Hebraists by Choice: American Jews and the Mobilization of Modern Hebrew


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Academic Literacy and Linguistics


“Hebraists by Choice” examines individuals who actively seek to learn, use, and promote modern Hebrew, a language few Jews in the United States read or speak, as a critical component of their personal and collective identity. Using biographical interviews, participant observation of Hebrew-speaking gatherings and festivities, and textual analysis of print and online publications, this project engages questions of diaspora, multilingualism, transnationalism, and identity at the nexus of two fields of scholarship—religion studies and linguistic anthropology—to examine how individuals mobilize modern Hebrew in its functional, ideological, symbolic, and moral dimensions to give expression to their American Jewishness.