Curriculum Vitae

Current Position: Assistant Director of Interreligious and Intercommunity  Affairs at the American Jewish Committee- Los Angeles

 

Education:        

B.A.    1994-1998       Religious Studies

University of California, Berkeley; Berkeley, California

M.T.S 1999-2001       Theological Studies

Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ph.D.   2008  Religious Studies

University of California, Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, California

Dissertation Topic: “From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women Between Religion and Culture”

Dissertation Committee: Richard Hecht (Chair); Mary Hancock; Roger Friedland

Comprehensive Areas: History of Religions, Jewish Studies, Middle-Eastern Studies, Women’s Studies, Hebrew Language, Persian Language

Scholarships:

Doctoral Scholars Fellowship, University California, Santa Barbara, 2001-2005.

Wolfson Fellowship, Harvard University, 1999-2001.

 

Language Competencies:

 

Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Classical Persian or Farsi, Native Speaker of Persian.

2001-2004

Modern Hebrew

University of California, Santa Barbara

1999-2001

Biblical Hebrew

Harvard University

1999-2001

Persian

Harvard University

 

 

Publications:

Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews in America; Guest Editor, Published by the Purdue University Press for the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life Annual Review, Volume 13, 2016.

 

From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women between Religion and Culture, SUNY Press, Albany, New York, (November 2012).

Awarded the Gold Medal in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Religion category

Book Review of Christian Encounters with Iran: Engaging Muslim Thinkers After the Revolution in The Journal of the American Academy of Religion (JAAR), September 2013; Volume 81; Issue 3

“Integration or Separation? Iranian Jewish and Muslim Relations in Los Angeles,” in Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions and Complexities, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Aaron Hahn Tapper and Reza Aslan (ed), 2011

 

“Iranian Jewish Women:  Domesticating Religion and Appropriating Zoroastrian Religion in Ritual Life” in Nashim: A Journal for Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues, (Fall, Issue #18 2010).

“JAPS: Jewish American Persian Women and their Hybrid Identity in America” in Association of Jewish Studies Perspectives, (Fall, 2010).

Book Review of “Life as a Visitor,” in Jewish Book Council (Summer, 2010)

 

Academic Presentations:

“Tehrangeles: Capital and Zionism among Iranian Jews,” Ford Foundation Conference on Religious Pluralism in America, UC Santa Barbara, May 2003

“From Babylon to Beverly Hills: A History of Iranian Jews in the Diaspora,” University of Judaism, February 2004

“Jewish Messiahs: False or Fulfilling the Promise?” UC Santa Barbara, March, 2004

“Zionist Beliefs and Capital among Iranian Jews in Los Angeles,” American Academy of Religion, November, 2004

“The Days of Awe: Sephardic Jews and their Celebration of Rosh Hashanah and Yom

Kippur,” Loyola Marymount University, October, 2006

“Capitalism and Faith among Iranian Jews in Los Angeles,” Loyola Marymount University, April, 2008

“Iranian Jewish Women: The Domestication of Religion and Pilgrimage as the Center of Religious Life,” American Academy of Religion’s Western Region (WECSOR) conference, 2008

“Iranian Jewish Women: The Domestication of Religion and the influence of Shi’i Islam and Zoroastrianism on Ritual Piety,” Western Jewish Studies Conference, December, 2008

“Diversity and Variety of Jewish Identities in Los Angeles,” Loyola Marymount University, November 2008

“The History of Iranian Jews in Los Angeles,” American Jewish Committee, October 22, 2009

“Iranian Jews and Their Migration to the United State: Their Religious, Psychological, and Cultural Identity,” Association for Jewish Studies, December 22, 2009

“Integration or Separation? Iranian Jews in Los Angeles,” California State University Long Beach, May 3, 2010

“Iranian Jews in America,” 92nd Y, New York, March 4, 2012

“Jewish Diversity in America,” Jewish Women’s Conference, November 15, 2012

“Iranian Jewish Women and Their Religious Identity in a Pluralistic America,” Center for Jewish Studies, November 29, 2012

“The American Jewish Experience and Iranian Women: How Immigration Has Changed Traditional Practices,” Academic Conference, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Jan 26, 2013

Chair and speaker for the panel on Gender and Judaism: “The Americanization of Iranian Jews: Which Denomination to Chose?” Academic Conference, Association of Jewish Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, April 7, 2013

Administrative Work:

Fall 2015 to Present, Associate Director of Research, Leve Center for Jewish Studies, University of Los Angeles, California

Fall 2012 Assistant Director, Jewish Studies Program, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California

 

 

Public Presentations and Curatorial Work:

 

“A History of Iranian Jews: From 722 BCE to the Diaspora,” Skirball Museum, May, 2004

 

March 26th, 2012- August 26, 2012 : William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University

Exhibition Consultant of the Saraval Exhibition

  • As Interim-Director of the Jewish Studies Program at LMU, I was responsible for the Saraval Exhibition: Hebrew manuscripts from Poland that were confiscated by the Nazis and found in the Czech Republic.
    • Responsible for producing the facsimiles of the medieval manuscripts
    • Raised money from institutions to fund the exhibition
    • Program Planning
    • Community Outreach
    • Planned the Academic Conference on March 28, 2012 “Myth of Silence: Holocaust Memory in the United States and Poland” featuring scholars Dr. Hasia Diner and Ron Schmidt, S. J

March 12, 2012- March 10, 2013: The Fowler Museum at UCLA

Exhibition Consultant and Community Liaison of Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews

  • Collection and Exhibition Research
  • Writing and Editorial Work
  • Program Planning
  • Community Outreach
  • Gallery Teaching
  • Lead all private tours
  • Participated in and planned the Academic Conference on Jan. 26, 2013: “From Ancient Persia to Contemporary LA: 2,700 of Iranian Jewish History
  • Participated in and planned “Next Gen of Persian Jews in Los Angeles” conference on March 7, 2013
  • Curator of the exhibition on Iranian Jews in Los Angeles

 

Areas of Teaching and Research:

Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies

Iranian Jewish History: Past and Present (UC Los Angeles: Fall 2013, Spring 2009, Spring 2010)

Introduction to Judaism (CSU Northridge: Fall 2013, CSU Fullerton: Spring 2013; Loyola Marymount University: Fall/ Spring 2008, 2009, 2010)

American Jewish Experience (CSUN: Spring 2013)

History of the Middle East (Santa Monica College: Spring 2013)

History and Development of Jewish Thought: Medieval to Modern Eras (CSU Fullerton: Spring 2013)

Modern Israel (Loyola Marymount University: Fall 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)

The Religions of the Near East: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (LMU: Spring 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008; American Jewish University: Spring 2009)

Iranian and Russian Jews in Los Angeles (American Jewish University, Fall 2005)

 

American Religion

American Jewish Experience (CSUN: Spring 2013)

Religions in America (LMU: Fall and Spring of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009; CSUN: Fall 2009, 2010, 2013; Skirball Museum: 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013)

Religions in the Diaspora: Religious Communities in America (American Jewish University, Spring 2005)

 

Religious Theory and Studies

Introduction to Religious Studies (CSUN: Fall 2013, Spring 2010, 2009, 2008; SMC: Fall 2013)

 

Women’s Studies

Contemporary Religious Thought: Middle Eastern Women’s History and Literature (CSUN: Fall 2013, Spring 2010)

Women and Global Communities (LMU: Fall 2012)

Women and Religion (LMU: Spring 2010, Summer 2011; CSUN: Fall 2010, Summer 2009, Summer 2008)

Travel Grants:

Travel Grant for Loyola Marymount University Italy Mission, 2012

Travel Grant for the Board of Rabbis Leadership Mission to Israel and Palestine, 2010

Travel Grant for India, UC Santa Barbara, 2003.

Travel Grant for Pardes Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Harvard University, 2000.

 

Research Assistantship:

Graduate Research Assistant, Ford Pluralism Project, UC Santa Barbara, 2001-2003.

Responsible for researching the relationship of the Iranian Jewish community to the civic community in Los Angeles, through research and numerous interviews. I presented my research at the UCSB Pluralism Conference in Spring 2003; the research will be published.

Awards:

Independent Publisher Book Awards 2013; Gold Medal Winner in Religion for From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women Between Religion and Culture

AAR/WR First Place Student Paper 2008

Professional Memberships:

Executive Board Member of Loyola Marymount University’s Jewish Studies Advisory Board

Executive Board Member of Western Jewish Studies Association

Executive Board Member of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Los Angeles

Advisor for Religious Communities and the Iranian Community; Federal Bureau of Investigation

American Academy of Religion

Association for Jewish Studies

References:

Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Professor, Director

UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

Telephone: (310) 825-4153; sstein@history.ucla.edu


Roger Friedland, Professor

Department of Religious Studies, University of California,

Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Telephone: (805) 893-4552; friedland@soc.ucsb.edu


Rick Talbott; Professor; Department Chair

Department of Religious Studies, California State University, Northridge

18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8316

Telephone: (818) 677-3392; rick.talbott@csun.edu


Jeffrey S. Siker; Professor; Department Chair

Department of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, One LMU Drive,

University Hall 3700, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Telephone: (310) 338-7670; jsiker@lmu.edu


Holli Levitsky, Professor, Director

Jewish Studies Program, Loyola Marymount University, One LMU Drive,

University Hall 3700, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Telephone: (310) 338-7664; Holly.Levitsky@lmu.edu


Jody Myers, Professor, Coordinator of Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program

Department of Religious Studies, California State University, Northridge

18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8316

Office phone: 818-677-3007; jody.myers@csun.edu


Marla Berns, Director

UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History

308 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1549

Tel: (310) 825-4361; berns@arts.ucla.edu