Prof. Haviva Pedaya

Senior Research Fellow

Prof. Haviva Pedaya was born in Jerusalem and earned her PhD at the Hebrew University. She is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in Jerusalem.  In October 1987 she joined Ben-Gurion University, teaching at the departments of history and Jewish thought. She is presently a professor of Jewish history at Ben-Gurion University. She heads the Elyachar Center for Studies in Sephardi Heritage and is incumbent of the Matanel Foundation on the Ben Gurion University campus, and incumbent of the Estelle S. Frankfurter Chair in Sephardic Studies. Prof. Pedaya is chair of the committee to promote the humanities in Israel at the Council for Higher Education (CHE) - Planning and Budgeting Committee, and chair of the CHE's Sephardic and Mizrahi Heritage team (on the 13th and now the 14th Council). In this framework she headed the Program of the Century to rehabilitate the humanities and led to the recognition of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish Studies as an independent discipline.  She is also a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

Prof. Pedaya has written and edited books on different subjects on a range of historical and cultural issues such as Judaism and Israel, ethical questions from Jewish sources, questions of religion and politics, and questions of collective and personal trauma. These include discussions of the early Kabbalists in Provence and Sepharad, time and space, questions of Kabbalah, psychoanalysis, Mizrahim in Israel, the return of the repressed, the thin seam between in-depth historic processes and cultural and sociological struggles, and the tension between the theological and the geopolitical and the geo-historic. Prof. Pedaya has published 15 books of poetry and prose, several of which won awards, among them the Harry Harshon Award, the Warburg Prize, the Bernstein Prize for Poetry (1997) and the President`s Prize for Poetry (2004). For her studies on Kabbalah she won the Gershom Scholem Prize (2018).

Prof. Pedaya is involved in many initiatives on Israeli society and culture, teaches in diverse social sectors and is involved in numerous art and music projects such as: Hilula – Tribute to a Mother, Israel Festival 2015, Return to Zion, Hullegeb Theater Ensemble 2017, the Golem at the Jerusalem International Oud Festival  2021 - a protest performance on the climate disaster, curated the exhibit the Wall of the East at HaMekarer Tel Aviv, 2015, and more.

In 2007 she established the Reshimo Institute, a spiritual and material environment, and in 2017 she founded the Patihta seminary, promoting the values of ethics, aesthetics, art and culture.

At the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute Prof. Pedaya has led two research groups: the East Writes Itself, and Piut as a Cultural Window (2005-2007), and the fruits of both groups were published in research collections. Prof. Pedaya launched cultural processes subsequent to her editing of the pioneering series From Andalusia to Babylon, which became an example and a model for other institutions


Photo: Arik Sultan

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