Edna Nahshon

Professor of Jewish Theater and Drama

Department: Hebrew, Drama, Theater, Jews, Media, and Religion

Phone: (212) 678-8860

Email: ednahshon@jtsa.edu

Building Room: Kripke 301

Office Hours: By Appointment


BA, Tel Aviv University; PhD, New York University

Dr. Edna Nahshon is professor of Theater and Drama at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Most recently she curated the exhibition “New York’s Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway” for the Museum of the City of New York (March 7-August 14,2016). The exhibition was accompanied by a book of the same title, edited by Dr. Nahshon, published by Columbia University Press. In 2013 she served as producer and dramaturg of JTS’s milestone production Bratslav-Beethoven-Bratslav, directed by Yossi Yizraely. 

Dr. Nahshon’s specialty is the intersection of Jewishness, theater, and performance. She is the editor of (and a contributor to) the volumes Jewish Theatre: A Global View (Brill Academic Publishers, 2009) and Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context (Brill Academic Publishers, 2012). In 2003, she was guest editor of a special issue of American Jewish History (91:1) devoted to the theme of “Jews and Performance,” which included her essay “The Pulpit and the Stage: Rabbi Joseph Silverman and the Actors’ Church Alliance.” Dr. Nahshon’s forthcoming book is titled Wrestling with Shylock: Jewish Responses to “The Merchant of Venice” (Cambridge University Press, 2016/17).

From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot (Wayne State University Press, 2005) was honored by the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Committee of the Association for Jewish Studies as a 2009 Notable Selection in the category of Jews and the Arts. Jews and Shoes (Berg, 2008) has received numerous write-ups in publications such as History TodayMuseum AnthropologyBookForumShofar, and Ha’aretz. Dr. Nahshon’s work was also cited in the The Boston GlobeThe New York Times, and The Economist

Dr. Nahshon’s work has been published in English and Hebrew. English academic venues include American Jewish History, AJS Review, Print Quarterly, The Jewish QuarterlyThe Kurt Weill Newsletter, Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe, and TDR (The Drama Review). Hebrew venues include Qesher, Zmanim, and Bamah. She has also written for the popular press in the U.S. and Britain, notably RenaissanceTablet magazine, and the Jewish Daily Forward; and in Israel, Davka and Ha’aretz. Her essay “The Yiddish Theater in America: A Brief Historical Overview” serves as the introduction to the Lawrence Marwick Collection of Copyrighted Yiddish Plays at the Library of Congress: An Annotated Bibliography, edited by Zachary M. Baker (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2004).   

Dr. Nahshon is a senior associate at Oxford University’s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, where she was Visiting Skirball Fellow in 1999. For five years, she was a member of the New York University Center for Religion and Media’s working group titled Jews, Media, and Religion, and she developed a unit on Jewish theater for its Modiya website, with a special section on The Dybbuk. She served as the historical advisor to the television project The Life and Death of the Federal Theatre, which aired in October 2003 on PBS. In February 2009, Dr. Nahshon organized the groundbreaking three-day conference Jews/Theatre/Performance in an Intercultural World at JTS (described in an article from jewish-theater.com).

She is a member of the editorial board of All About Jewish Theater, an electronic database, and has served as consultant and reader for academic periodicals and publishers, among them Oxford and Cambridge University Presses. She has regularly organized panels and delivered papers at conferences and congresses organized by the Association for Jewish Studies, the World Congress of Jewish Studies, the European Association of Jewish Studies, and the International Federation for Theatre Research, and was invited twice to present her work at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.


  • American Academy for Jewish Research 
  • American Council of Learned Societies 
  • Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Oxford, Britain—Skirball Fellowship
  • Lucius N. Littauer Foundation 
  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture 
  • YIVO



Recent Book Chapters

  • “Jewish American Drama.” In The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature, edited by Hana Wirth-Nesher (Cambridge University Press, 2015).    
  • “Always Habima: The Artistic Path of Benno Schneider” (in Hebrew). In Habima: 90 Years On. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, forthcoming 2015. 
  • “Anne Frank from Page to Stage.” In Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, and Memory, edited by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Jeffrey Shandler, 59–92. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.
  • “Going Against the Grain: Jews and Passion Plays in America, 1879–1929.” In Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context, edited by Edna Nahshon. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2012.
  • “Philosemitism on the London Stage: Sydney Grundy’s An Old Jew. In Jewish Theatre: A Global View, edited by Edna Nahshon. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009. 
  • “What Is Jewish Theatre?” Jewish Theatre: A Global View. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009. 
  • “Maurice Schwartz Presents: The Dybbuk (1921)” (in Hebrew). In Al Na Tegarshuni: A Collection of Essays on S. An-ski’s The Dybbuk, edited by Shimon Levy and Dorit Yerushalmi. Tel Aviv University Press, 2009.     

Exhibition Catalogs

  • From the Bowery to Broadway: New York’s Yiddish Theater. New York: Museum of the City of New York/Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2016. 
  • Shylock and His Daughter at the Yiddish Art Theatre,” in Being Shylock, ed. Werner Hanak-Lettner. Vienna: Jewish Museum Vienna, 2009.
  • Stars, Strikes, and the Yiddish Stage: The Story of the Hebrew Actors’ Union, 1899–2005. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2009.


Yiddish Theater, American Theater, Israeli Theater, and Drama