Shira Wilkof

Dr. Shira Wilkof

Postdoctoral Fellow

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Shira Wilkof specializes in the history and theory of modern spatial knowledge – planning, urbanism, geography, and environmental thought, with a particular interest in professional transnationalism.  In her dissertation, which she recently completed at UC Berkeley, she examined the emergence of Zionist planning, as a distinct locus of German knowledge transfer, placing it as an encounter between Central European planning traditions, British colonial practices and the Zionist ideology. This study provides a first history of the field of planning in Jewish Palestine/Israel.

 At the Rosenzweig center, she will continue to explore mid-twentieth century German intellectual migration by focusing on how environmental-scientific attitudes travelled to the Palestine/Israel, adapted to the local nation-building project, and later were exported by Israeli experts of German background to the postwar “developing” world. Based on the rich holdings of the Historical Archives at the Hebrew University, her research challenges perceived notions of the direct flow of knowledge from Germany to the West, demonstrating instead how Palestine/Israel became a key locus of knowledge production in this process.

Another long-lasting project in which Shira is engaged is the production of urban space in East Jerusalem in the context of a contested city. Based on her MA research, which examined the intersections between spatial professionalism and nationalism in the making of post-1967 Jerusalem, she continues to explore the city’s complex planning realities and their impact on urban communities.

Dr. Wilkof holds a B.A. degree in History and Geography at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; an M.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning at The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; and a Ph.D. in History of Architecture and Urbanism at UC Berkeley.

Selected Publications

“‘Art and Technik’ in Zionist Town Planning: Ariel Kahane’s Utopian City,” in Jahrbuch des Simon Dubnow-Instituts/Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook XVII (forthcoming 2018)

“‘A Historical Opportunity’: Landscape, Statism, and Competition in the Making of the Walls of
Jerusalem National Park, 1967-1970,” co-authored with Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, in Cathedra 163 (2017):163-190 [Hebrew]

"New Towns, New Nation: Europe and the Emergence of Zionist Israeli National Planning Between the Wars." In Planting New Towns in Europe in the Interwar Years: Experiments and Dreams for Future Societies, edited by Helen Meller and Heleni Forfyriou, 195–228. Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.


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Dr. Michaela Wirtz

Research Fellow 2005

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Michaela Wirtz was a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from January to November 2005. Her research project was titled "'Fatherland' and 'Patriotism' in the German-Jewish Press between 1871 and 1918: Definitions under the tension between German and Jewish Nationalism".

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Kathrin Wittler

Dr. Kathrin Wittler

Research Fellow 2015-2016
Peter Szondi-Institut für AVL, Freie Universität, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany
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Kathrin Wittler was a Minerva Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from April 2015 till November 2016. During her stay in Jerusalem, she completed her award-winning book “Morgenländischer Glanz. Eine deutsche jüdische Literaturgeschichte (1750-1850)”, which was published in 2019 in the "Schriftenreihe wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo Baeck Instituts".

Since 2017, Kathrin is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Peter Szondi Institute for General and Comparative Literature (Freie Universität Berlin). Her research focuses on literary multilingualism (German/Hebrew), the reception of the Bible, orientalism, book cultures, and literary solitude. Her second book will be a contribution to the field of comparative literature, exploring the genre aesthetics of solitude. In addition, Kathrin is involved in two historical projects in the field of Jewish Studies. Together with Uta Lohmann, she is preparing an edition of the maskil Joel Löwe's Breslau writings (1791-1801), funded by the DFG. Together with Johannes Czakai, she works on a biography of the poet and secret agent Joel Jacoby (1811-1863), funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung.

Kathrin’s publications include essays on 'Orientalist Body Politics. Intermedia Encounters between German and Polish Jews around 1800' (Central Europe, vol. 17, 2019), ‘Travelling Images and Orientalist Knowledge in Philippson’s Israelitische Bibel’ (Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol. 62, 2017), on the history of the appellation ‘Muselmann’ (Zeit­schrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, vol. 61, 2013), and on Heine’s German Jewish orientalism (Heine-Jahrbuch, vol. 49, 2010).



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Jan-Hendrik Wulf

Research Fellow 2006-7
Husemannstraße 5, D-10435 Berlin, Germany

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Current Affiliation or Position: Johanneum Lüneburg.
Current Research Project: German-language Literature by Israeli authors.

Jan-Hendrik Wulf was a Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from October 2006 to June 2007. His research project was titled "Re(de)fining Spinozism as Judaism? A Borderline Discourse on Cultural Identiy in 18th Century German-Jewish Haskalah".



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Dr. Kim Wünschmann

Research Fellow 2011
LMU Munich, School of History, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, D-80539 Munich, Germany

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Current Affiliation or Position: LMU Munich.
Current Research Project: "Enemy Aliens": The Status and Treatment of Foreign Civilians in Modern War.

Kim Wünschmann was a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from January through June 2011. Her research project was titled "Jewish Intellectual Responses to Concentration Camp Terror".



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Dr. Ynon Wygoda

Head of the project "The Star and its Universe: Franz Rosenzweig between Past and Future"
Research Fellow 2021-2022
Lakritz Fellowship

Sara Yanovsky

Dr. Sara Yanovsky

Project coordinator of "Documents – Memory – Historiography. The Second Theresienstadt Film"
Research Fellow 2017-18
Rechov Yehuda 9/4 Modiin-Maccabim-Reut
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Sara Yanovsky completed her PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with the dissertation titled "Facing the Challenge of Jewish Education in the Metropolis: A Comparative Study of the Jewish Communal Organizations of Budapest and Vienna, from 1867 until World War II." Her current research focuses on the life and works of Simon Szanto, an influential educator and journalist in 19th century Vienna.
Sara completed her BA in Media Studies at the University of Westminster, London, and her MA in International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. As a doctoral student at the Hebrew University, Sara participated in the "Jews and Cities" research group at the Mandel Scholion Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Humanities and Jewish Studies. She received the Excellence Scholarship for Students of the European Forum at the Hebrew University, the International Doctoral Scholarship of the Memorial Foundation, and participated in the International Leo Baeck Fellowship Program. After her dissertation she received a research grant from the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy for her project "Social Networks, Demography, and Identity: A Prosopographic Study of Vienna’s Jewish Upper Class 1800-1938. Sara is also part of the team working on the international research project: Dokumente – Erinnerungen – Geschichtsschreibung. Der zweite Theresienstadt- film, seine Dokumentationen und seine Rekonstruktionen aus der Perspektive der Überlebenden.



Research Project

Sara's current project on Simon Szánto’s life and publications aims to uncover wide-ranging phenomena of the Central European liberal era in the second half of the 19th century. It seeks to clarify the opportunities and challenges faced by minority groups’ publications and their authors, as well as educators, who shaped opinions, and who worked actively to become an integral part of Austrian society and the liberal German culture, while nourishing their own intellectual and religious voice. Szanto was one of the most influential authors during the high point of Austrian liberalism between 1860 and 1880, he wrote for numerous Viennese papers, established the Jewish press and Jewish educational institutions in Vienna, with a particular focus on women's education. Balancing the dialectic between the desire for integrating Jews into Viennese society while also maintaining Jewish particularity, his views had a strong impact on shaping his generation.

Selected Publications

- Social Networks, Demography, and Identity A Prosopographic Study of Vienna’s Jewish Upper Class 1800-1938, International institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center, 2015

- "Taking Responsibility and Action: Jewish Education in Vienna 1918-1938. The Austrian State and the Jewish Community of Vienna Balancing the Challenges of Jewish Education in Interwar Vienna", Center for Austrian Studies, European Forum at the Hebrew University (Working Paper 93/2010)

- "Jewish Education in Inter-War Vienna: Cooperation, Compromise and Conflict between The Austrian State and the Viennese Jewish Community", in From Empire to Republic: Post-World War I Austria (Contemporary Austrian Studies, Vol.XIX), University of New Orleans Press

- "Jewish Religious Education in Vienna 1918-1938: Consensus and Friction between the Austrian State and the Viennese Jewish Community", in Europa Orientalis, University of Vienna, 2010


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Irit Youngerman

Research Fellow 2008-9
Tchernichovski St. 10, Jerusalem 9258113

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Current Affiliation or Position: Teaching fellow and research fellow, University of Haifa.
Current Research Project: Music in the Jewish Yishuv of Palestine.

Irit Youngerman was a Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from October 2008 to June 2009. Her research project was titled "In Search of a New Identity: European Born Composers in the Jewish Yishuv and Early Israeli Statehood, 1933-1955."



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Dr. Shelly Zer-Zion

Research Fellow 2001-3

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Shelly Zer-Zion was a Research Fellow at the Rosenzweig Center from October 2001 to June 2002 and from October 2002 to June 2003. Her research project was titled "Imprints of German-Jewish Culture in the Hebrew Repertory Theatre, 1918-1945".



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Dr. Asaf Ziderman

Affiliated Research Fellow 2021-2022
Research Fellow 2018-19
Kibbutz Ein Ha-Natziv, 1080500
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 Dr. Asaf Ziderman is a postdoctoral fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center. He received his doctorate in the school of philosophy at Tel Aviv University in 2019. He has also been a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies and at Israel’s Open University.  

Dr. Ziderman’s main area of research is the intersections of 19th and 20th German-Jewish thought and analytic philosophy of action. His first monograph, The Act of Love: Martin Buber’s Dialogical Thought as a Philosophy of Action, is under final revisions.

More broadly, Dr. Ziderman’s fields of interest are philosophical anthropology, theoretical perspectives on religion, modern Jewish thought, and Israel Studies,


“Martin Buber’s Dialogical Thought as a Philosophy of Action”, Journal of Religion 101:3 (2021)

“Chaos, Abgrund, and Wirbel: On Buber’s Notion of Ambivalence” in Sarah Scott (ed.), Rethinking Martin Buber: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Philosophy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press (forthcoming)


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