had her post-doctoral training at Harvard University. She is the Head of the Hebrew University’s Center for Jewish Languages and Literatures, and has recently served as the Chairperson of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Languages. Prof. Tirosh-Becker is also a full member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem. She is the founder and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Jewish Languages published by Brill, a co-editor of Massorot: Studies in Language Traditions and the Jewish Languages, and the editor of the Languages and Linguistics Section of the online edition of the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. She is currently a visiting professor at Harvard University. Tirosh-Becker is a recipient of the 2011 Asaraf Prize from The Academy of the Hebrew Language, the 2013 Ben-Zvi Award for Research of Jewish Communities in the East, and the 2013 Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in the Humanistic Disciplines (First Prize). Her two-volume book Rabbinic Excerpts in Medieval Karaite Literature was published in 2011. Her research focuses on the contacts between Arabic and Hebrew, including: North-African Judeo-Arabic; Judeo-Arabic translations of the Bible and of post-biblical literature; Medieval Hebrew; Hebrew in Algeria in the 19th-20th centuries; The contact between Hebrew and Arabic in the Middle Ages; Rabbinic Hebrew in Karaite writings.

Liu Jinzhong, Nanchang University (academic year)

2015-2016 Harry Starr Fellows in Judaica:
Yonatan Miller (academic year)
Sara Ronis (academic year)
Elisha Russ-Fishbane, New York University (spring)
Sasha Senderovich, University of Colorado-Boulder (academic year)
Nadav Sharon (spring)
Rachel Wamsley (academic year)

Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow:
Geoffrey Goldberg, Pennsylvania (spring)

Yaakov Elman, Yeshiva University (academic year)

Rachel Greenblatt (academic year)
Liora Halperin (academic year)
Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal (summer 2015)
Michal Bar-Asher Siegal (summer 2015)

Upcoming Events

  • Judith Wechsler: Isaiah Berlin: Philosopher of Freedom - (Film Screening) December 11, 2018 at 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Harvard University, Adolphus Busch Hall, 27 Kirkland Street, Lower Level Conference Room, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Judith Wechsler, Professor Emerita, Tufts University"Isaiah Berlin: Philosopher of Freedom" is a 72 minute documentary film tracing the development of his ideas in the context of his life and times. The film presents this intellectual biography through interviews with Sir Isaiah, and filmed for the documentary, with Michael Ignatieff, his biographer, and Henry Hardy, his…
  • Adorno's Aesthetic Theory (Samantha Matherne) February 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Center For European Studies, 27 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA We are now approaching the 50th anniversary of Aesthetic Theory (first published posthumously in 1970), the final masterpiece of the philosopher and social theorist Theodor W. Adorno. This lecture contributes to the semester-long series of scholarly presentations that reflect on the legacy and actuality of this major work. Speaker: Samantha Matherne (Harvard University)Sponsored by the Harvard…
  • Adorno's Aesthetic Theory (Michael Rosen) February 20, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Center For European Studies, 27 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA We are now approaching the 50th anniversary of Aesthetic Theory (first published posthumously in 1970), the final masterpiece of the philosopher and social theorist Theodor W. Adorno. This lecture contributes to the semester-long series of scholarly presentations that reflect on the legacy and actuality of this major work. Speaker: Michael Rosen (Harvard University)Sponsored by the Harvard…