Shalva Weil

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Shalva Weil is Senior Researcher at The Seymour Fox School of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and Life Member at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, UK. In 2017, she was GIAN Distinguished Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi. She has researched Indian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Baghdadi Jews, the Ten Lost Tribes and Femicide.


Shalva Weil was born in London and studied sociology (B.A. Hons.) at the London School of Economics (L.S.E). She received an M.A. at the Centre for Multi-Racial Studies, Sussex University, on a double identity conflict among Bene Israel Indian Jews in Britain, supervised by the psychologist Marie Jahoda. She then obtained a D. Phil. in Social Anthropology at Sussex, under the supervision of Prof. A.L. Epstein. Her doctoral thesis on "The Persistence of Ethnicity and Ethnic Identity among the Bene Israel Indian Jews in Israel" (1977) was based on three years' fieldwork among the Bene Israel in the town of Lod.

Academic Work[edit]

Indian Jewry[edit]

Weil has published over 100 articles on India Jews, including on the Bene Israel, Cochin Jews, Baghdadi Jews, the Shinlung (“Bnei Menashe”) and Europeans in India. She is editor of India's Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art, and Life-Cycle (Marg 2002; 3rd edition 2009),[1] co-editor (with Nathan Katz, Ranabir Chakravarti and Braj M. Sinha) of Indo-Judaic Studies in the Twenty-First Century: A Perspective from the Margin (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007);[2] and co-editor (with David Shulman) of Karmic Passages: Israeli Scholarship on India (Delhi: Oxford University Press 2008). In 2019, she edited The Baghdadi Jews in India: Maintaining Communities, Negotiating Identities and Creating Super-Diversity (Routledge, 2019),[3] and The Jews of Goa (Primus, 2020).[4]

Weil is founding Chairperson of the Israel-India Cultural Association, and is a board member of the new Israel-India Friendship Association. In 1991, she curated an exhibition at Beth Hatefutsoth: the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora on the Ten Lost Tribes. In 2002, she organized an international conference at Oxford University on Indo-Judaic studies, a field in which she is a forerunner. She is on the editorial board of Indian and international journals, including the Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies. In 2006, she co-curated an exhibition on the Jews of Chendamangalam in the newly restored village synagogue in Kerala,[5] and was involved in the restoration of the Parur Cochin Jews synagogue.[6]

In March 2013, she lectured and co-organized a conference in Eilat, Israel and Aqaba, Jordan on ancient trade in the Red Sea. In May 2013, she was invited to lecture at Stanford University on the Kirtan among Indian Jews, followed by lectures in the Department of South Asian Studies at Santa Barbara University, and at the Magnes Museum at Berkeley University in California on the reconstruction of synagogues in Kerala. In 2017, she was invited to be a keynote speaker at IGNCA at a symposium on India's Jews. In 2018, she attended the meetings in Mumbai with PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the Indian Jewish community.

Ethiopian Jewry[edit]

Weil's studies on Ethiopian Jews have been commissioned by government ministries: on religion, one-parent families, education, leadership, and femicide. In 2005, she was elected President of SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry) at the Addis Ababa University, and in this capacity organized international conferences on the Beta Israel: in Florence, Italy and in Gondar, Ethiopia, as well as writing regular newsletters on the study of Ethiopian Jewry until her resignation in 2012. She has written many scientific articles on Ethiopian Jews, as well as several books, including a volume (together with Emanuela Trevisan Semi): Beta Israel: the Jews of Ethiopia and Beyond (Venice: Cafoscarina, 2011). For 12 years, she directed an outreach program to promote excellence in education among Ethiopian Jews in Israel.[7] she has written about the complexities of conversion among the Felesmura,[8] and conducting original research into Dr. Faitlovitch's Ethiopian Jews students educated in Europe (1905-1935).


In 2009, Weil wrote a report for the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption on wife-murder among Ethiopian immigrants, which was censored.[9] From 2013-7 Weil Chaired a COST (Cooperation on Science and Technology)[10] action on "Femicide Across Europe" with 80 representatives from 30 countries on the management committee.[11][12] The Action set up four working groups in Europe on definitions, on reporting, on culture, and on prevention. The final COST conference took place in Malta. Weil has called to make femicide a visible sociological fact,[13] while recognizing that its study is a social challenge. Femicide is difficult to research among migrants and utilizing qualitative methods. It affects girls, not just women, particularly in countries like India.[14] Weil's recent publications include the connections between femicide and COVID-19 Pandemic,[15] both of which she considers pandemics,[16] the issue of female geronticide[17] (the killing of elderly women), and femicide in the context of war and peace.[18] Weil is on the Advisory Board of the European Observatory on Femicide (EOF) and several other observatories. She chairs the Israel Observatory on Femicide (IOF).

Ten Lost Tribes[edit]

Weil has published extensively on the Ten Lost Tribes historically[19] and in contemporary times.[20] In particular, she has written on the Beta Israel, the Bene Israel, and the Pashtuns, as well as on Judaising groups all over Africa, China and elsewhere. In 1991, she curated an exhibition at Beth Hatefutsoth: the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora on the Ten Lost Tribes entitled "Beyond the Sambatyon: the Myth of the Ten Lost Tribes". She is on the international board of ISSAJ [International Society for the Study of African Jewry], and presented a paper at their latest conference in Nairobi on the Jews of Africa.

Other work[edit]

Weil utilizes diverse methodological tools such as the mapping tool, diaries, interviews, focus groups, and life histories, and has written on the value of qualitative research.[21] She documented violence in schools in a joint Israeli-Palestinian project, and conducted a qualitative study on pedagogic change in schools among Israeli principals, commissioned by Avnei Rosha, an Institute in Jerusalem.

In 2010, she interviewed Prof. S.N. Eisenstadt, in the last interview before he died.[22] As editor of European Sociologist,[23] she interviewed Prof. Zygmunt Bauman. She coordinated the European Sociological Association (ESA) Qualitative Methods Research Network (2005-2007), taught methods at the ESA's Summer School in Finland in 2010, and collaborated with colleagues to co-chair a European Science Foundation (ESF) workshop on the legitimacy of qualitative methods. From 2007-11, Weil served as a member of the ESA Executive Committee, and today serves as a board member of the ESA Research Networks on gender and qualitative methods.



  • 1984 From Cochin to Israel, Jerusalem: Kumu Berina. (Hebrew)
  • 1997 Ethiopian Jews in the Limelight, Jerusalem: Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University.
  • 1999 Roots and Routes: Ethnicity and Migration in Global Perspective, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University.
  • 2004 Bibliography of Ethiopian Jewry, Addis Abeba: SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry).
  • 2007 Katz N., Chakravarti, R., Sinha, B. M. and Weil, S. Indo-Judaic Studies in the Twenty-First Century: A Perspective from the Margin, New York and Basingstoke, England: Palgrave-Macmillan Press.
  • 2008 Shulman, D. and Weil, S. Karmic Passages: Israeli Scholarship on India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • 2009 (Third reprint) India's Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art and Life-Cycle, Mumbai: Marg Publications [first published in 2002; second reprint 2004].
  • 2011 Trevisan Semi, E. and Weil, S. Beta Israel: the Jews of Ethiopia and Beyond, Venice: Cafoscarina.
  • 2018 Weil, S., Corradi, C. and Naudi, M. Femicide across Europe: theory, research and prevention, Bristol: Policy Press.
  • 2019 The Baghdadi Jews in India: Maintaining Communities, Negotiating Identities and Creating Super-Diversity, London: Routledge.
  • 2020 The Jews of Goa, New Delhi: Primus.
  • 2023 Femicide in War and Peace, London and New York: Routledge.

Film (featured)[edit]



  1. ^ Weil, Shalva (2002). India's Jewish Heritage - Ritual, Art, & Life-Cycle. ISBN 8185026580.
  2. ^ Indo-Judaic Studies in the Twenty-First Century. Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. ^ "The Baghdadi Jews in India: Maintaining Communities, Negotiating Identities and Creating Super-Diversity". Routledge & CRC Press. Retrieved 2024-03-23.
  4. ^ Weil, Shalva, ed. (2020). The Jews of Goa. Delhi: Primus Books. ISBN 978-93-89755-76-3.
  5. ^ "The Synagogues of Kerala". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  6. ^ "Asian Jewish Life - Issue 8 - Pauru Synagogue, Cochin".
  7. ^ Weil, S., 2012, “I am a teacher and beautiful: the feminization of the teaching profession in the Ethiopian community in Israel”, in Pnina Morag- Talmon and Yael Atzmon (eds) Immigrant Women in Israeli Society, Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, pp. 207-223 (in Hebrew).
  8. ^ Weil, S. 2016, “The Complexities of Conversion among the ‘Felesmura’”. In: Eloi Ficquet, Ahmed Hassen and Thomas Osmond (eds.), Movements in Ethiopia, Ethiopia in Movement: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies. Addis Ababa: French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University; Los Angeles: Tsehai Publishers, Vol. 1 pp.435-445.Link
  9. ^ Klein, Steven (27 January 2012). "Behind Knesset stir over Ethiopian report, a century-old meeting in London". Haaretz. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  10. ^ "COST (Cooperation on Science and Technology)".
  11. ^ Weil, S., 2015, “Combatting femicide in multiple ways: the COST Action IS1206 on Femicide across Europe”. In: Filip A and Platzer M (eds) Femicide: Targeting Women in Conflict 3. Vienna: ACUNS, pp.139-141. Link
  12. ^ "Policy Press: Femicide across Europe". Bristol University Press.
  13. ^ Weil, Shalva (2016-02-02). "Making femicide visible". Current Sociology. 64 (7): 1124–1137. doi:10.1177/0011392115623602.
  14. ^ Weil, S. and Mitra, N., 2016, ‘Femicide of Girls in India’, Femicide: Taking Action against Gender-Related Killing of Women and Girls 6. Vienna: ACUNS
  15. ^ Standish, K. and Weil, S. 2021c. Gendered Pandemics: Suicide, Femicide and Covid-19”. Journal of Gender Studies, 30 (7): 807-818. doi: 10.1080/09589236.2021.1880883.
  16. ^ Weil, Shalva (2020-02-06). "Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Femicide". European Sociologist. 1 (45, “Pandemic (Im)Possibilities”).
  17. ^ Weil, Shalva; Keshet, Noam K. (2020-08-30). "Female Geronticide: the Case of Israel". Journal of Gender Studies. 29 (5): 39–51. doi:10.1080/09589236.2020.1809361.
  18. ^ 2023 Weil, S. Femicide in War and Peace, London and New York: Routledge
  19. ^ Weil, S., 2016, “The Unification of the Ten Lost Tribes with the Two “Found” Tribes”. In: Parfitt, T and Fisher N (eds) Becoming Jewish: New Jews and Emerging Jewish Communities in a Globalized World, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 25-35.
  20. ^ Weil, Shalva. 2021.. ‘Beta Israel in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Jews in Israel’, in: David, J. (ed.) The Jews of Africa: Lost Tribes, Found Communities, Emerging Faiths, Tokyo (ISBN-13: 979-8719743912), pp. 61-73.
  21. ^ Weil, S. 2017. “The Advantages of Qualitative Research into Femicide”.  in: Weil, S. and Kouta, C. (eds) Qualitative Sociology Review 13(3), Special Issue: Researching Femicide from a Qualitative Perspective: 118-125.
  22. ^ Weil, Shalva. "Interview with Prof. S. N. Eisenstadt | Shalva Weil". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  23. ^ "The European Sociological Association". European. 2019.