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Melila Hellner-Eshed
Melila Hellner-Eshed
Director of Maskilot and Research Fellow

Melila Hellner-Eshed, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at Shalom Hartman Institute and the Director of Maskilot, an intensive two-year program for female doctoral candidates, now opening its fourth cohort. She also founded and co-directs the Rabbinical Students Seminar, a interdenominational program for rabbinic students spending a year in Israel.

She has been a professor of Jewish mysticism and Zohar in the Department of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for over two decades. She received her degree from Hebrew University under the tutelage of Professor Yehuda Liebes. At the Hebrew University, Melila also taught in the honors teacher-training program Revivim and in the Amirim honors program for liberal studies.

For the past three decades, she has been a central figure in the Israeli renaissance of study of Jewish texts by Israeli adults of all paths of life in various frameworks. She has been teaching and working with Jewish communities in North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union for many years.

Her publications include A River Flows from Eden: The Language of Mystical Experience in the Zohar, (Hebrew, Alma and Am Oved Publications, 2005 and English, Stanford University Press, 2009). Her book Seekers of the Face  – From the Secrets of the Idra Rabba in the Zohar was published in Hebrew in 2018, forthcoming in English from Stanford University Press.

Melila also serves on the faculty of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality in the U.S. and is active in the ‘Sulha’ – a reconciliation project that brings together Israelis and Palestinians.