Shalva Weil

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Prof. Shalva Weil is a Senior Researcher at The Research Institute for Innovation and Education at the Hebrew University. She focuses on Indian Jewry, Ethiopian Jewry, and the Ten Lost Tribes and specializes in qualitative methods, violence, gender, ethnicity, education, religion, and migration.[1]


Shalva Weil was born in London and studied sociology (B.A. Hons.) at the London School of Economics. 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 Prof. Marie Jahoda. She went on to study for 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.[1]

Indian Jewry[edit]

Shalva Weil has published widely on the Bene Israel, Cochin Jews, Baghdadi Jews, and the Shinlung (“Bnei Menasheh”). She is editor of India's Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art, and Life-Cycle (Marg 2002; 3rd edition 2009). Additionally, she is a 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); and co-editor (with David Shulman) of Karmic Passages: Israeli Scholarship on India (Delhi: Oxford University Press 2008).

She is the founding Chairperson of the Israel-India Cultural Association,[2] the official friendship association between the two countries, 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,[3] in which India was prominently featured. In 1996, she was invited by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to attend the India Studies Symposium,[4] where she lectured on Co-Existence in India: the Case of the Cochin Jews. In 2002, she organized an international conference on Indo-Judaic studies at Oxford University,[4] a field in which she is a forerunner. She is on the editorial board of Indian and international journals, including the International Journal of Hindu Studies and the Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies.[2] In 2006, she co-curated an exhibition on the Jews of Chendamangalam in the newly restored village synagogue in Kerala.[5] and is involved in the restoration of the Cochin Jewish synagogue in Parur, and the Muziris Heritage Project.

In March 2013, she lectured and co-organized a conference in Eilat, Israel and Aqaba, Jordan on ancient trade in the Red Sea.[6] In May 2013, she was invited to lecture at Stanford University on the Kirtan among Indian Jews,[7] followed by lectures in the Department of South Asian Studies at Santa Barbara University,[8] and at the Magnes Museum at Berkeley University in California on the reconstruction of synagogues in Kerala.[9] In 2017, she was invited to be JNIAS GIAN Distinguished Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study, and to be a keynote speaker at IGNCA at a symposium on India's Jews.

Ethiopian Jewry[edit]

Weil's studies on Ethiopian Jews have been commissioned by government ministries: on religion, one-parent families, education and leadership, and recently on femicide. In 2005, she was elected President of SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry)[1] 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 is the editor of a book and many scientific articles on Ethiopian Jews, as well as a recent volume (together with Emanuela Trevisan Semi) Beta Israel: the Jews of Ethiopia and Beyond (Venice: Cafoscarini, 2011). For 12 years, she directed an outreach program to promote excellence in education among Ethiopian Jews in Israel.[10] Recently, she has written about the complexities of conversion among the Felesmura.[11]


In 2009, Weil wrote a report for the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption on wife-murder among Ethiopian immigrants, which was censored after being submitted.[12] In 2012, she submitted a proposal to prevent femicide in Europe. This European Union-funded project began in June 2013 and Weil was elected Chair of the Action.[13][14][15] By 2017, 30 European countries had joined the Action. The Action set up four working groups in Europe on definitions,[16] on reporting,[17] on culture,[18] and on prevention.[19] The final COST conference will take place in Malta.[20] Weil has called to make femicide a visible sociological fact,[21] while recognizing that its study is a social challenge.[22][23] Femicide is difficult to research among migrants and utilizing qualitative methods.[24] It affects girls, not just women, particularly in countries like India.[25]

Ten Lost Tribes[edit]

Weil has published extensively on the Ten Lost Tribes historically [26] and in contemporary times. In particular, she has written on the Beta Israel, the Bene Israel, and the Pathans, 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".[27] She is on the international board of ISSAJ [International Society for the Study of African Jewry].[28]

Qualitative methods[edit]

Prof. Shalva Weil specializes in Qualitative Methods and utilizes diverse methodological tools such as the mapping tool, diaries, interviews, focus groups, and life histories. Previously, she documented violence in schools in a joint Israeli-Palestinian project. In 2013 she worked together with Dr. Ammon Karmon on a qualitative study of pedagogic change in schools commissioned by Avnei Rosha, an Institute in Jerusalem to support school principals.

In 2010, she interviewed Prof. S.N. Eisenstadt, in the last interview before he died.[29] In addition, as editor of European Sociologist, she interviewed Prof. Zygmunt Bauman.[30] She coordinated the European Sociological Association (ESA) Qualitative Methods Research Network (2005-7),[31] taught methods at the ESA's Summer School in Finland in 2010, and collaborated with colleagues to co-chair a European Science Foundation workshop on the legitimacy of qualitative methods. From 2007-11, she 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.



  • 1985 The Dynamics of Community Schools in Israel: an Ethnography, Jerusalem: NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew)
  • 1989 The Religious Beliefs and Practices of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, 2nd edn, Jerusalem: NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew)
  • 1991 One-Parent Families among Ethiopian Immigrants in Israel, Jerusalem: NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew)
  • 1991 The Changing Religious Tradition of Ethiopian Jews in Israel: a Teachers’ Guide, Jerusalem: The Ministry of Education & Culture & NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew)
  • 1997 Ethiopian High School Graduates of the Educational System in Israel, 1987-1989: Past, Present and Future, Jerusalem: NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew)
  • 2000 India, The Larger Immigrations from Eastern Countries, Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute and the Ministry of Education. (Hebrew)
  • Roer-Strier, D (PI), Weil, S. (PI). 2000 The Unique and the Unifying: Religious and Secular Schoolchildren and their Parents at Keshet School. Jerusalem: The NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew)

Books edited[edit]

  • 1984 From Cochin to Israel, Jerusalem: Kumu Berina. (Hebrew)
  • 1995 Ethiopian Jews in the Limelight, Israel Social Science Research, 10(2).
  • 1997 Ethiopian Jews in the Limelight, Jerusalem: NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education, Hebrew University. (Hebrew. See no.2)
  • 1999 Roots and Routes: Ethnicity and Migration in Global Perspective, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University.
  • 2001 Bibliography of Ethiopian Jewry, Paris: SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry).
  • 2004 Bibliography of Ethiopian Jewry, Addis Abeba: SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry).
  • Katz N., Chakravarti, R., Sinha, B. M. and Weil, S. 2007 Indo-Judaic Studies in the Twenty-First Century: A Perspective from the Margin, New York and Basingstoke, England: Palgrave-Macmillan Press.
  • Shulman, D. and Weil, S. 2008 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].
  • Trevisan Semi, E. and Weil, S. 2011 Beta Israel: the Jews of Ethiopia and Beyond, Venice: Cafoscarini.

Museum catalogues[edit]

  • 1981 The Jews from the Konkan: the Bene Israel Community of India, Tel-Aviv: Beth Hatefutsoth, the Nahum Goldman Museum of the Jewish Diaspora.
  • 1989 Beta Israel: A House Divided, Binghamton State University of New York.
  • 1991 Beyond the Sambatyon: the Myth of the Ten Lost Tribes,' Tel-Aviv: Beth Hatefutsoth, the Nahum Goldman Museum of the Jewish Diaspora
  • 2001 Musical Traditions of the Bene Israel Community (to accompany CD- Rom), Tel-Aviv: Beth Hatefutsoth, the Nahum Goldman Museum of the Jewish Diaspora.
  • 2012 "Kalkidan Meshashe: An Ethiopian-Israeli Rapper", Culver City, California: Roberts and Tilton, in catalogue for Kehinde Wiley. The World Stage: Israel exhibition, New York: Jewish Museum.


  1. ^ a b c "Editorial Team". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  2. ^ a b Rachel Simon. "weil". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  3. ^ "Beit Hatfutsot". Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  4. ^ a b "Our Jewish Connection - Sneha Sandesham". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  5. ^ "The Synagogues of Kerala". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  6. ^ "Exodus: Israel to drive Africans from Holy Land — RT News". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  7. ^ "Translated Tunes: Negotiations of Space, Genre, and Identity in Kirtan | Center for South Asia". 2013-05-05. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  8. ^ "Shalva Weil, Senior Researcher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Religious Studies". 2013-05-08. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  9. ^ "UC Berkeley Events Calendar: The Reconstruction of Jewish Synagogues in Kerala, South India". Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  10. ^ 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).
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Klein, Steven (27 January 2012). "Behind Knesset stir over Ethiopian report, a century-old meeting in London". Haaretz. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  13. ^ "COST | Femicide across Europe". 2012-11-24. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  14. ^
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^!wg1/c1a8s
  17. ^!wg2/c9qz
  18. ^!wg3/cily
  19. ^!wg4/c21gq
  20. ^ 'COST Action IS-1206 on Femicide across Europe - Final Conference', University of Malta Valletta Campus, 14–16 March 2017 Link
  21. ^ Weil, Shalva (2016-02-02). "Making femicide visible". Current Sociology. 64 (7): 1124–1137. doi:10.1177/0011392115623602.
  22. ^ Marcuello-Servós, C, Corradi, C., Weil, S. and Boira, S., 2016, ‘Femicide: a Social Challenge’, Current Sociology 64(7):967-974. Special Issue on Femicide. DOI: 10.1177/0011392116639358 Link
  23. ^ Corradi, C., Marcuello-Servós, C, Boira, S. and Weil, S., 2016, ‘Theories of femicide and their significance for social research’, Current Sociology 64(7): 975-995. Special Issue on Femicide. DOI:10.1177/0011392115622256.
  24. ^ Weil, S., 2016, ‘Failed Femicides among Migrant Survivors’, Qualitative Sociology Review12(4):6-21. Link
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "Beit Hatfutsot". 1991-01-01. Archived from the original on 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  28. ^ "Issaj International Committee Members". Archived from the original on 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  29. ^ Weil, Shalva. "Interview with Prof. S. N. Eisenstadt | Shalva Weil". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  30. ^ "Newsletter of the European Sociological Association" (PDF). July 2011. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  31. ^ "ESA - European Sociological Association - RN20 - Qualitative Methods". Retrieved 2013-09-01.

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