Research Fellowships – Jewish History: Legal, Intellectual and Political

Research Fellowship in Jewish History: Legal, Intellectual and Political

This fellowship opportunity is for students participating full time in the Pardes Year/Semester program. The Research Fellowship in Jewish History: Legal, Intellectual, and Political is an opportunity to familiarize oneself with sources from almost the whole range of the primary texts of the Jewish people’s tradition. It is an opportunity to familiarize oneself, both textually and historically, with a wide range of passages from most of the authors and works of late First-Temple through sixteenth-century-CE Jewries as discussions of practical wisdom.

The Research Fellow’s primary service is to create several indexes for Elisha Ancselovits’s A Peoplehood of Wisdom: The History of Jews, Study, and Norms – Section One: 600 BCE–1600 CE. These indexes will include the standard name and topic index. They will include a Biblical and Talmudic index. Most importantly, and most rewarding for the fellow, the fellow will also create two law indexes – one based on Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and the other based on the Shulhan Arukh (with allusion to Arukh ha-Shulhan ha-Atid for those law topics not covered by the former). In weekly meetings, the research fellow may also choose for their own edification to discuss the legal issues, historical questions, and the book’s parallel non-Jewish primary sources (ancient pagan through Christian and Muslim). This, however, is not a requirement of the fellowship.

Description of Faculty Research:

A Peoplehood of Wisdom: The History of Jews, Study, and Norms – Volume One

This work has moved beyond Elisha’s publications that explain how Jewish law and all forms of specialized Jewish discourse (such as philosophy or kabbala) have always been at their best, only common-sense discussions of real-life human issues spoken in a range of vocabularies. Rather than argue interdisciplinarily how to access both an author’s intent (albeit not full depth) and an author’s insight, A Peoplehood of Wisdom draws on historical information to reveal what the authors meant. It tells a story.

Fellowship Requirements

  • 6 hours/week in the Pardes Beit Midrash. (As regards primary sources published in journals or in rare books, the plan is to have the researcher use online access and not require the researcher to visit a library.)
  • Weekly meeting with the faculty advisor. One book chapter per week for 28 weeks. (The book is composed of thirty chapters including the introduction chapter and the methodological chapter. Those two chapters, however, do not fall under the research fellow’s obligations.)
  • Participation in the Unpacking the Sages course (Tuesday 5:15-7:15 pm) and in the Kollel-level classes.


  • August 2023: The Research Fellow will receive the draft book at least two weeks before the beginning of the Pardes academic year and will read it.
  • June 2024: All indexes are to be complete.


  • Fluency in rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic
  • Indexing skills
  • Fluency in rabbinic sources in order to index topically

All fellows will receive a guaranteed living expense grant ranging from $200-$600/month (exact amount determined by financial need) AND receive highly subsidized Year Program tuition: $3,000 discount for those not eligible for Masa Israel Journey funding, and $2,000 discount for those eligible for Masa funding.

A letter of recommendation from a supervisor who can speak to the candidate’s relevant experience and potential growth and contributions through the fellowship is required. This may be one of the two letters of recommendation required for the Year program application, or an additional recommendation. The letter must be submitted along with the Fellowship Application and the 2023-24 Pardes Year Program application.

Applications are due by May 15, 2023.