Conference Speakers

Confirmed speakers for “Hebrew and the Humanities: Present Tense”:

Aviv Ben-OrAviv Ben Or (Brandeis University) is completing a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. His research focuses on Israeli authors from the Arab world who have written in both Hebrew and Arabic, and he is interested in the literary contact between those two languages in the context of Israel/Palestine. He presented work on “The Arab Jew as Displaced Intellectual in Shimon Ballas’ Fiction” at the 2015 conference of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew.

Sarah-Bunin-Benor-phdSarah Bunin Benor (Ph.D. Stanford; Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) teaches also at the University of Southern California. She has lectured widely about sociolinguistics and American Jews. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press, 2012, winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature), as well as scholarly articles on American Jewish language and identity; sociology and anthropology of American Jews; Yiddish; Language Socialization; and Ethnography. She is founding co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages.

Nancy Berg

Nancy Berg (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania; Professor and Chair, Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Washington University in St. Louis) is the author of Exile from Exile: Israeli Writers from Iraq (SUNY Press, 1996) and of numerous essays on Hebrew and Arabic literature appearing in collected volumes and in such journals as AJS Review, Prooftexts, Hebrew Studies, Edebiyat, and the Journal of Arabic Literature. She has served as President of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew.

Bob HobermanRobert Hoberman (Ph.D. Chicago) is Chair of the Linguistics Department at Stony Brook University. He works on the morphologies and phonologies of Semitic languages, focusing on Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic in their classical and modern, colloquial varieties. He has published widely on the formal analysis of language structure, documenting moribund languages, and providing grammatical descriptions of little-examined languages to make them accessible to linguists and others. Other interests of his include writing systems, comparative Semitic linguistics, the phonological history of Yiddish, Jewish interlinguistics, and ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities in the Middle East.

Dara Horn Official PhotoDara Horn (Ph.D. Harvard) is an acclaimed American Jewish prose writer and scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literatures. Her novels include In the Image, The World to Come, On All Other Nights, and A Guide for the Perplexed, which was selected as one of Booklist’s Best Books of 2013. In 2012, her nonfiction e-book The Rescuer was published by Tablet Magazine and became a Kindle bestseller. Dr. Horn held the Gerald Weinstock Visiting Professorship in Jewish Studies at Harvard and has lectured at over two hundred universities and cultural institutions throughout North America, Israel, and Australia. She is a 2016 Stroum Lecturer at the UW.

Hadar Khazzam-HorovitzHadar Horowitz (Ph.D. University of Washington) is a Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at UW. She has taught Modern Hebrew and a course called “Introduction to Hebrew Language and Culture,” as well as classes on Israeli society and cinema.

Hannah Pressman (Ph.D. NYU; Communications Director and Affiliate Faculty, Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, University of Washington) is co-editor of Choosing Yiddish: New Frontiers of Language and Culture (Wayne State University Press, 2013) and a contributor to Jewish Rhetorics: History, Theory, Practice (Brandeis University Press, 2014). Her research interests include secular-religious dynamics in Hebrew culture; self-writing; translation theory; and Jewish language philosophies of the 20th century. Pressman has facilitated cultural programs for Jewish organizations on both coasts and has published articles in Tablet, the Forward, Lilith, and other venues.

Adam Rovner headshotAdam Rovner (Ph.D. Indiana University; Associate Professor of English and Jewish Literature, University of Denver) is the author of In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands before Israel (NYU Press, 2014) and of essays on modern Jewish literature that have appeared in academic journals such as Partial Answers and AJS Review. He has served as Translations Editor for the magazine Zeek, handling the publication of Hebrew texts in English.

Naomi-SokoloffNaomi Sokoloff (Ph.D. Princeton; Professor, NELC and Comparative Literature, University of Washington) has led the Modern Hebrew program on the UW campus since 1985. She is the author of Imagining the Child in Modern Jewish Fiction and co-editor of many essay collections, including: Boundaries of Jewish Identity (with Susan Glenn, University of Washington Press, 2010). Her recent publications have focused on pedagogical questions in the field of Modern Hebrew literature and on perceptions of Hebrew culture and Israel in North America. Her essay, “Israel in the American Jewish Imagination,” is included in the Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature, edited by Hana Wirth Nesher (2015).

Ilan Stavans PhotoIlan Stavans (Ph.D. Columbia) is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture (Spanish) and Five College-Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College. He is the author and editor of numerous scholarly books and translations as well as works of fiction. In 2008 he published a study of Eliezer Ben Yehuda’s role in the revival of Hebrew, Resurrecting Hebrew. Some of his other titles include The United States of Mestizo (2013); Return to Centro Histórico: A Mexican Jew Looks for His Roots (2012); Gabriel García Márquez: The Early Years (2009); Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (2003); and The Hispanic Condition: Reflections on Culture and Identity (1995). He is a 2016 Stroum Lecturer at the UW.

WeingradMichael Weingrad (Ph.D. University of Washington; Associate Professor, Portland State University) has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Montague Burton Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Leeds, and a Harry Starr Fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard. He is the author of American Hebrew Literature: Writing Jewish National Identity in the United States (Syracuse University Press, 2011), and editor and translator of Letters to America: Selected Poems of Reuven Ben-Yosef (Syracuse University Press, 2014). Numerous essays of his have appeared in The Jewish Review of Books, Commentary, academic journals, and on his website,

Robert WhitehillRobert Whitehill-Bashan (J.D., M.A. University of Texas) is an American poet who has published extensively in Hebrew. His books include Orvim humim [Brown Crows], Efes makom [No Place], Aharei hashetikah [After the Silence], and Steps behorim shehorim [Tap Dancing Through Black Holes].

Wendy ZierlerWendy Zierler (Ph.D. Princeton University), serves as the Sigmund Falk Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Her books include And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Women’s Writing (Wayne State University Press, 2004); Behikansi Atah (The Collected Writings of Hava Shapiro, Hebrew) edited with Carole B. Balin (Resling Press, 2008); and To Tread on New Ground: Selected Hebrew Writings of Hava Shapiro (1878-1943), translated by Wendy Zierler, edited with Carole B. Balin (Wayne State University Press, 2014).