Sarah Bunin Benor - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Sarah Bunin Benor, Ph.D

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Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, Los Angeles; Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management; Rabbinical Program, Los Angeles
Academic Field: 
Language and Literature; Sociology
Research Interests: 
American Jewish Language and Identity; Sociology and Anthropology of American Jews; Jewish Languages; Yiddish; Orthodox Jews; Sociolinguistic Variation; Language Socialization; Ethnography

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Sarah Bunin Benor is Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where she teaches mostly masters students in the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and undergraduates at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Linguistics in 2004. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism and Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps, as well as many articles about Jewish languages, Yiddish, and American Jews. Dr. Benor has received several fellowships and prizes, including the Dorot Fellowship in Israel, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and the Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature. She is founding co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages and co-editor of Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present and We the Resilient: Wisdom for America from Women Born Before Suffrage. She founded and directs the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project, which produces the Jewish Language Website and the Jewish English Lexicon. Her current projects analyze Hebrew use at Jewish supplementary schools and the names Jews give their children and their pets. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Mark, and their daughters, Aliza, Dalia, and Ariella.

Current and Future Courses
Applied Jewish Wisdom
Evolution and Structure of the American Jewish Community
Research Methods in American Jewish Life
Introduction to Judaism (USC)
Language, Race, and Identity in the United States Today (USC)
American Jewish Language and Identity in Historical Context
History of Jewish Languages
Introduction to Yiddish Language and Culture
Public Lecture Topics
Tradition and Creativity in Jewish Names Around the World
Jewish Languages Today: Endangered, Surviving, and Thriving
Do American Jews Speak a Jewish Language?
Mensch, Bentsh, and Balagan: Language as a Marker of Jewish Identity
Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism
Chutzpah to Chidush: A Century of Yiddish-Influenced English in America (especially popular among older audiences)
Ruach in the Chadar Ochel: Language at American Jewish Summer Camps
Language and Transition in the Amazon series Transparent
Jews in the Pew(s) and Beyond: What Recent Research Tells Us About Jewish Identity and Community
Az di tate-mame zoln nisht farshteyn: Speak Yiddish So Your Parents Won’t Understand! (for teens and pre-teens)
Hebrew Infusion in Jewish Education (geared toward educators)