Yeshiva University
Ephraim Kanarfogel

Research Topic

Dreams as a Determinant of Jewish Law and Practice in Northern Europe During the High Middle Ages


Ephraim Kanarfogel is the E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law at Yeshiva University, where he teaches and directs doctoral dissertations at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He researches the fields of medieval and early modern Jewish intellectual history and rabbinic literature

Kanarfogel received his PhD from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and his rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of nine books and nearly 100 articles, and is a winner of the National Jewish Book Award, the Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize, and the International Book Award sponsored by the Goldstein-Goren Center for Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Selected publications

  • Brothers from Afar: Rabbinic Approaches to Apostasy and Reversion in Medieval Europe (Wayne State University Press, forthcoming)
  • The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz (Wayne State University Press, 2012)
  • Jewish education and society in the High Middle Ages. Detroit (Wayne State University Press, 1992)



Devoted to the home, and seeking to advance research that will shed light on this most formative and intimate of contexts for Jewish life. 


Posing new questions about the theories, institutions, and paradigms shaping the study of nature, and about the cultural and religious consequences that emerge from such study.


Asking if and how Jewish history, culture, and experience offered new paradigms with which to engage the politicaland, conversely, how mainstream political theories might expand Jewish studies in new and productive directions.


Exploring aspects of internal life that lie beyond reason—emotions and feelings, the unconscious, sensation, imagination, impulse, intuition, and the nonrational dimensions of reason itself.


Devoting intense study to a complex century characterized by the entanglement of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim life.


Examining the boundary between Judaism and other religions with a concurrent study of parallel social and religious phenomena and historical contexts.


Challenging the methodological divide between history and anthropology in the study of Jews and Judaism.