Our Current Graduate Students

Ahmed, Abiya—Education

Abiya Ahmed is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at Stanford University. She studies the intersection of religion and education, and is affiliated with the Education and Jewish Studies concentration and with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford. Abiya is interested in using interdisciplinary approaches to understand how individuals and communities learn and interact with religion in formal and informal spaces, with special attention to Muslim and Jewish contexts. Her qualifying paper was an ethnographic study of an Islamic high school, which used anthropological and sociological perspectives to examine the “religious” at a religious school. Currently, she is researching how first-year college students form friendship networks, focusing on how racial, ethnic, and religious identities affect and are affected by these networks, with special attention to the role of intersectionality in this process.

Alff, Kristen—History

Kristen Alff is a 6th year Mellon Fellow at the Humanities Center, Stanford University. She has been working on the evolution of property rights in Ottoman Palestine and their intersection with the expansion of new world economic systems in the mid-nineteenth century. She is currently in the middle of her dissertation writing, drawing on sources from Israeli archives, as well as European archives and private correspondences. 

Atura, Annie—English

Annie Atura is entering her sixth year at Stanford as a Lieberman Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. The award, sponsored by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, recognizes excellence in teaching in leadership as well as in academic research. In 2015-2016 she pioneered the “Feminist/Queer: Critiques and Synergies” workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center under the direction of Sianne Ngai; the workshop has been renewed for 2016-17, and she will once again be serving as graduate coordinator. In 2015-16, Annie was awarded a Graduate Teaching Fellowship at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Through that position she designed and taught “The Ethics of Metaphor: Identities in Parallel,” an undergraduate course on problematic likenesses in literature, in addition to TAing for Introduction to Race and Ethnicity. She served as Student-at-Large Representative to the Faculty Senate in 2015-16 and was re-appointed to the position in 2016-17. In 2015-16 she also served as an English Department WISE mentor and coached undergraduate theses in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She organized the Colloquium on Jews, Judaism, and Jewish Culture for the Taube Center for Jewish Studies for a second year. Her paper, “Unpleasant Business: Rat, Jew, Payment, and Covenant in Freud’s Rat Man” is forthcoming in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. This summer, she and her partner, Tyler Bushnell, won a bid from the City of San Francisco to install a series of sound-activated light sculptures in the Tenderloin; she and Tyler are looking forward to supervising the project’s installation along Larkin Street this winter.

Ayzenberg, Shimshon—History

Shimshon Ayzenburg is a Ph.D. candidate in East European Jewish history. He is currently writing a dissertation tentatively titled “Priests of the Revolution” on how “professional revolutionaries” belonging to the Poale Zion movement in early Soviet Russia (1917-1928) attempted to fulfill the dream of Zionism in partnership with the soviet government, the Russian Communist Party, or the Third International against the backdrop of war, the formation of the soviet state, ideological repercussions, and the Evseksia (Jewish Section of the Communist Party) persecutions.

Bachar, Gilat —Law

Gilat BacharGilat Bacher, from Israel, is a J.S.D candidate at Stanford Law School, specializing in tort law, conflict resolution, professional responsibility, and civil procedure. Gilat holds an LL.B. in Law, and an M.B.A. in Business Administration, both Summa cum Laude, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also holds a J.S.M in International Legal Studies from Stanford Law School. For her master's thesis, Gilat was awarded the Franklin Prize in International Law and the American Society of Comparative Law’s Younger Comparativists Prize. During her undergraduate studies, Gilat was an editorial board member of ‘Mishpatim’, the Hebrew University’s major law review. She then served as a Legal Clerk for Chief Justice Beinisch, President of the Israeli Supreme Court, and as an associate at a leading law firm in Israel. At Stanford, Gilat was a fellow at the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation and at the Haas Center for Public Service, and an International Peace Scholarship fellow. She is currently an Israel Institute Doctoral Fellow. Her dissertation project is a case study of compensation mechanisms for victims of intergroup conflict in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Daniels, Jacob—History

Jacob Daniels is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History. He studies Jews in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. He is especially interested in Jewish communities in the region of Thrace.

Elba-Nir, Ella—Comparative Literature

Ella Elbaz-Nir is a candidate in the Comparative Literature Department and her interest includes the intersections of Arabic, Hebrew and French contemporary literature and art with the political realities of the Middle East. 

Farah, Daniella—History

Daniella Farah is a fourth-year PhD student in Jewish History, studying the cultural histories of the Jews of Turkey and Iran in the twentieth century. Her dissertation examines the construction of a modern Iranian Jewish identity, specifically focusing on themes of national belonging, assimilation, education, and youth movements among the Jewish communities of Iran between the early 1910s and the early 1980s. In 2016 she was a TA for “Jews in the Contemporary World: Faith and Ethnicity, Vulnerability, and Visibility,” the course for which she received the Department of History's 2016 prize for “Excellence in First Time Teaching.” Daniella also taught a course of her own design in spring 2017, titled “Between Toleration and Persecution: Iran and its Minorities in the Twentieth Century.” Thanks to a grant from the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, Daniella will be conducting archival research in Jerusalem and Paris in February and March of 2018.

Gafter, Roey—Linguistics

Gentzke, Joshua L.—Religious Studies

Horwitz, Ilana—Education

Ilana Horwitz is a PhD candidate in Sociology of Education, with a concentration in Education & Jewish Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of education and religion. She is particularly curious how a teen's religious background affects how far and how well he does in school. Currently, researchers and policymakers focus on how race, socioeconomic status, and gender affect educational outcomes. Could religion also explain some of the variance in educational attainment?
Ilana holds an M.A. in International Education Development from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and a B.B.A in Business Administration from Emory University. Ilana currently has fellowships from the Wexner Foundation and the Institute for Education Sciences.

Hulstyn, Michaela - French & Italian

Keller-Lynn, Caroline—Stanford Law School

Caroline Keller-Lynn is a JD/MBA candidate. Her research in Israel this summer focuses on Christian minorities who volunteer to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, and how this ties to a broader identity and political movement.

Levi, Melih—Comparative Literature

Melih Levi is a graduate student in Comparative Literature. He studies 20th century modernist poetry and post-war departures from modernism in English, Turkish and German. His English translation of Ahmet Mithat's Felatun Bey and Rakım Efendi, one of the first Ottoman novels, was published by Syracuse University Press. Specific interests include the poetry of the New York School, the critical work of the Frankfurt School, German expressionism and Paul Celan. He regularly reviews contemporary poetry, some of which have been published by the Colorado Review.

Lockwood, Jeremiah—Education

Jeremiah Lockwood’s music career began with over a decade of apprenticeship to the legendary Piedmont Blues musician Carolina Slim, playing in the subways of New York City. He also trained under his grandfather Cantor Jacob Konigsberg and performed in his choir. Jeremiah’s band The Sway Machinery seeks inspiration from diverse realms of experience related to the cultural geography of New York City. The Sway Machinery has played around the world, including stints at legendary music festivals like Montreal Jazz, Roskilde, and perhaps most notably, Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Mali. In addition to leading The Sway Machinery, Jeremiah toured for years as guitarist in the popular world-beat band Balkan Beat Box and has scored numerous film and video projects. Jeremiah was a recipient of the 2007-8 Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, was 2010 Artist-in-Residence for the Forward and was a 2011 Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra Composer Fellow.  Jeremiah has released numerous albums to critical acclaim in recent years including his solo guitar and voice record entitled LOCKWOOD in the Fall of 2014 on System Dialing Records, the most recent Sway Machinery LP, entitled Purity and Danger, in the spring of 2015, and in 2016 his album Kol Nidre, a record documenting the music he has developed as music director for the Because Jewish community high holidays services. Jeremiah is currently a PhD Candidate at Stanford University, where he is working on an ethnographic study of contemporary Chassidic cantors. In February 2018, Jeremiah’s new duo project Book of J, with singer Jewlia Eisenberg, released their debut album and is engaged in performance and teaching with Eisenberg in music venues and academic settings.

Marcus, Alexander—Religious Studies

Alexander Marcus is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies. His research focuses on analyzing rhetorical strategies of the Babylonian Talmud as a window into the broader religious, cultural, and political world of late-antique Jewish communities in Sasanian Mesopotamia. His interests include orality, historiography, folklore, discourses of magic and medicine, and the boundaries and intersections of communal identity.

Meyers, Joshua—History

Joshua Meyers' studies modern Jewish political history, with particular emphasis on the tension between particularism and cosmopolitanism. Currently, his research focuses on the history of the General Jewish Labor Union (Bund) during the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the party’s role as interlocutor between the Russian Revolution and Russia’s Jews.

Shoshana OlidortOlidort, Shoshana—Comparative Literature

Shoshana Olidort is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on the performance of identity in 20th century Jewish women's poetry across Hebrew, Yiddish and English. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Jewish Review of Books, among other publications.


Smith, Adrien—Slavic Languages and Literatures

Adrien Smith is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Her dissertation focuses on the functions of Yiddish in Russian and American literatures of the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, she has conducted research on the work of Ovsei (Shike) Driz, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Fridrikh Gorenshtein, Philip Roth, and Vladimir Vysotsky. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and M.Phil from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.

Tapper, Joshua—History

Joshua Tapper is a doctoral student in Jewish History at Stanford University. His research focuses on Jewish culture and religious life in the late Soviet period, the post-Soviet Jewish diaspora, and the contemporary Russian Jewish experience. In recent years, he has conducted research on American Jewish travel to the Soviet Union in the Cold War era and the Chabad-Lubavitch movement's influence on post-Soviet Jewish identity.
His journalism has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Canada’s Globe and Mail, Tablet, the Jewish Daily Forward, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, among other publications. He has been on staff at the Toronto Star and Moment magazine and has reported from across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia, and Central Asia.
Joshua holds a BA from Dalhousie University, in Halifax, NS, and master’s degrees from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Toronto’s Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

Shalev Marom, Marva—Education

Marva Shalev Marom is a second year PhD student at the Graduate School of Education, in the concentration of Education and Jewish Studies (EDJS) and Race Inequality and Language in Education (RILE) . She has a B.A. and an M.A in religious studies, where she explored mystical language in ancient Jewish and Hindu texts. Before coming to Stanford, she founded a musical community center in Jaffa (south of Tel Aviv) working with Jewish Ethiopian and Muslim Arab communities; there she learned how artistic interaction ameliorates inter-religious conflicts. Her research focuses on religious transformations of Jewish Ethiopian youth in Israel, and in their expressions in teen poetry and music. 

Walters, Ashley—History

Ashley Walters is a Ph.D. Candidate in Jewish History. Her interests include late 19th and early 20th Century Russian and American Jewish history with a focus on Jewish immigration, Jewish women’s history in imperial Russia and the United States, and the Jewish radical left. My dissertation, “The Immigrant Life of Mother Russia: Russian Jewish Women Radicals in Progressive America” explores the relationship between a small numbers of prominent Jewish women who were active in radical politics and their reception within Anglo-America. In addition to my work in the History Department, I completed a Ph.D. Minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Stanford University.

Matt WilliamsWilliams, Matthew—Education

IMatt Williams is a PhD Candidate in History and Education in the Concentration of Jewish Studies and Education. He's finishing his doctorate on the history of Orthodox outreach and currently consults for an array of Jewish and other educational and communal institutions. 


Winestock, Brett—Slavic Languages and Literatures

Brett Winestock is a PhD candidate studying Russian and Yiddish literatures with focus on the 20th century. His research interests include modernism and postmodernism, dissidence, translation, and issues of identity. He is currently working on a dissertation about the Russian-Jewish writer Leonid Tsypkin.

Wurl, Jonathan—Slavic Languages and Literatures

In the past year Jonathan Wurl studied in Belarus and Russia. His current academic work addresses the development of radical thought in the Russian Empire in the mid to late 19th century. He is currently focusing on Nikolai Chernyshevsky, who popularized materialism in this period. In addition to focusing on the Russian intelligentsia of this period, Jonathan is also examining how these ideas diffused into the intelligentsias of national minorities of the Russian Empire (especially Jews). His next project examines the relationship with Russian radical intellectuals with Jewish radical intellectuals in creating new secular-universal identities by examining their shared experiences in religious (Orthodox Christian and Jewish, respectively) primary and secondary schools.