Our Collaborators

sara_headshotSara Airoldi is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Visiting Scholar at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University (starting in October 2018). She received a Phd in History from the University of Milan. Her reserach interest include Zionism, Jewish identity under totalitarianism and the elaboration of anti-Jewish prejudice in twentieth-century liberal political thought. She contributes to the Venice Ghetto Collaboration with a project entitled, “The Ghetto in Zionist imagery: Dialectics of a Jewish Space.”


Murray Baumgarten is a founding member of the Venice Center for International Jewish Studies and the Italian NGO Beit Venezia. He  has directed Institutes on Venice, the Jews and Italian Culture with Shaul Bassi, and worked on the history and contemporary impact of the Ghetto. He continues to work on urban Jewish culture and Victorian literature on which he has published widely.

picture-001Chiara Camarda obtained a PhD in Asian and African Studies (Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies) at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Her dissertation, entitled Tracing the Hebrew Book Collection of the Venice Ghetto, traces the history of the early Hebrew book collection of the Jewish Community of Venice, and includes a résumé of the history of Hebrew printing from its beginning to the 20th century. Chiara has catalogued this Venetian book collection from 2013 to 2015, taking note of all the footprints that she found on the copies (ex libris, signatures, inscriptions, stamps, and censor’s notes), available online and in a printed edition: I libri del Ghetto: Catalogo dei libri ebraici della Comunità Ebraica di Venezia (secc. XVI-XX) (Padova: Il Prato, 2016). These footprints have been her main research interest, and she has been dealing with family trees and old registers for two years, identifying many former owners of the books.

Chiara is now concentrating on the history of Sicilian Jewry and she is making a survey of all the Sicilian libraries and archives of the places where Jewish Communities once existed to find out what Hebrew documentary proofs are still kept in these places. This research is made possible thanks to a scholarship of the National Office for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Recent updates:
Chiara has been teaching Modern Hebrew at the “San Rocco” Museum and Cultural Center of Trapani and History of Religions at the Catholic Theological School “Una casa per narrare” of Alcamo (Trapani).

She has started a fruitful cooperation with the “San Rocco” Museum, promoting several events dedicated to different aspects of the Jewish Culture and giving birth to an annual decade especially dedicated to Jewish Culture entitled “Mifgash – Incontro”, that starts every year on January 17th, the day dedicated to Jewish-Christian Dialogue, and ends on January 27th, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Chiara will be participating in the annual conference of the Italian Association of Jewish Studies (September 3-6, 2018), giving a lecture on the manuscript containing the Or ha-Sekhel by Avraham Abulafia kept at the Fardelliana Municipal Library of Trapani.


Avigail Oren received her PhD from the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University, and specializes in 20th century U.S. urban history. Her interests range from ethnic and race relations to Jewish studies to the history of how the public health and social welfare infrastructure of American cities was built over the past 100 years. Her dissertation, “Adjusting to Change: The Jewish Community Center Movement in Postwar Urban America, 1945-1980,” examines how JCCs began to provide vital social programs and services to diverse members of their communities without compromising their sectarian Jewish identity. When she is not buried in books and accidently staining all of her clothes with highlighter, she can most often be found in the yoga studio or knitting on the couch while watching TV with her best decision ever, Kevin.

amanda_sharick_headshotAmanda Sharick received her PhD in English from the University of California, Riverside. Currently, Amanda is a Graduate Research Associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute in Waltham, Massachusetts, as well as a Program Manager for Harvard University’s Graduate Commons Program. Her dissertation, ‘Upon the threshold’: Anglo-American Jewish Women Writers’ Counterhistories of Liberal Citizenship and Jewish Nationalism (1880-1918), establishes that a transatlantic network of Anglo-American Jewish women writers used “counterhistory,” its generic features and framework, to negotiate, critique, and revise inequitable definitions of citizenship and emerging forms of Jewish national identity.

headshotErica Smeltzer is the Associate Head of School at BASIS International School in Shenzhen China, and the founder of a sustainability focused educational initiative in Switzerland.  She received her PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research project, “Urban Space and National Memory: The Narratives of Berlin, Prague, and Gdansk” examines changing modes of framing narratives and histories in periods of trauma and nationalism.  In her collaborative work with the Venice Ghetto Collaboration, she explores what digital writing platforms and digital mapping tools can contribute to scholarly research, publication, and public engagement.  In this mode, she explores the ghetto narratives of Egon Erwin Kisch and Franz Kafka through textual analysis and digital mapping projects that emphasize the history and impact of the ghetto.


Katie Trostel is an assistant professor of English at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. She received her PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research project, “Memoryscapes: Women Chart the Post-Trauma City in 20th and 21st Century Latin America,” examines the treatment of urban space and memories of state-sponsored violence in the works of Latin American women writers of the post-trauma or post-dictatorship generation; her work analyzes a largely unexplored archive of contemporary fiction that represents public spaces in the post-trauma city, and negotiates the relationship between collective and individual memory. As a part of the Venice Ghetto Collaboration, she has worked with Chilean-Jewish author, Marjorie Agosín, to create a digital mapping project, exploring the legacy of the Venice Ghetto. You can learn more about her work here, or follow her on Twitter @KatieTrostel.