Dr. Aya Elyada

Aya Elyada
Interim Director 2019/20
Humanities Building, Room 6507

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 cultural history of German translations of Yiddish literature from the sixteenth century and up to the present day.





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, Ludwig-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


Selected Publications


Yiddish in German: A Cultural History of Translation, 1560-1938 (work title, in preparation)

A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012

On the book in the Stanford University Press.

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

Selected Articles

  • "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


Research Students
Current Students:

Daniel Lehmann, 2017-: Christian-Jewish Polemics in the Reformation Era: Biblical Verses in the Polemical Writings of Antonius Margaritha (M.A. thesis)
Rima (Reyze) Turner, 2017-: The High Price of the Melting Pot: Prophecies about Assimilation in the American Yiddish Press (M.A. thesis)
Meirav Reuveni, 2017-: The Revival of the Hebrew Tongue in Europe of the Early Twentieth Century (Ph.D. thesis, joint supervision with Prof. Richi Cohen)
Yael Levi, 2016-: The Transition of Hebrew and Yiddish Press from Europe to the US in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century (Ph.D. thesis, joint supervision with Prof. Yfaat Weiss)
Amit Levy, 2016-: The New Orient: German-Jewish Orientalism in Palestine/Israel (Ph.D. thesis, joint supervision with Prof. Yfaat Weiss)
Niels Eggerz, 2015-: A Man with Three Names – A Tree with Three Branches: Johan Kemper’s Conversion to Christianity and His Kabbalistic Studies (Ph.D. thesis, joint supervision with Dr. Paweł Maciejko)
Tuvia Singer, 2013-: Jews and Other Minorities in 19th-Century German Folk Tales (Ph.D. thesis, joint supervision with Prof. Galit Hasan-Rokem)

Past Students:
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 16 th -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

Research languages: Hebrew (native), English (fluent), German (fluent), Yiddish (excellent reading skills), Latin (good reading skills)