Faculty and Student News and Awards

Faculty News and Awards

Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature 
Robert received several awards for his work, including the Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Panunzio Award from the University of California, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Jewish Book Council. In addition, his book The Art of Bible Translation was released by Princeton University Press.

Robert Braun, Center for Jewish Studies faculty member and Assistant Professor of Sociology Robert received numerous awards for his book, Protectors of Pluralism, including the Barrington Moore Best Book Award and the Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award 2020.

John Efron, Director, Center for Jewish Studies
In 2019, the 3rd edition of The Jews: A History, a book that John co-wrote with Matthias Lehmann and Steven Weitzman was published by Routledge.  He is currently at work on a new book, All Consuming: Germans, Jews, and the Meaning of Meat

Tomer Persico, visiting faculty from Tel Aviv University
Tomer recently published “Judaism and Meditation” in The Oxford Handbook of Meditation (July 2020), and “Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg (Shaga”r) in The New Jewish Canon (August 2020), as well as two articles in Haaretz English on new Jewish identities in Israel, and the sources of white supremacy and antisemitism today.   Persico’s second book, examining the way the idea of the Image of God influenced Modern Western civilization, will be published in Hebrew by Yedioth books in winter 2020.


Francesco Spagnolo, Curator, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
Francesco is also an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music and is a faculty affiliate in the Center for Jewish Studies. In 2020, he was appointed scholar-in-residence for the “Jews & Music” initiative of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. https://philharmonia.org/jews-music/

Student News and Awards

  • Congratulations to our two students who won the 2020-21 annual Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies.
    • Wyatt Grauman (UG ) received $1500 for “Analysis on the Generalization of Holocause Memory and Display”
    • Oren Yirmiya (G) received $1500 for “Forgetting World Literature: Aggadah, Wisdom, and the Crisis of Tradition in Kafka’s On Parables and Tractate Shabbat 138b-139a”
  • Congratulations to Oren Yirmia!  Oren will be receiving the CJS Outstanding GSI Achievement Award this year!

Oren taught JS 39 (Spring 2020)–“Escape Artists in Jewish Popular Culture and Literature: Houdini, Kafka, Kirby, Chabon” and JS 100 class (Fall 2020)–“Travelers, Immigrants, Refugees: Introduction to Jewish History and Literature”, and has received very positive feedback from his students.

  • Congratulations to 2021 graduate, Jenna Kemp!
Jenna has received a 3-year postdoc appointment at the University of Basel on a project called “Transforming Memories of Collective Violence in the Hebrew Bible, ”directed by faculty member Sonja Amman.



Jewish Studies Careers Launched

Our graduates are contributing to the field of Jewish studies on local, national, and international levels. Recent graduate students secured teaching positions at prestigious universities in Israel, Canada, and the U.S — Ben Gurion University, Haifa University, University of Minnesota, McGill University, University of Illinois, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt.