Jay R. Berkovitz

Jay R. Berkovitz
Distinguished Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jay BerkovitzJay R. Berkovitz specializes in early modern Jewish history, he works in the areas of Jewish law, rabbinic scholarship, and communal governance. Professor Berkovitz is the author of four books: The Shaping of Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-century France (Wayne, 1989); Rites and Passages: The Beginnings of Modern Jewish Culture in France, 1650-1860 (UPenn, 2004); Tradition and Revolution in Early Modern France (Shazar Center for Jewish History, 2007); and Protocols of Justice: The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court, 1771-1789 (Brill, 2014). Protocols of Justice was the 2016 winner of the Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer Award in the category of modern Jewish history. His forthcoming books include Courting Change: Jewish Law, Authority, and Community in Early Modern Metz (Brill) and Jewish Law in Early Modern Europe: Community, Religion, and the Dynamics of Social Change (Cambridge University Press). Since 2012, Professor Berkovitz has been Editor-in-Chief of Jewish History.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Lady Davis Professorship at the Hebrew University; the Marion and Jasper Whiting Fellowship; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture; and the Inaugural National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Scholar Fellowship at the Center for Jewish History; and the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research in 2015.

Selected Publications

Protocols of Justice: The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court, 1771-1789 (Brill, 2014).

Rites and Passages: The Beginnings of Modern Jewish Culture in France, 1650-1860 (UPenn, 2004).

“Rabbinic Culture and the Historical Development of Halakhah.” Cambridge History of Judaism, Volume 7 pp. 349-377. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

“Ritual and Emancipation: Reassessing Cultural Modernization in France.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques 32:1 (2006): 9-38.

“Authority and Innovation at the Threshold of Modernity: The Me’orei Or of Rabbi Aaron Worms of Metz.” Me’ah She’arim: Studies in Medieval Jewish Spiritual Life in Memory of Isadore Twersky. Jerusalem, 2001, pp. 249-285.

“Social and Religious Controls in Pre-Revolutionary France: Rethinking the Beginnings of Modernity.” Jewish History 15:1 (2001): 1-40.