Our Current Graduate Students

Ahmed, Abiya—Education

Abiya Ahmed is a first year PhD student in Anthropology of Education and Education and Jewish Studies at the Graduate School of Education. She has a B.A. in Communication and an M.A. In Islamic Studies, and taught middle school English and Islamic Studies for 6 years before beginning her doctoral studies. Her research aims to examine moral and citizenship education in American faith-based schools, with a focus on Jewish and Islamic schools.

Alff, Kristen—History

Kristen Alff is a 6th year Geballe 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 is especially interested in economic and social history. 

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 third-year PhD student in Jewish History. Her research has examined the effects of nationalism on the identities of Jewish communities of Iran and Turkey in the twentieth century, and Jewish education in twentieth-century Iran. During the 2015-2016 academic year at Stanford, she was a TA for “The Changing Face of War: An Introduction to Military History” and “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 will teach a course of her own design in spring 2017, titled “Between Toleration and Persecution: Iran and its Minorities in the Twentieth Century.”

Gafter, Roey—Linguistics

Gentzke, Joshua L.—Religious Studies

Gillo, Idan—German Studies

Idan Gillo is currently working on a dissertation project “Redemption through Conversion: The Conversion and Rebirth Discourse in Eighteenth Century Germany”.

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 second-year 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.

Lockwood, Jeremiah—Education

Jeremiah Lockwood is a PhD candidate in the Education School. His research concerns the culture and history of cantorial music. Jeremiah is also a musician. His most recent album, entitled Kol Nidre #3, will be released in the fall of 2016. 

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' research focuses on the history of the General Jewish Labor Union (Bund), a Jewish Marxist-Nationalist party, during the Russian Revolution of 1917.  In particular, he is interested in the tensions between nationalism and radicalism encountered by the party as it struggled to reconcile itself to both the Jewish street and the marxist world.

Shoshana Olidort

Olidort, Shoshana—Comparative Literature

Shoshana Olidort is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on performativity in postwar Jewish literature, across languages. She has presented work on Isaac Bashevis Singer and Dan Pagis, and her review of Jonathan Safran Foer's new novel, Here I Am, will appear in the fall issue of the Jewish Review of Books.

Redfield, James—Religious Studies

James Redfield

James Redfield is a Mellon Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, where he is completing his dissertation, “The Sages and the World: Categorizing Culture  in Early Rabbinic Law.” He has published articles on the literary reception of the Hebrew Bible, phenomenology, postcolonial literature, and Jewish ethics, and  two of his articles on Talmudic literature are forthcoming. James has enjoyed teaching languages and religious texts to students of diverse ages and cultures. He has also worked as an urban ethnographer in Berlin and as a translator from French, German, and Yiddish.

Smith, Adrien—Slavic Languages and Literatures

Adrien Smith’s research focuses on Russian and Yiddish literature from the 1890s to the 1930s. She is especially interested in the impact of modern Yiddish literature in the end of the 19th century on traditions of literature and music in the Soviet Union.

Walters, Ashley—History

Ashley Walters is a PhD candidate working on late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian and American Jewish history. Her dissertation focuses on Russian Jewish immigrants who came to the United States between 1880 and the 1920s and were active in the creation of a Jewish immigrant intellectual community. She is particularly interested in Jewish women and the roles they assumed in leftist circles upon immigrating to the United States. 

Matt Williams

Williams, Matthew—Education

In 2015, Matt Williams moved to New York to finish the research for his dissertation on the history of Orthodox outreach. In the past year, Matt was appointed the Managing Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive (now located at Stanford), and is in the midst of consulting projects on Jewish education, broadly defined, with the Orthodox Union, UJA-Federation of NY, the Avi Chai Foundation, the IDEA Schools Network, and a number of other organizations. 

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.