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Makena Mezistrano

BA in English literature, Yeshiva University
MA in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation, Yeshiva University

Makena Mezistrano is a PhD student in the Department of History. Makena earned a BA in English literature and an MA in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation, both from Yeshiva University. After finishing her master's degree, Makena returned to her native Seattle and served as the Assistant Director of the Sephardic Studies Program in the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. She hopes to study conceptions of Jewish femininity in the Ottoman Empire during the modern period using Ottoman rabbinic literature, the Ladino press, and the writings of Sephardic women themselves. Makena's work is inspired by the experiences and memories shared with her by her maternal grandparents, both of whom are Holocaust survivors from Salonika (Thessaloniki), Greece, and the Ladino language that she heard them speak throughout her childhood.