Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Primo Levi Fellowship

Research Topic

R. Joseph Karo’s Halakhic Writings: The Book History Perspective


Tirza Y. Kelman researches contextualized Jewish Halakha and Jewish ‎thought, especially in sixteenth-century Ottoman Empire. She is currently working on book history issues connected to R. Joseph Karo’s treatises.

Kelman received her PhD from Ben Gurion University. She is a public activist in Israel, and regularly addresses ‎Halachic inquiries as a Yoetzet Halakha, a female Orthodox halachic authority. ‎Since 2007, she has also served as director of the Hebrew “Women’s Health & Halacha” Nishmat ‎Yoatzot Halakha website.

Selected publications

  • “What Makes a Text Responsa? R. Israel Isserlein's Trumat Hadeshen as a Case Study,” Jewish Law Association Studies (forthcoming)
  • “’Written with Iron and Lead Letter in Print’: The Print Revolution and the Creation of the Beit Yosef,” Hebrew; Pe'amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry 148 (2017)



Studying law between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries, an age of transition from a world of empires to the modern age of the nation-state and international law.