Dr. Aya Elyada

Aya Elyada
Academic Member
Humanities Building, Room 6507

A lecturer (assistant professor) of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2012. Before joining the Hebrew University she 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. her book, A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany, has recently appeared with Stanford University Press (2012). 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.

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


2012-               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

2003-2004       Teaching Assistant

2002-2004       Research Assistant



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 (selected)

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 Culture2012-2013       Gerald Westheimer Career Development Award, Leo Baeck Institute

2009-2011       Postdoctoral Fellowship of Yad Hanadiv Foundation, Israel

2007-2008       Dan David Prize for excellence in PhD studies, Tel Aviv University

2005-2007       Minerva Fellowship of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft for research in Germany

2004-2005       The Hertie Foundation scholarship for studies and research in Germany

2003                Grant of the Wolf Foundation for excellence in MA studies, Tel Aviv University

2001                Prize for excellence in BA studies – Yaacov Talmon Memorial Foundation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1999-2000       Dean’s Prize (Humanities), Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1998-1999       Dean’s Prize (Humanities), Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Selected Publications


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; Jewish Culture and History 15:1-2 (2014), 141-144; The Yiddish Daily Forward April 25, 2013


Selected Articles

  • “From Yiddish into German: Religious Polemics and Intercultural Translation in the Early Modern Period,” Zmanim – A Historical Quarterly 125 (2014), 34-46 [in Hebrew]
  • “Deutsche Übersetzungen jiddischer Literatur: Fünf Jahrhunderte interkultureller Austausch und Kontakt,” in: Marion Aptroot, Efrat Gal-Ed, Roland Gruschka and Simon Neuberg (eds.), Leket. Jiddistik heute / Yiddish Studies Today / yidishe shtudyes haynt, Dusseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press, 2012, 599-614
  • “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
  • “Jewish Language and Religious Criticism: The Depiction of Hebrew and Yiddish in Johann Schudt’s Jewish Curiosities (Frankfurt a.M. 1714-1718), Hayo Haya – A Young Forum for History 3 (2003), 32-50 [in Hebrew; published under the name Aya Lahav]
  • “The Question of the Authentic Victim and the German Film Aimee und Jaguar,” Zmanim – A Historical Quarterly 81 (2003), 54-59 [in Hebrew; published under the name Aya Lahav]



Stephen Bowd (Editor) and J. Donald Cullington (Translator), "On Everyone's Lips": Humanists, Jews, and the Tale of Simon of Trent. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012. Renaissance Quarterly 67.2 (2014), 655-657 Yaacov Deutsch, Judaism in Christian Eyes: Ethnographic Descriptions of Jews and Judaism in Early Modern Europe. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. H-Net Reviews.

Magda Teter, Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011. The Sixteenth Century Journal 43:2 (2012)

David H. Price, Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Renaissance Quarterly 64:2 (2011), 653-655


Selected Conference Presentations and Lectures

2014    “Yiddish, German, and the Place of Language in German-Jewish Historiography,” Undisciplined: German Jewish Studies Today, An International Conference at The Leo Baeck Institute London

2014    “Jewish Culture and the German Volkskunde at the Turn of the Century,” The Xth Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies, Paris

2013    “Christliche Hebraisten und die Übersetzung jiddischer Literatur,” XVI. Symposium für Jiddische Studien in Deutschland, Universität Trier

2013    “Old Yiddish Literature in German-Jewish Scholarship,” The 16th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

2011    “From Yiddish into German: Religious Polemics and Intercultural Translation in the Early Modern Period,” The Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Washington DC

2010    “Christoph Helwig’s Jüdischer Historien (1612): Christian-Jewish Polemics and the Art of Cultural Translation in Early Modern Germany,” The Sixteenth Century Society Annual Conference, Montréal

2009    “The Yiddish Bible in Christian Eyes during the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries,” The 15th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem

2009        “Die jiddische Bibel und die Theologen: Beitrag zur sakralen Dimension jüdischer Geschichte im Heiligen Römischen Reich,” Die jüdische Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit als sakrale Geschichte. Konfrontation, Austausch und Transfer. Historisches Kolleg, München

2008    “Theologische und kulturelle Aspekte der christlichen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Jiddischen, 1500-1750,” XI. Symposium für Jiddische Studien in Deutschland, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf

2007    “Christian Scholarship on Yiddish in Early Modern Germany,” The 5th Annual Yiddish Conference, University of California, Berkeley

2007    “Language and Mission in Early Modern Protestant Thought and Practice,” The 14th Annual Conference of the Society for Reformation Studies, Westminster College, Cambridge

2006    “‘daß ein gründlicher Theologus ein Philologus sein müsse’: Protestant Scholars and Yiddish Studies in Early Modern Europe,” Reformation Studies Colloquium, Somerville College, Oxford

2004    “‘Von der Frankfurter und anderer Juden Deutsch-Hebräischen Sprache’: the Depiction of Jewish Language in J. J. Schudt’s Jüdische Merckwürdigkeiten (Frankfurt am Main 1714-1718),” Internationale Konferenz – Die Frankfurter Judengasse: Jüdisches Leben in der Frühen Neuzeit, Frankfurt a. M.