Dr. Oren Roman

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Research Fellow 2015-16

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Oren Roman is a post-doctoral fellow at the Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received his Ph.D from the Hebrew University in 2015 after completing a thesis on "The Old-Yiddish Epics on the Book of Joshua and the Book of Judges". His BA and MA are from the Yiddish Department at the Hebrew University, and he also studied at the the department of Ältere deutsche Sprache und Literatur at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in 2005. In 2012 he participated in the European Seminar for Advanced Jewish Studies at Oxford University.

Research Project

The project deals with the retelling and the transmission of the story of the Binding of Isaac (עקדת יצחק) during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era among Jews from the German speaking realm. The research will concentrate on Hebrew piyutim and texts in the vernacular, generally referred to as West Yiddish. Although the corpus of Hebrew piyutim as well as the parallel corpus of poems and prose texts in West Yiddish, have each been the subject of extensive research, a close comparison of the two bodies of literature is still desired. The current research project aims to highlight the unique aspects documented in the vernacular texts, such as popular beliefs regarding death, perception of family, Jewish mythology, the traumatic memory of the crusades, influence of co-territorial Christian culture, and more. Such aspects and “popular” voices are often absent from Hebrew texts which were generally written by men from the rabbinic elite and targeted a similar audience.

Selected Publications

- “Be-nign Shmuel-bukh: On the Melody or Melodies Mentioned in Old-Yiddish Epics”, Aschkenas - Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der Juden 25,1 (2015), pp. 145–160.

- “The Mighty One of Israel: On Epics in Old-Yiddish” [Hebrew], Zmanim: A Historical Quarterly, 125 (2014), pp. 18–25.

- “The Song of Deborah in Sefer Shoftim (Mantua 1564)”, Amsterdam Yiddish Symposium, 3 (2009), pp. 27–44.