UCLA » College » Social Sciences » History

David Myers

Distinguished Professor & Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History

Contact Information

Office  5387 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-3780

David N. Myers is Distinguished Professor and holds the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History.  As of fall 2017, he serves as the director of the Luskin Center for History and Policy (http://luskincenter.history.ucla.edu/); he also directs the UCLA Initiative to Study Hate.  He previously served as chair of the UCLA History Department (2010-2015) and as director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies (1996-2000 and 2004-2010).  He received his A.B. from Yale College in 1982 and undertook graduate studies at Tel-Aviv and Harvard Universities before completing his doctorate at Columbia in 1991. He has written extensively in the fields of modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history. He has authored six books: Re-Inventing the Jewish Past: European Jewish Intellectuals and the Zionist Return to History (Oxford: 1995), Resisting History: Historicism and its Discontents in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2003), Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (Brandeis University Press, 2008), Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction  (2017), The Stakes of History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life  (2018), and with Nomi M. Stolzenberg, American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York (2022), which won the 2022 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies.  Myers has edited or co-edited eleven books, including The Eternal Dissident: Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman and the Radical Imperative to Think and Act (2018), with Benjamin C.I. Ravid, Simon Rawidowicz: Between Babylon and Jerusalem: Select Writings.  Together with Michael Berenbaum, he brought to publication the monumental book of the late Steven Lowenstein, The Population History of German Jewry, 1815-1939 (2023). 


Myers has taught at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and the Russian State University for the Humanities, visited at the Institute for Advanced Studies (Jerusalem), and been a fellow on three occasions at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (Philadelphia). Since 2003, he has served as co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. Myers is an elected fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities.  At UCLA, he teaches courses on Jewish history and the history of history. 

Personal website: www.davidnmyers.com

Read More

Selected Publications

Books (Authored)

Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz, Brandeis University Press, 2008

Re-Inventing the Jewish Past: European Jewish Intellectuals and the Zionist Return to History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Resisting History: Historicism and its Discontents in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

Books (Edited) 

David N. Myers and William V. Rowe, eds. From Ghetto to Emancipation: Historical and Contemporary Reconsiderations of the Jewish Community, introduction by D. N. Myers. Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press, 1997.

David N. Myers and David B. Ruderman, eds. The Jewish Past Revisited: Reflections on Modern Jewish Historians, introduction by D. N. Myers. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Elisheva Carlebach, John M. Efron, and David N. Myers, eds. Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1998.

Richard Hovannisian and David N. Myers, eds. Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999.

Michael Brenner and David N. Myers, Jüdische Geschichtsschreibung heute: Themen, Positionen, Kontroversen. Munich: Beck Verlag, 2002.

David N. Myers et. al. Acculturation and its Discontents: The Italian Jewish Experience between Integration and Exclusion University of Toronto Press, 2008.

David N. Myers and Alexander Kaye, eds. The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History.

Recent Opinion Pieces and Lectures 

"The Faith of Fallen Jews: The greatness of a Jewish historian", TLV1, April 6, 2014

"Cut from the top to save UC", Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2013

"History matters: Garcetti and the history of Jewish politics", Jewish Journal, May 29, 2013

"R.B. Kitaj: Commentary on an Eccentric Jewish Life," Jewish Museum Berlin. October 25, 2012


Pini Dunner and David N. Myers, "A Haredi Attack on Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik: A Battle over the Brisker Legacy," Jewish Quarterly Review 105 (Winter 20105), 131-138.

“Six Theses on the Sustainability of a Minority Culture in a Majority Society: The Jewish and Muslim Cases" Muslim World 104 (2014), 397-400

“Introduction,” Issue devoted Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Jewish History (February, 2014)

"'Commanded War': Three Chapters in the 'Military' History of Satmar Hasidism," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2013;doi: 10.1093/jaarel/lfs101

“Reflecting on the Jewish Condition in the Kaffeehaus,” Obsessions: R. B. Kitaj, 1932-2007 (Berlin, 2012), 113-118

La ‘Civilisation’ après Mordecai Kaplan: Sur l’idée d’une entité juive globale aujourd’hui in Shmuel Trigano, ed. La civilisation du judaïsme de l'exil à la diaspora (Paris, 2012), 39-50

"She'elat ha-pelitim: mabat hadash `al zikaron ve-shikhekhah" (The Refugee Question: A New Look at Remembrance and Forgetting), in Meir Chazan and Uri Cohen, eds. Tarbut, zikaron ve-historyah be-hokarah le-Anita Shapira (Jerusalem: Shazar Center, 2012), 655-669.

"A Novel Look at Moshe Idel's East-West Problem," Jewish Quarterly Review 102:2 (Spring 2012), 289-296.

“Entre Palestinocentrisme et nationalisme diasporique: Le double héritage de Ben-Zion Dinur," Les cahiers du judäisme 31 (2011), 92-96

"Rethinking the Jewish Nation: An Exercise in Applied Jewish Studies,Havruta 6 (Winter 2011), 26-33.

"“Jenseits des Einfluesses: Hin zu einer neuen Kulturgeschichte?”," Aschkenas: Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der Juden 18/19 (2009), 495-507.

"Is there still a 'Jerusalem School?' Reflections on the State of Jewish Historical Scholarship in Israel." Jewish History 23 (2009), 389-406

“Philosophy and Kabbalah in Wissenschaft des Judentums: Rethinking the Narrative of Neglect.” Studia Judaica (Cluj-Napoca) 16 (2008), 56-71.

“Simon Rawidowicz on the Arab Question: A Prescient Gaze into the ‘New History.’” Lauren B. Strauss and Michael Brenner, Mediating Modernity: Challenges and Trends in the Jewish Encounter with the Modern World: Essays in Honor of Michael A. Meyer (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008), 143-167.

“Discourses of Civilization: The Shifting Course of a Modern Jewish Motif.” Jeremy Cohen and Richard I. Cohen, eds. The Jewish Contribution to Civilization: Reassessing an Idea (Oxford: Littman Library, 2008), 24-35.

Glaube und Geschichte: A Vexed Relationship in German-Jewish Culture.” Modern Judaism and Historical Consciousness, edited by A. Gotzmann and C. Wiese (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 54-72.

“R. B. Kitaj and the State of ‘Jew-on-the-Brain.’” The Jewish Role in American Life 5 (2007), 69-73.

“Simon Rawidowicz, ‘Hashpaitis,’ and the Perils of Influence.” Transversal 7 (2006), 13-26, reprinted in Klaus Hödl, Kulturelle Grenzräume in jüdischen Kontext (Innsbruck, 2008), 65-76.

“Vom Berlin nach Jerusalem: Zionismus, jüdische Wissenschaft und die Mühsal kultereller Dissonanz.” Janusfiguren: Jüdische Heimstätte, Exil und Nation im deutschen Zionismus (Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 2006).

“Can there be a Principled Anti-Zionism?: On the Nexus between Anti-Historicism and Anti-Zionism in Modern Jewish Thought.”Journal of Israeli History 25 (March 2006), 33-50.

“A Third Guide for the Perplexed?" Simon Rawidowicz ‘On Interpretation.’” History and Literature: New Readings of Jewish Texts in Honor of Arnold J. Band. Edited by William Cutter and David C. Jacobson. Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2002.

“Selbstreflexion im modernen Erinnerungsdiskurs.” Jüdische Geschichtsschreibung heute: Themen, Positionen, Kontroversen. Munich: Beck Verlag, 2002.

Rebel in Frankfurt: The Scholarly Origins of Jacob Katz.” The Pride of Jacob: Essays on Jacob Katz and His Work. Edited by Jay M. Harris. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.

The Problem of History in German-Jewish Thought: Observations on a Neglected Tradition (Cohen, Rosenzweig, and Breuer). The Samuel Braun Lecture in the History of the Jews of Prussia. Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press. 2001.

Between Yiddish and Hebrew—and Greek? Thoughts on the Language(s) of Jewish History.

Commentary to roundtable discussion in Jewish Book Annual 55/56 (1997-1999), 45-52. 

“Hazono shel Hazony, or Even If You Will It, It Can Still Be a Dream.” Israel Studies 6 (Summer 2001), 107-117.

Hermann Cohen and the Quest for Protestant Judaism.” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 46 (2001), 195-214.

'Mehabevin et ha-tsarot': Crusade Memories and Modern Jewish Martyrologies." Jewish History 13:2 (Fall 1999), 49-64.

"Introduction and commentary, Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases (Atlanta, 1999), 1-3, 125-130.

Derrida’s Yerushalmi, Yerushalmi’s Freud: History, Memory and Hope in a Post-Holocaust Age.” La Sho’ah tra intrepetazione e memoria (Naples, 1999), 489-507.

“Response to Jay Harris’ Reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.” Textual Reasoning 8 (November) 1998, 1-4.

"Mashber ha-historicism u-misud mada`e ha-Yahadut" (The Crisis of Historicism and the Institutionalization of Jewish Studies). Mada`e ha-Yahadut (Journal of the World Union of Jewish Studies) (Fall 1998).

"Of Marranos and Memory: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History." Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, (Hanover, NH, 1998), 1-21.

Introduction and "Between Diaspora and Zion: History, Memory and the Jerusalem Scholars." The Jewish Past Revisited, (New Haven, 1998), 1-15 88-103. 

Introduction and "'The Blessing of Assimilation' Reconsidered: An Inquiry into Jewish Cultural Studies," From Ghetto to Emancipation: Historical and Contemporary Reconsiderations of the Jewish Community (Scranton, PA, 1997), vii-xviii, 17-36.

"The Ideology of Wissenschaft des Judentums." Daniel Frank and Oliver Leaman, eds., History of Jewish Philosophy (London, 1997), 706-721.

"A New Scholarly Colony in Jerusalem: The Early History of Jewish Studies.," Judaism (Spring 1996), 142-159.

"'Distant Relatives Happening onto the Same Inn': The Meeting of East and West as Literary Theme and Cultural Ideal." Jewish Social Studies I:2 (1994/95), 75-100.

Was there a ‘Jerusalem School?’: An Inquiry into the First Generation of Historical Researchers at the Hebrew University.” Studies in Contemporary Jewry (10) 1994, 66-92.

"Eugen Täubler: The Personification of 'Judaism as Tragic Existence'" Leo Baeck Institute Year Book (39) 1994, 131-150.

"In Search of the "Harmonious Jew": Judah L. Magnes between East and West. John L. Sills
Memorial Lecture. Berkeley, 1993.

"The Fall and Rise of Jewish Historicism: The Evolution of the Akademie für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1919-1934)." Hebrew Union College Annual 63 (1992), 107-144.

"Remembering Zakhor: A Super-Commentary," History and Memory 4 (Fall/Winter 1992), 129-146.

Nomi Maya Stolzenberg and David N. Myers, "Community, Constitution and Culture: The Case of the Jewish Kehilah." Michigan Journal of Law Reform 25 (Spring and Summer 1992), 633-670.

"History as Ideology: The Case of Ben Zion Dinur, Zionist Historian 'Par Excellence'." ­Modern Judaism, May 1988, 167-194.

"The Scholem-Kurzweil Debate and Modern Jewish Historiography." Modern Judaism, October 1986, 261-285.


"Between Past and Present, Jew and Arab: An Exchange between Gil Anidjar and David N. Myers," AJS Review 34 (2010), 400-403.

“Victory and Sorrow,” review of Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar. The New Republic, October 22, 2008, 44-47.

Review of The Jewish Century by Yuri Slezkine.Los Angeles Jewish Journal, December 31, 2004.

Review of Mémoire juive et nationalité allemande: Les juifs berlinois à la Belle Époque by Jacques Ehrenfreund. Jewish History, fall 2003. 

"Ha-Yahadut ha-reformit: teguvah yehudit le-modernah." ­Ha-Doar, 2.24.89, 14-17.(Review essay of Michael A. Meyer, ­Response to Modernity.)

Review of ­Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution by Christopher Browning. Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1988.

Review of ­Political Principles in Maimonidean Halakha (Hebrew) by Gerald J. Blidstein. AJS Review, Fall 1987, 282-290.

Review of ­Hitler and the Armenian Genocide by Kevork Bardakjian. ­Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1,1987. 


"Geschichte" (entry) in Enzyklopädie jüdische Geschichte und Kultur, vol. II, 437-450

"Rethinking Secularization Theory: The Case of the Hasidic Public Square," with Nomi M. Stolzenberg. AJS Perspectives Spring 2011, 37-38.

"Rethinking Jewish Collectivity in a Post-Statist World," Jewish Peoplehood Papers 5 (2010), 8-11.

“What does Kiryas Joel Tell Us about Liberalism in America?” With Nomi M. Stolzenberg. The Chronicle: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 71 (2008), 49-53.

“R. B. Kitaj (1932-2007) and the Jewish Archive.” American Art (Summer 2008), 98-100.

“R. B. Kitaj and the Idea of ‘Jewish Art.’” R. B. Kitaj: Passion and Memory (Exhibition catalogue from the Skirball Culture Center, 2008).

Editor’s Introductions in the Jewish Quarterly Review 94: 1 (2004),94:4 (2003) 95: 3 (2005), 97:4 (2007), 99:4 (2009).

Section Introduction, Western State Jewish History (special issue devoted to Pioneer Jews of Los Angeles in the Nineteenth Century) 38 (Spring/Summer 2006), 154-156.

Roundtable Special Feature: “The Israeli Settlements.” Yale Israel Journal 7 (Summer 2005), 34-35.

Interview, “Zu ‘Diaspora’ und den ‘Segnungen der Assimilation.’” Kalonymus 4 (2001), 23-27.

Entries in The Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion, Encyclopaedia Judaica, and Zeman Yehudi hadash.

"Dual Loyalty in a Post-Zionist Era". Judaism, summer 1989, 333-343.

Historical Appendix in Reuven Porat, ­The History of the Kibbutz: Collective Education, 1904-1929. Norwood Editions, Norwood PA: 1985, 150-193.

Opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, and Agos (Istanbul).

Current Courses by Term