ATCJS Postdoctoral Fellow Cohort of 2023-2024

October 3, 2023 by Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

The ATCJS is thrilled to welcome five postdoctoral fellows in 2023/24! 

Kineret Sadeh

Ray D. Wolfe Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies

A sociologist of culture and liberalism who studies Israeli society, Dr. Kineret Sadeh examines social actors at the crossroads of liberal culture and non-liberal worlds of meaning and how they cope with the challenge of living together with others. In her doctoral dissertation (Tel Aviv University), she explored how ultra-Orthodox Mizrahi educators who belong to a new civic elite – currently emerging in ultra-Orthodox society in Israel – deal with the challenge of educating their students, and even themselves, about living with those who are different from them: non-Jews, secular Jews, LGBTs, etc. Her findings revealed how they developed forms of tolerance that surpass the contentious notions of liberal toleration. As The Ray D. Wolfe Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies, Sadeh's research focuses on NGOs promoting a new democratic culture that mediates between liberal and non-liberal groups in Israel. She depicts the cultural toolkits (i.e., symbols, stories, rituals, and world-views) used by activists to develop solidarity and civic friendship across the divides and traces the role of Jewish traditions and culture in this effort.

Dr. Sadeh served as a Research Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (2022-23). Prior to this, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Minerva Center for Human Rights, Tel Aviv University (2001-22), and at the Department of Sociology, Political Science, and Communication, the Open University of Israel (2020-21). During her Ph.D. candidacy, she was a Doctoral Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Tel Aviv University, and a Young Scholar at the Israel Democracy Institute. In 2017, she was awarded the President of the State of Israel Scholarship for Scientific Excellence and Innovation.    


Emilie Amar-Zifkin

Igor Kaplan Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish-Christian Relations

Emilie Amar-Zifkin is a historian of Jewish-Christian relations and medieval Jewish history. Her doctoral dissertation, “Observing the Observers: Procession and Public Religion in Medieval Ashkenaz,” examined Jewish-Christian interaction and the performance of religious identity in public space. Reading through the lenses of spatial and sensory theory, her analysis engaged both legal and narrative sources about, seeing, hearing, and performing Jewish and Christian identities in the medieval public sphere. 

During her postdoctoral fellowship, Emilie is preparing her dissertation as a monograph entitled “Public Observing and the Aural Tradition: Sensory Dynamics and Medieval Jewish-Christian Interaction.” She is also beginning work on her second book, examining medieval Jewish and Christian experiences and perceptions of “invisible” disabilities. The project involves incorporating contemporary disability studies into a Jewish studies framework, and discusses cases of deafness, disorders of speech and language, and generally non-neurotypical behaviors in both Jewish and Christian sources. Reading narratives about Jewish and Christian interaction through a unifying theoretical framework of disability studies offers a new way of engaging with the history of the senses in a medieval context -- and a new way of seeing, hearing, and understanding Christian-Jewish relations. 

This winter, Emilie will be teaching a new undergraduate seminar called “Sensory Encounters: Medieval Perceptions and Interreligious Interactions,” which explores the roles and importance of the senses through the lenses of medieval history and modern sensory theory.


Olga Talal

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science

Olga Talal is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto (as of July 2023). Dr. Talal is a political scientist focusing on ethnic and identity politics, public goods provision, and minority collective agency in multiethnic states. She integrates comparative nationalism studies and public administration approaches to investigate Israel’s complex relationship with the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, situating this research in a comparative perspective. 

After completing BA and MA at the University of Haifa, Israel, and PhD in political studies at Queen’s Univesity, she held a postdoctoral fellow position at the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity at Queen’s. Dr. Talal is the deputy director of the Minority Institutions Database, a founding member of the Russian and East European Studies Network (REES) at Queen’s University and a research associate on a collaborative research project on ethnic minorities in diverse states: “Divided Cities” (Queen’s-McGill). Dr. Talal’s works have been published in Comparative Political Studies, Politics & Policy, and Nationalities Papers.


Ynon Wygoda

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies in collaboration with the Grafstein Chair in Jewish Philosophy and the Department for the Study of Religion

Ynon Wygoda is a postdoctoral fellow at the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies in collaboration with the Grafstein Chair in Jewish Philosophy and the Department of Religion. Prior to arriving at the University of Toronto, he held the Olga and William Lakritz postdoctoral fellowship and was a member of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows. He previously taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, the Paideia Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and served as a visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and as the Franz Rosenzweig visiting professor at the University of Kassel, Germany.

His academic focus lies on the intersection of twentieth-century French and German philosophy and modern Jewish thought. He earned his doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the notion of silence and ineffability in the works of Franz Rosenzweig and Vladimir Jankélévitch. In Toronto, he will center on two projects: New philosophical readings of the book of Job, on the topic of which, alongside Michael Rosenthal, he will codirect a reading group and organize an international conference in the spring; and the working papers of Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber towards their monumental translation of the Bible, for the purpose of which, in collaboration with Robert Gibbs, he aims to create a collaborative platform for a group of international scholars in order to offer first fruits of these amazing philosophical and hermeneutical insights to the academic community and to the public at large.


Sofiya Grachova 

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

Dr. Grachova is a postdoctoral fellow at the Anne Tanenbaum Center for Jewish Studies, working with Professor Anna Shternshis. Her postdoctoral research focuses on Jewish history and the Holocaust in Ukraine. She earned her PhD in history from Harvard University in 2014. She previously held a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and while in residence as a fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (2015-16), Dr. Grachova conducted research on her project, “Science and Inter-ethnic Relations in Galicia/Western Ukraine (1937-1947)”. She possesses language skills in Russian, Ukrainian, English, Polish, German, and Yiddish.