Rachel Elior, Prof
* Professor Emerita of Jewish Thought, the Hebrew
Rachel Elior is a Professor Emerita of Jewish Thought at the Department of Jewish Thought in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she had completed her PhD Summa cum Laude in 1976. She taught history of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University from 1978 to 2015 and served several times as the Chair of the Department of Jewish Thought where she was appointed as John and Golda Cohen Chair of Jewish Philosophy and Mystical thought.
Prof. Elior wrote 16 books on Hasidism, Sabbatianism, Messianism, Kabbalah, Hekhalot Mysticism, Dead Sea Scrolls and the role of women in Jewish culture. She edited ten books on Jewish mysticism, as well as 120 articles, most of which are listed on her website: http://pluto.huji.ac.il/~mselio/.
Her academic work shed new light on the literature of persecuted Jewish authors in various historical periods, those who were excommunicated, expelled and censored, who were afraid and had to write as anonymous writers or had to choose pseudoepigraphic names in order to convey their controversial message. She is further interested in the reasons for the absence of Jewish literature written by women in the Hebrew language, in the library of 'The People of the Book'.
She has been a visiting professor at Princeton University, UCL [London], Yeshiva University, The University of Tokyo, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, in the University of Chicago , in Lomonosov Moscow State University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and In Paideia- The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden.
Her two recent books are "Israel Baal Shem Tov and his Contemporaries: Kabbalists, Sabbatians, Chassidim and Mithnagdim (Jerusalem: Carmel 2014) and "Grandma did not Know to Read and Write: about Learning and Ignorance, Slavery and Freedom (Jerusalem: Carmel 2018).
Prof. Elior is a Senior Fellow at the Van Leer Institute of Jerusalem. She is the recipient of many awards and prizes, among them: The Gershom Sholem Prize for the Study of Jewish Mysticism from The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2006), A Honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati and Jerusalem for excellence in academic research and for her distinguished contributions to Jewish-Israeli feminism and the struggle for social justice and peace (2016). A WIZO award for her contribution to the establishment of Israeli feminism and for her contribution to promoting social justice and activism for peace. She is a member of the International Council of the New Israel Fund, a member of the public council of "Yesh Din", the Tag Meir Forum for Peace, and of the International Council of the National Library in Jerusalem.