Sarah Bunin Benor, Ph.D.
( Display directory entry)
Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies
Dr. Benor is Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at the Los Angeles campus. She teaches about the social science of American Jews, as well as about language and culture. She mentors students in the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and serves as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of Southern California. Her book, , was published in 2012. She is the founder and editor of the Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism Jewish Language Research Website, the Jewish English Lexicon, and the Journal of Jewish Languages.
Areas of Expertise
American Jewish language and identity
Sociology and anthropology of American Jews
Newly Orthodox Jews
Ph.D., M.A., Stanford University, Linguistics (2004)
B.A., Columbia University, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, Yiddish (1997)
Dr. Benor has presented interactive, engaging lectures to synagogues and other Jewish groups for over a decade. The lectures below can be offered individually or in sequences of three or more as part of a scholar-in-residence weekend. All talks draw from Dr. Benor’s academic research and are presented in ways that are accessible and interesting to the general public. You can see
descriptions of the lectures here.
Mensch, Bentsh, and Balagan: Language as a Marker of Jewish Identity Matisyahu’s Beard and Miriam’s Skirts: What People Change When They Become Orthodox
Chutzpah to Chidush: A Century of Yiddish-Influenced English in America Yiddish, Ladino, and Jewish English: Do American Jews Speak a Jewish Language?
What’s on your jPad? Trends in American Jewish Identity and Community
Jewishness in America: Religion or Ethnicity?
Jewish Languages Around the World
Frum Unity, Frum Diversity: The Orthodox Continuum in Popular Culture
Mameloshn (Mother-Tongue): An Introduction to Yiddish Language and Culture
Az di tate-mame zoln nisht farshteyn: Speak Yiddish So Your Parents Won’t Understand!
Di Goyim, Loz Vedres, and The Gentiles: Referring to Non-Jews in Yiddish, Ladino, and English Watch Dr. Benor give a brief TED-style talk about Jewish language as part of the
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2012. Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2012. “Echoes of Yiddish in the Speech of Twenty-First-Century American Jews.” In Choosing Yiddish: Studies on Yiddish Literature, Culture, and History, ed. Lara Rabinovitch, Shiri Goren, and Hannah Pressman. Detroit: Wayne State Press.319-337.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2011. “Young Jewish Leaders in Los Angeles: Strengthening the Jewish People in Conventional and Unconventional Ways.” In The New Jewish Leaders: Reshaping the American Jewish Landscape, ed., Jack Wertheimer. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press. 112-158.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. Forthcoming. “From Sabbath to Shabbat: Changing language of Reform sisterhood leaders, 1913-2012.” In Women of Reform Judaism / National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods centenary volume (title TBD), ed. Carole B. Balin, Dana Herman, Jonathan D. Sarna, and Gary P. Zola. Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives.
Benor, Sarah Bunin and Steven M. Cohen. 2011. “Talking Jewish: The ‘Ethnic English’ of American Jews.” In Ethnicity and Beyond: Theories and Dilemmas of Jewish Group Demarcation. Studies in Contemporary Jewry, vol. 25. Eli Lederhendler, ed. Institute of Contemporary Jewry and Oxford University Press. 62-78.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2011. “ Mensch, Bentsh, and Balagan: Variation in the American Jewish Linguistic Repertoire.” Language and Communication 31/2, special issue on “Jewish Languages in the Age of the Internet.” 141-154.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2010. Ethnolinguistic Repertoire: Shifting the Analytic Focus in Language and Ethnicity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14/2. 159-183.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2009. "Do American Jews Speak a 'Jewish Language'? A Model of Jewish Linguistic Distinctiveness." Jewish Quarterly Review 99/2. 230-269.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2008. "Towards a New Understanding of Jewish Language in the 21st Century." Religion Compass 2/6. 1062-1080.
Benor, Sarah Bunin and Roger Levy. 2006. "The Chicken or the Egg? A Probabilistic Analysis of English Binomials." Language 82/2, June 2006. 233-278.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2004. "Talmid Chachams and Tsedeykeses: Language, Learnedness, and Masculinity Among Orthodox Jews." Jewish Social Studies 11/1. 147-170.
Benor, Sarah Bunin and Steven M. Cohen. 2009. . "Survey of American Jewish Language and Identity." Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (summary of survey results for general audience)
Benor, Sarah Bunin and Bruce A. Phillips. 2009. "The HUC Masters Thesis: An Important Contribution to the Field of Jewish Communal Service." Journal of Jewish Communal Service 84/3-4, special issue on "The HUC-JIR School of Jewish Communal Service: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future." 228-231.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2009. "Lexical Othering in Judezmo: How Ottoman Sephardim Refer to Non-Jews." In Languages and Literatures of Sephardic and Oriental Jews: Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress. David M. Bunis, ed. Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute and Misgav Yerushalayim. 65-85.
Spolsky, Bernard and Sarah Bunin Benor. 2006. "Jewish Languages." In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Keith Brown, ed. 2nd edition. Vol. 6. Oxford: Elsevier. 120-124.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2004. Second Style Acquisition: The Linguistic Socialization of Newly Orthodox Jews. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, Linguistics.
Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2001. “The Learned /t/: Phonological Variation in Orthodox Jewish English.” In Penn Working Papers in Linguistics: Selected Papers from NWAV 29. 1-16.
Benor, Sarah. 2000. "Loan Words in the English of Modern Orthodox Jews: Yiddish or Hebrew?" In Steve S. Chang et al, ed. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1999. Parasession on Loan Word Phenomena. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society. 287-298.