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Jay R. Berkovitz

Judaic & Near Eastern Studies

(413) 545-5868

740 Herter Hall

Jay R. Berkovitz is Professor and Chair of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. He received his Ph.D. at Brandeis University. His research and teaching focus on the early modern history of the Jews, with special emphasis on Jewish law, family; ritual; and communal governance. Professor Berkovitz has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Starr Fellowship at Harvard University and the 2011-12 Inaugural National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Scholar Fellowship, co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish History in New York. He has held visiting appointments at Bar Ilan University, University of Connecticut at Storrs, and as the Lady Davis Professor at the Hebrew University. He currently serves as joint editor-in-chief of the academic journal Jewish History.

Research Areas

  • The Jews in Early Modern France and Germany
  • The French Revolution and the Jews
  • Jewish Legal Theory and Jurisprudence
  • Ritual and Religion



  • Protocols of Justice: The Rabbinic Court of Metz, 1771-1789. Leiden, NL: Brill Academic Publishers, 2014. 
  • Tradition and Revolution in Early Modern France [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Merkaz Zalman Shazar, 2007.
  • Rites and Passages: The Beginnings of Modern Jewish Culture in France, 1650-1860. Philadelphia: Penn Press, 2004.
  • The Shaping of Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-century France. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989.