JTS Fellows Bring Learning Opportunities to Local Jewish Communities

Press Contact: Beth Mayerowitz
Office: (212) 678-8055
Email: bemayerowitz@jtsa.edu

September 11, 2017, New York, NY

Three outstanding Jewish Studies scholars have been selected to make up the next cohort of JTS Fellows, an initiative which expands and diversifies The Jewish Theological Seminary’s adult learning opportunities. The fellows will support JTS’s mission to be a leading educational voice and resource for the Conservative Movement and the vital religious center of North America by offering compelling programs in their home communities.

“We are excited to welcome these exceptional Jewish scholars into the extended JTS family,” says Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen. “Each is a dynamic educator eager to share their scholarship and insights into Jewish texts and history. I think those who study with them will be fascinated and inspired to learn more.”

Selected in recognition of their scholarly achievements, their demonstrated excellence in teaching, and their commitment to Judaism and the Jewish community, the JTS Fellows will be based in New York and Washington, DC, and will be available for local programs.

JTS Fellows will serve for a term of two years and participate in a range of activities that will include teaching, curriculum development, and providing content for JTS’s innovative digital learning platforms.

This year’s JTS Fellows:

Elissa Bemporad (MA, GS ’99) is the Jerry and William Ungar Associate Professor of East European Jewish History and the Holocaust at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk (Indiana University Press, 2013), winner of the National Jewish Book Award, of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History, and Honorable Mention for the Schnitzer Prize in Modern Jewish History. Her most recent book, Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She is the co-editor of Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators (forthcoming, Indiana University Press), a collection of studies on the roles played by women in different genocidal contexts during the twentieth century. She has recently been a recipient of an NEH fellowship and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Her projects in progress include a biography of Ester Frumkin, a prominent Jewish female political activist and public figure in late Imperial Russia and in the early Soviet Union. Dr. Bemporad received an MA in Slavic Studies from Bologna University, an MA in Modern Jewish Studies from JTS, and a PhD in History from Stanford University.   

Noah Benjamin Bickart (RS ’08; PhD, GS ’15) is the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program of Judaic Studies at Yale University. He earned his PhD in Talmud from JTS, focusing on the development of scholastic practice in the Talmudic academies of late antique Babylonia. His current research explores a variety of themes related to gender and sexuality in rabbinic literature. As an adjunct assistant professor at JTS, Dr. Bickart taught courses on rabbinic literature and the Gospels through a Jewish lens. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary and the Academy of Jewish Religion. He previously served as the principal of the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School at JTS and director of Nishma, JTS’s summer intensive Talmud program. He holds degrees in English Literature from the University of Chicago and Hebrew Bible from the Harvard Divinity School, and was ordained as a Conservative rabbi at JTS in 2008. 

Edna Friedberg (PhD, GS ’07) is a historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A graduate of the University of Illinois, she received her PhD in Modern Jewish Studies from The Jewish Theological Seminary, where she wrote her dissertation on the origins of American Jewish services for the elderly. Dr. Friedberg joined the staff of the Holocaust Museum in 1999 and has served as the historian for the museum’s highly visited online Holocaust Encyclopedia and as director of its Wexner Learning Center. She also curated a special exhibit on the legacy of the Nuremberg trials and postwar justice. Dr. Friedberg regularly speaks to audiences across the country and her essays connecting Holocaust history with social, cultural, and political issues today have appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, Newsday, and the Forward. An alumna of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, she serves on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital (JPDS-NC) and is a member of Adas Israel Congregation.

For more information on how to bring a JTS Fellow to your community, visit www.jtsa.edu/jts-fellows.