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Fellows and Visitors

Jim Joseph Postdoctoral Fellows (2019-2020)


Sandy Fox

B.A. New School University, Eugene Lang College (History and Politics

Ph.D. New York University (History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies)

Jim Joseph Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018-2020

Sandra Fox's research interests focus on American Jewish history, youth history, and Yiddish culture. Her current project considers Zionist, Yiddishist, and liberal Jewish summer camps in the American postwar period. The work describes how the anxieties of educators, centered on a perceived decline in Jewish culture, shaped the lived experience. At the same time, the project addresses the desires and cultures of youth within the camp milieu, and how they reacted and interacted to their adults' ideological missions. With this dual-perspective, the project shows how the generations, through clashing and converging, came to reconstitute Jewish nationalisms, languages, and religious practices in order to fix their communities' cultural shortcomings as they understood them.

At Stanford, Sandra will begin a new project that assesses the dynamics and discourses between Jewish youth, educators, and Jewish communal institutions regarding intermarriage from the 1960s through the 1990s. As rates of intermarriage grew beginning in the 1960s, American Jewish communal bodies found themselves, each in their own way, embarking on a decades-long communal panic over the risks and downsides of Jews marrying out of the group. Their fears, which came about in the aftermath of the Holocaust, became deeply intertwined with American Jewish culture broadly defined and Jewish youth culture. The discourse around intermarriage has deeply shaped Jewish education. Sandra plans to consider a range of sources, including those of educational programs, the Jewish press, youth magazines and newspapers, and American Jewish literature and film in order to capture the breadth and depth of how intermarriage impacted Jewish education and Jewish youth culture, starting in the 1960s and ending with the beginning of the Birthright Israel program in 1999.

In 2018, Sandra received her doctorate in History and Hebrew Judaic Studies from NYU, and then came to hold a postdoctoral fellowship at Ben Gurion University in the Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism's "Israel and World Jewry" research group. Sandra also works in the Yiddish world (where she's known by her Yiddish name, Sosye) as the founder and executive producer of Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish, as well as in the capacity of an editorial board member with In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. For more information, a CV, and contact information, please visit her website.


Erin Johnston

B.A. Rutgers University (Sociology)

Ph.D. Princeton University (Sociology)

Jim Joseph Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018-2020

Erin’s research examines how our identities, experiences, and actions are shaped by the social and cultural contexts in which we find ourselves. Focusing on experiences of profound personal transformation, Erin seeks to understand how individuals, with the help of others, go about discovering who they are and how they want to live — and then actively pursue this goal. She has found religion a particularly rich site for addressing these questions. During her graduate studies, Erin conducted fieldwork in three different religious communities - a Wiccan coven, an Integral Yoga studio, and a Catholic spiritual center - and has written about the role of narrative, aspirations, embodied practices, and emotion in the process of religious change and spiritual formation.

In addition to her research, Erin is also a dedicated teacher and mentor. From 2016-2018, she was a Fellow in the Thinking Matters program here at Stanford, where she worked with faculty and other fellows to design and implement innovative, interdisciplinary courses for first-year students. Erin has also taught classes in sociology and social psychology at Princeton University, Bennington College, and Kean University.



Visiting Scholars 2019-2020

Darren Kleinberg

Darren Kleinberg is an ordained rabbi (YCT) and a holds a PhD in Religious Studies (ASU), where he explored the intersection of sociology and theology through the prism of American Jewish identity construction. He is currently serving in his seventh year as Head of School at Kehillah Jewish High School, in Palo Alto, CA, and is a Visiting Scholar with the Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Darren teaches and writes about the cultivation of wisdom and is the author of Hybrid Judaism: Irving Greenberg, Encounter, and the Changing Nature of American Jewish Identity.