Miri Fenton

Miri Fenton

Department of History of the Jewish people

Subject: Everyday Life, Identity, and Communal Relations: A Comparison of Kehilot Shum and Aragon, c.1200 – 1347

Supervisor: Prof. Elisheva Baumgarten

Abstract: My research on Jewish communal identity in the Middle Ages challenges modern academic use of the category of "community" as an analytical tool. My research seeks to reveal the ways in which communal identity was actually built through complex and nuanced social and legal processes. I examine communal identity and its definitions in two test cases, Jewish communities in Ashkenaz and those of Aragon, and compare and contrast everyday life in those regions. In doing so, my research will create a new framework for the way we can think of Jewish communities in the Middle Ages. 

Bio: Miri Fenton is writing her PhD in Medieval history, comparing and contrasting the everyday lives of Jews in Aragon and Kehilot Shum, 1100-1347. She aims to use social history and social theory to investigate oft-overlooked legal and social issues that belie the realities of Jewish communal life. Miri holds a BA in history, and an MPhil in philosophy of religion, from the University of Cambridge. She was the Henry Fellow at Yale Graduate School 2011-12, and has spent two years learning in egalitarian yeshivot in New York and Jerusalem. Miri also edits academic texts in English. 


  • Hasdai Crescas, Grounds for assertions about God and the philosophical use of scripture. Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 15 (2016). 
  • A dedicatory letter and its context: Beinecke MS 115. Yale Law School Library Journal (2012).  


Rotenstreich Stipend 2018/19