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Sarah Bunin Benor, PhD | Vice Provost, Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and Linguistics, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

Jewish Education, Linguistics, Qualitative Methods

United States

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Sarah Bunin Benor is Vice Provost and Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and Adjunct Professor in the University of Southern California Linguistics Department. She received her B.A. from Columbia University in Comparative Literature in 1997 and 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 (Rutgers University Press, 2012) and Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps (Rutgers University Press, 2020), 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, the Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature, and the National Jewish Book Award in Education and Jewish Identity. She is founding co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages and co-editor of Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present (De Gruyter Mouton, 2018) and We the Resilient: Wisdom for America from Women Born Before Suffrage (Luminare Press, 2017). She founded and directs the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project, which runs the Jewish Language Website and the Jewish English Lexicon. She is currently working on a project analyzing the names Jews give their children and their pets. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three teenage children. Dr. Benor has served as an expert witness and is often interviewed by journalists, filmmakers, and others.

Recent Publications
  • Benor, Sarah Bunin, Jonathan Krasner, and Sharon Avni. 2020. Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
  • Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2020. “Bivalent Writing: Hebrew and English Alphabets in Jewish English.” Journal of Jewish Languages 8/1-2: 108-157.
  • Benor, Sarah Bunin, Netta Avineri, and Nicki Greninger. 2020. “Let’s Stop Calling It ‘Hebrew School’: Rationales, Goals, and Practices of Hebrew Education in Part-Time Jewish Schools.” Washington, DC: Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education. https://www.casje.org/HebrewEdPartTime.
Current Research Projects
  • American Jewish personal names
  • Jewish names of pets
  • Endangered Jewish languages