Scholars

These pages are devoted to the senior and junior scholars - including academics, independent scholars, and graduate and undergraduate students - who studied and continue to study the holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life from a variety of disciplinary approaches. 

To go directly to a specific entry, begin typing a name (e.g. "Haas," "Jewish Community Center," or "Emanu-El") in the filter box below. To search for a name or term that may not be included in a collection's title, use the search box at the top of this page, or go to the advanced search page.

Francesco Spagnolo

Curator & Associate Adjunct Professor

Francesco Spagnolo is a multidisciplinary scholar focusing on Jewish studies, music, and digital media. At the University of California, Berkeley, he is the Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life and an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music and the Center for Jewish Studies. He is also an affiliated faculty with the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Institute of European Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Religious Diversity Cluster of the Haas Institute. Dr. Spagnolo is also a host for the cultural programs of Italian National Radio (RAI) in Rome, and a Scholar-in-Residence with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco. Among his publications are Italian Jewish Musical Traditions (Rome-Jerusalem, 2001) and The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art and Culture (New York, 2014).

Alan Elbaum, Graduate Research Assistant (2016)

Alan is a first-year medical student at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. While at Berkeley, he is working toward a master's degree in the history of medicine, using manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah. More broadly, he is interested in the literature and culture of the Jews of Arab lands; historical perspectives on medicine and the social determinants of health; and how insights from the past can guide the way medicine is practiced today. His project at the Magnes is based on the collection of Egyptian Karaite and Rabbanite manuscripts that were recently cataloged by Dr.

Barbara Goldstein

Visiting Research Associate (2013-present)

Barbara Goldstein is a historian of European fascism. She received her PhD from the University of Vienna, Austria with a dissertation devoted to newsreel films created by the Austrian Police between 1929-1938 as part of governmental fascist propaganda campaigns.One of Goldstein’s focuses and special interests is in historic administrative structures and “infamous people” in the early-modern period.

Daniel Fisher

Magnes Graduate Fellow (2014-2015)

Daniel Fisher is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Daniel’s research explores social, historical, and literary questions in the Hebrew Bible and early Jewish biblical interpretation. He is currently writing a dissertation entitled, “Memories of the Ark: Cultural Memory, Material Culture, and the Construction of the Past in Biblical Societies.” The project develops a cultural biography of the Ark of the Covenant, exploring its use and reuse as a site ofmemory before and after its loss.

Eli Rosenblatt

Magnes Graduate Fellow (2013-2014)

Eli Rosenblatt is a PhD Candidate in Jewish Studies at UC-Berkeley. His primary interests include the literature of the Jewish Enlightenment, modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature, and broader questions about change in Jewish culture. He is also the founder of the Berkeley Inaugural Conference in Romani Studies, a cross-campus initiative to promote the scholarly study of the Romani (“Gypsy”) culture and history.

Fred Rosenbaum

Historian

Fred Rosenbaum, an award-winning author, teacher, and educator, is the Founding Director of Lehrhaus Judaica. Rosenbaum has also been a faculty member at the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where for five years he taught a semester-long course on the Holocaust to Christian seminarians. He has lectured widely in the United States and abroad, in such cities as Prague, St.

Shalom Sabar

Folklorist and Art Historian

Shalom Sabar is Professor of Jewish Art and Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sabar is the last Jewish baby born and circumcised in the ages old neo-Aramaic speaking Kurdish-Jewish community of Zakho. He earned his PhD in Art History from UCLA (1987), writing on the illustrated marriage contracts of the Jews in Renaissance and Baroque Italy.

William M. Brinner (1924-2011)

Professor of Near Eastern Studies (UC Berkeley)

A native of the San Francisco area, Professor Brinner studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught Arabic and Islamic studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies from 1956 until his retirement in 1991, having served as Chair of the Department several times. Professor Brinner also served as a visiting professor at Harvard, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, University of Washington, and at three Israeli universities.

Yosef Rosen

Magnes Graduate Fellow (Fall 2015)

Yosef Rosen is a doctoral candidate in Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley. His dissertation offers a new take on the emergence of Kabbalah in Spain, as told through literary forgeries, epistles, courtroom chronicles, and literary transformations in rabbinic culture. He received an MA in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University and a BA in Philosophy from Yeshiva University.

During his Fellowship at The Magnes, Yosef will work with Curator, Dr. Francesco Spagnolo, researching the collection of Shiviti amulets and planning an upcoming exhibition.

Zach Bleemer

Graduate Research Assistant (2016)

Zach Bleemer is a data scientist and microeconomist studying aesthetics and young person decision-making at UC Berkeley, where he is a doctoral student in Economics. His research, which has been supported by fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Schupf Scholars program, examines popular latent aesthetic categories and beliefs since 1600 across Europe and the United States.