Prof. Menahem Blondheim

My interest in place in Modern Jewish history focuses on the United States. America’s gradual emergence from the mists of Jewish geosophical imagination conditioned its meaning as a topos in the social and cultural life of modern Jews worldwide. The ways these processes shaped the experiences and attitudes of Jews to whom America became a home are the core of my work in the field.

Beyond the American experience, I approach place in Jewish history primarily as a problem. From a communication perspective, Diaspora presented Jewish history with one of its main challenges, the solutions to which were the formation of far-reaching, intensive, and coherent systems of communications between Jews across geography and over time. I’ve been studying Jewish communications in time and space throughout my academic career.

I’m a member of the departments of history and of communications at the Hebrew University, and serve as the head of its Truman Institute. My research explores the role of communication in American and in Jewish history, as well as the history of media. A former entrepreneur and executive in the high-tech industry in the dawn of high-speed digital communications, I also study the development, performance, and meaning of communication technologies, new and old, in Jewish, Israeli, and global contexts.

I received my BA degree from the Hebrew University, was a founding fellow of the Hartman Institute, and received my MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University. I’ve won fellowships from the NEH, Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, and the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve also served as head of HU’s department of Communication and Journalism, directed HU’s Smart Family Institute of Communications for many years, and headed undergraduate studies at the Rothberg International School. My public activities include serving as head of Israel’s new National Library’s Advisory Committee on Digitization, chair of the academic committee of the Spielberg Jewish Film Archives, advisor to the new Organization of Israel’s journalist, and analyst on American affairs for a bunch of media outlets.

My research grants sponsor a series of projects, including:

• Social Network Analysis of American and European Responsa

• Network Hame’asef as a Global Rabbinic

• ‘One People Scattered’: Communications in the Jewish Diaspora

• Cultural origins of high-tech entrepreneurship in Israel and North America

• Global News Mining and the Transformation of Online Journalism.

• Between the Lines: Intersectional Communications in the American Civil War

Contact Information:

Menahem Blolndheim

Karl and Matilda Newhouse Professor of Communications

Dept. of Communications

Dept. of History

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905

Tel: +972-2-5882305

+972-2-5866044 (home)


Selected Publications

  •  “The Jewish Communication Tradition and its Encounters with (the) New Media,” in:
  • Heidi Campbell, ed., Digital Judaism (New York: Rutledge, forthcoming).
  •  “Traffic in an Ancient Empire: An Innisian Reading of the Book of Esther,” in: Hartmut
  • Winkler, Christoph Neubert and Marion Näser-Lather, eds., Traffic (Amsterdam: Rodopi forthcoming, with Elihu Katz).
  • “Diaspora Dreams: Four Dreams, Five Scrolls,” forthcoming in: ‘One People
  • Scattered’: Communications in the Jewish Diaspora, forthcoming (with Elihu Katz).
  •  “Rabbi Gershom of Mainz’ Vision of a Jewish Europe According to Herem de-Raben
  • Gershom,” forthcoming in: ‘One People Scattered’: Communications in the Jewish Diaspora.
  •  “Online News about Israel and Palestine: A Cross-National Comparison of Prominence
  • and Trends,” Digital Journalism 1: 1 (2013): 1-13 (with Elad Segev).
  •  “The Nexus of Humor and Preaching: A Theoretical Road-map and a Jewish American
  • Case Study,” In: Ilan, Horwitz, and Caplan, eds., The Sermon over the Ages, Jerusalem: Merkaz Shazar, 2012, pp. 173-98 (with Limor Shifman).
  •  “Traditions of Dispute: From Negotiating Talmudic Texts to the Arena of Political
  • Discourse in the Media.” In Neiger, Blondheim, and Liebes, eds., Telling News Stories (2008, with Shoshana Blum Kulka and Gonen Hachohen), pp. 243-74.
  •  Voices, Discourse, Communications: Language as Medium and Media as a Language.
  • Jerusalem: Magnes Hebrew University Press, 2012 (edited with Michal Hamo and Tamar Liebes).
  •  Telling News Stories: Perspectives on Media Discourse in Israel. Jerusalem: Magnes Hebrew University Press, 2008 (edited with Tamar Liebes and Motti Neiger).