Senior Lecturer at the History Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Before joining the Hebrew University in 2012 I spent five years as a visiting PhD student at the University of Munich, and another three years as a visiting post-doctoral fellow at Duke University. My book, “A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany,” appeared in 2012 with Stanford University Press. The book explores the unique and unlikely phenomenon of “Christian Yiddishism” in early modern Germany, namely the Christian interest in and engagement with Yiddish language and literature from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century. It explains why some Christians were preoccupied with Yiddish and discusses the various ways in which they depicted this Jewish language and literature in their writings. In the process, it sheds light on the broader linguistic, theological, cultural, and social concerns of early modern Christian authors and their intellectual environment.
My main fields of interest are German and German-Jewish history and culture; Christian-Jewish relations; Yiddish language and literature; the history of the Yiddish-German encounter; and the social and cultural history of language and translation. My current project explores the place of Old Yiddish literature in modern German and German-Jewish culture.
Employment and Positions
Oct’ 2020- Chair of the History Department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2019-2020 Interim Director of the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2018-2019 Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Oxford UK
2017- Senior Lecturer (tenured), Department of History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2012-2017 Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Department of History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Fall 2010 Visiting Lecturer at the Department of History, Tel Aviv University
2009-2012 Visiting Scholar, Department of History, Duke University
2010 PhD The Graduate School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University
2004-2009 PhD studies at The Graduate School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University, and as a visiting doctoral student at the Lehrstuhl für Jüdische Geschichte und Kultur, Ludwigs- Maximilians-Universität, Munich.
2001-2004 MA The Graduate School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University. summa cum laude.
1998-2001 BA Department of History, School of History’s Honors Program and Amirim Honors Program in Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, summa cum laude.
Fellowships and Grants (recent years)
2014 Research Grant of the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), Young Scientists Program
2013-2017 Research Grant of the Israel Science Foundation (ISF)
2013-2017 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (CIG)
2012-2015 Yigal Alon Fellowship for Outstanding Junior Faculty, Israeli Council for Higher Education
2012-2013 International Fellowship of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
2012-2013 Gerald Westheimer Career Development Award, Leo Baeck Institute
Honors and Awards (recent years)
2017 Rector's list of excellence in teaching, 2015-16
2016 Rector's list of excellence in teaching, 2014-15
Contested Heritage: Old Yiddish Texts in German-Jewish Culture (1800-1938) (work title, in preparation)
A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012.
Reviews: The American Historical Review 118:5 (2013), 1587-1589; Sixteenth Century Journal 44:4 (2013), 1183-1185; AJS Review 37:2 (2013), 425-427; Religious Studies Review 39:4 (2013), 282-283;The Yiddish Daily Forward April 25, 2013; Jewish Culture and History 15:1-2 (2014), 141-144; Journal of Early Modern History 18:6 (2014), 609-611
Irene Aue-Ben-David, Aya Elyada, Moshe Sluhovsky, and Christian Wiese (eds.), Jews and Protestants from the Reformation to the Present, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020
Aya Elyada, Guest Editor of Yiddish in German and German-Jewish Culture: Special Issue of Naharaim – Journal of German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History 10 (2016)
- “Contested Heritage: Wissenschaft des Judentums and the Yiddish Biblical Literature in Nineteenth-Century Germany,” Zion: A Quarterly for the Research of Jewish History [in Hebrew] (forthcoming 2021)
- “Between Rejection and Nostalgia: Yiddish as a Post-Vernacular in Modern German-Jewish Culture,” Chidushim – Studies in the History of German and Central European Jewry 20 (2018): 6-26 [in Hebrew]
- "Deutsch-jüdisches Gelehrtentum und altjiddische Literatur: Zur Rehabilitierung einer vergessenen Tradition," Naharaim – Journal of German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History 11 (2017), 167-188
- "Bridges to a Bygone Jewish Past? Abraham Tendlau and the Rewriting of Yiddish Folktales in Nineteenth-Century Germany," Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 16 (2017), 1-18
- "Early Modern Yiddish and the Jewish Volkskunde, 1880-1938," Jewish Quarterly Review 107 (2017), 182-208
- "Zwischen Austausch und Polemik: Christliche Übersetzungen jiddischer Literatur im Deutschland der Frühneuzeit," Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 69 (2017), 47-73
- “Yiddish and German in Early Modern Christian Works,” Chidushim – Studies in the History of German and Central European Jewry 15 (2011), 41-55 [in Hebrew]
- “‘Eigentlich Teutsch’? Depictions of Yiddish and Its Relations to German in Early Modern Christian Writings,” European Journal of Jewish Studies 4 (2010), 23-42
- “Protestant Scholars and Yiddish Studies in Early Modern Europe,” Past and Present 203 (2009), 69-98
- “Yiddish – Language of Conversion? Linguistic Adaptation and Its Limits in Early Modern Judenmission,” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 53 (2008), 3-29
Daniel Lehmann, 2018-: Representations of the Reformation in the Protestant-Jewish Polemic: Intra-Christian Conflict in the "Presence" of Jews (Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; joint supervision with Prof. Ram Ben-Shalom).
Meirav Reuveni, 2017-: Polemics on the Hebrew Language in the Tri-Lingual Jewish Press in Central and Eastern Europe 1856-1914 (Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; joint supervision with Prof. Richi Cohen).
Amit Levy, 2016-: The New Orient: German-Jewish Orientalism in Palestine/Israel (Ph.D. thesis, joint supervision with Prof. Yfaat Weiss).
Yael Levi, 2016-2020: The Emergence of the Yiddish and Hebrew Press in the United States, 1870–1900: Culture, Law, and Politics (Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; joint supervision with Prof. Yfaat Weiss)
Niels Eggerz, 2013-2020: Converted Through God’s Grace, Becoming like the Other: Johan Kemper (Moses Aaron/Johann Christian Jacob) and his Commentary on the Zohar (Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; joint supervision with Prof. Paweł Maciejko)
Tuvia Singer, 2013-2020: Jews, 'Gypsies' and the Volk: Wandering Minorities in the Folk-Narratives and German Mythology of Brothers Grimm and Ludwig Bechstein (Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; joint supervision with Prof. Galit Hasan-Rokem)
Rima (Reyze) Turner, 2017-2019: Confronting the Jewish Rejection of Jewish Particularism: Chaim Zhitlowsky’s Pedagogical Intervention into Ashkenazi American Assimilation (M.A. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, summa cum laude)
Daniel Lehmann, 2016-2018: Anthonius Margaritha's Refutation of the Jews' Entire Faith and the Past, Present, and Future of the Christian-Jewish Polemic (M.A. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, summa cum laude)
Meirav Reuveni, 2015-2017: Shai Ish Hurwitz and the Journal "heAtid" (1903-1914): Historical Consciousness and the Revival of the Hebrew Language (M.A. thesis, magna cum laude).
Amit Levy, 2014-2016: From Breslau to Jerusalem: Martin Plessner's Encounters with the Orient (M.A. thesis, joint supervision with Prof. Yfaat Weiss, summa cum laude).
Academic Teaching (selected courses)
Language and the Construction of Culture in Germany, 15th-18th centuries
The Yiddish-German Encounter Throughout the Ages
Christian Hebraism in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
The Reformation as a Religious, Social, and Cultural Revolution
Luther, the Reformation and the German Language
Christian-Jewish Relations in the First Reich (1096-1648)
Religion and Society in 16th-Century Germany
Poverty and Crime in Early Modern Europe
Subordinated Groups in Early Modern Germany
Women and Gender in the Protestant Reformation
Books and Readers in Early Modern Germany