I am a historian of early modern and modern Jewish history with a special interest in the history of the Spanish Jews and the Sephardi diaspora in the Mediterranean world. In my first book, Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture (Indiana University Press, 2005), I look at the transformation of Ottoman Jewry in the nineteenth century through the lens of popularized rabbinic literature written in the vernacular language of the Ottoman Sephardim, Ladino or Judeo-Spanish. This vernacular rabbinic literature, negotiating between perpetuating rabbinic tradition and addressing the challenges of modernity, provides a fresh perspective on the modernization of Ottoman Jewry and the complex role of the rabbis in this process. My current project, tentatively entitled Networks of Beneficence: Rabbinic Emissaries from Palestine and the Making of a Modern Jewish Diaspora, looks at rabbinic networks and networks of support for the Jewish communities of Palestine in the Sephardi diaspora prior to
the advent of European and European-Jewish international organizations in the second half of the nineteenth century. I studied at the universities of Freiburg, Berlin, and Jerusalem, and did my graduate work at Freie Universität Berlin and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid. I am teaching courses on early modern and modern European and Mediterranean Jewish history.
- Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.
- Co-author (15%), with John Efron, Steven Weitzman, and Joshua Holo, The Jews: A History. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008.
- Networks of Beneficence: Rabbinic Emissaries from Palestine and the Making of a Modern Jewish Diaspora, In preparation.
- "The Case for Israel: Ottoman Jews, Ottoman Palestine, and Ladino Literature," Jewish Studies Quarterly 16 (2010) (forthcoming).
- "Rethinking Sephardi Identity: Jews and Other Jews in Ottoman Palestine," Jewish Social Studies, 15, no. 1 (2008).
- "Levantinos and Other Jews: Reading H.Y.D. Azulai's Travel Diary," Jewish Social Studies, 13, no. 3 (2007), 1-34.
- "A Livornese 'Port Jew' and the Sephardim of the Ottoman Empire." Jewish Social Studies 11, no. 2 (2005): 51-76.