Office: Literature 345
Specific inquiries and requests regarding Jewish Studies Program funding, curriculum, collaborations, and the like should be submitted to the program director.
Professor Mira Balberg, Ph.D.
Stanford University, 2011
Professor & Endowed Chair in Ancient Jewish Civilization
Department of History
Office: H&SS 6073 Phone: 858-246-5740
Mira Balberg received her PhD from Stanford University in 2011. She is a scholar of ancient Mediterranean religious history, with a focus on the emergence and development of Judaism in antiquity (200 BCE–500 CE). She is especially interested in the cultural contacts of Jews with their surrounding communities and with the imperial forces that shaped the Middle East in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Her main specialty is Judaism in Roman Syria-Palestine in late antiquity, and particularly the development of rabbinic Judaism in this period. She mainly studies the ways in which the Jewish Literature composed in the Hellenistic and Roman era interprets and transforms biblical institutions, concepts, and values, often through dialogue and interaction with Greek, Roman, and early Christian cultures.
Balberg’s first book, Purity, Body, and Self in Early Rabbinic Literature (University of California Press, 2014) examines how ancient Near Eastern ideas and practices of bodily purity were reconfigured by Palestinian rabbis of the 2nd and 3rd centuries through the influence of Greek and Roman medical and philosophical doctrines. Her second book, Blood for Thought: The Reinvention of Sacrifice in Early Rabbinic Literature (University of California Press, 2017), engages with the process known as “the end of sacrifice” – that is, the rapid decline and ultimately demise of sacrificial modes of worship in the Mediterranean region in the first half of the first Millennium C.E. Others topics on which she has published include the human body and its changing cultural meanings in ancient Jewish texts, ancient theories of self and subjectivity, and the production of knowledge in late antiquity.
Prof. Balberg is currently working on two research projects: a cultural history of aging in Jewish late antiquity (co-authored with Haim Weiss), and a study of forgetfulness as a practice of everyday life in ancient Judaism.
Associate Professor Amelia Glaser, Ph.D
Jewish Studies Program Director/Russian and Soviet Studies Program Director
Department of Literature: Russian Literature (19th and 20th Century), Modern Yiddish Literature, Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, Transnational Jewish Literature, The Literatures of Ukraine
Office: LIT 345 Phone: 858-534-3809
Amelia Glaser is an associate professor of Russian and comparative literature. Her work focuses on Jewish-Slavic literary exchange, and she has written extensively on Russian, Yiddish, and Ukrainian literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is the author of Jews and Ukrainians: From the Shtetl Fair to the Petersburg Bookshop (Northwestern U.P., 2012), and the translator of Proletpen: America's Rebel Yiddish Poets (Wisconsin U.P., 2005). She is also currently the director of the Russian and Soviet Studies program.
Professor Deborah Hertz, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1979
Herman Wouk Chair in Modern Jewish Studies
Department of History: Jewish History, German History, and European Women’s History
Office: H&SS 6024 Phone: 858-534-5501
Deborah Hertz was trained in graduate school as a historian of Germany, with a focus on the late eighteenth century and on German Jewry. She has written two books about conversion and assimilation among Jews in Germany, especially in Berlin. Her current project is a history of radical Jewish women in Russia and Palestine. In that book-in-progress she seeks to understand which of the modern political movements at the close of the nineteenth century offered greater personal and career satisfaction to young women eager to change the world. Her teaching has addressed topics in modern Jewish history, including the Holocaust, Zionism and modern Israel, and the history of Jewish women and the Jewish family. She is fascinated by the challenge of understanding the modern Jewish experience in the context of racism, religious tradition, and modern nationalism. Professor Hertz enjoys bringing undergraduate students together with Holocaust survivors and the wider public engaged with history. Along with Brian Schottlaender, University Librarian, she co-founded and co-directs the Holocaust Living History Workshop, which offers public programs throughout the year on the UC San Diego campus.
Professor Lisa Lampert-Weissig,Ph.D
UC Berkeley, 1996
Katzin Chair of Jewish Civilization
Department of Literature: English Literature, and Comparative Medieval Studies
Office: LIT 347 Phone: 858-822-0204
Lisa Lampert-Weissig is a specialist in medieval literature and culture with a particular interest in medieval Jewish-Christian relations and the history of anti-Semitism. She has published on representations of Jews and Judaism in literatures in Middle English, Old French and Middle High German as well as on modern German-Jewish literature and on representations of Jews and Judaism in contemporary U.S. culture. She is especially interested in engaging the enduring impact of medieval literature and culture in the contemporary world.
Professor Thomas Levy, Ph.D.
Sheffield University, 1981
Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands
Department of Anthropology: Archaeology of Israel
Office: SSB 292 Phone: 858-534-2765
Levy is a Levantine field archaeologist with interests in the role of technology, especially early mining and metallurgy, on social evolution from the beginnings of sedentism and the domestication of plants and animals in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (ca. 7500 BCE) to the rise of the first historic Levantine state level societies in the Iron Age (ca. 1200 – 500 BCE). Levy has been the principal investigator of many interdisciplinary archaeological field projects in Israel and Jordan that have been funded by the National Geographic Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, and other organizations. Tom also conducts ethnoarchaeological research in India and is associate director of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) at the California Institute of Telecommunication and Information Technology (Calit2) at UC San Diego.