Samuel Catlin, Co-coordinator of the Jewish Studies Workshop (, is a fifth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature and in the Divinity School, concentrating in Religion & Literature. He studies literary theory and criticism and rabbinic literature, among other topics. His dissertation tracks the several ways rabbinic texts and traditions get taken up and put to ideological work in late twentieth-century American literary scholarship, situating this unprecedented interest in a longer history of the articulation of religion and literature in the academic institutions of putatively secular Western modernity. 

Mendel Kranz, Co-coordinator of the Jewish Studies Workshop (, is a fourth-year Ph.D. Student in the Divinity School, concentrating in the Philosophy of Religions. His interests include Modern Jewish Thought, Postcolonial Studies, Continental Philosophy, and Critical Theory. His dissertation project explores the intersection of postcolonialism and Jewishness in the North African and French contexts by examining how Jewish thinkers sought to recast Jewishness and its status as a minority alongside postcolonial figures. He takes up a similar line of inquiry in his article, “Postcolonial Zionism: Theological-Political Paradigms in Levinas and Memmi,” forthcoming in Hebrew Studies. He is a recipient of the Northwestern University Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship. Currently, he is on the Student Advisory Board for the Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies.


Sarah Hammerschlag, Faculty Co-advisor to the Jewish Studies Workshop, is Associate Professor of Religion, Literature & Visual Culture, the Philosophy of Religions, and the History of Judaism in the Divinity School. Her research thus far has focused on the position of Judaism in the post-World War II French intellectual scene, a field that puts her at the crossroads of numerous disciplines and scholarly approaches including philosophy, literary studies, and intellectual history. She is the author of The Figural Jew: Politics and Identity in Postwar French Thought (University of Chicago Press, 2010) and Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida and the Literary Afterlife of Religion (Columbia University Press, 2016) and the editor of Modern French Jewish Thought: Writings on Religion and Politics (Brandeis University Press, 2018). The Figural Jew received an Honorable Mention for the 2012 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award, given by the Association of Jewish Scholars, and was a finalist for the AAR’s Best First Book in the History of Religions in 2011. She has written essays on Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot which have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Jewish Quarterly Review and Shofar, among other places. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled “Sowers and Sages: The Renaissance of Judaism in Postwar Paris.”


Na’ama Rokem, Faculty Co-advisor to the Jewish Studies Workshop, is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and in the Department of Comparative Literature. She works on Modern Hebrew and German-Jewish literature. Her first book, Prosaic Conditions: Heinrich Heine and Spaces of Zionist Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2013) argues that prose — as a figure of thought, a mode and a medium — played an instrumental role in the literary foundations of the Zionist revolution. She is now writing a book about the encounter between Paul Celan and Yehuda Amichai, as well as articles on multilingualism and translation in the works of Hannah Arendt and Leah Goldberg, on the politics of translation in Israel. With Amir Eshel, she coedited a special issue of Prooftexts, on German-Hebrew relations. Rokem is the organizer of two international conferences at the University of Chicago: “German and Hebrew: Histories of a Conversation,”  and “German-Jewish Echoes in the Middle East.”