skip to content

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies
Professor of Hebrew & Aramaic

I was born in Leningrad, USSR in 1972, and was brought at the age of eight to New York, where I grew up until my emigration to Israel in 2007. I am a graduate of New York’s Stuyvesant High School, the University of Chicago (BA, MA), and the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University (PhD), where I studied Northwest Semitic philology and wrote a dissertation on the language of the Hebrew liturgical poetry of Byzantine-period Palestine. After a few years spent on post-docs of various sorts, I settled down in Jerusalem, where I met my wife, had two children, and worked as a researcher in the medieval poetry section of the Historical Hebrew Dictionary Project of the Academy of the Hebrew Language.  In 2013, I arrived with my family to Cambridge to take up a position at the University. 

Teaching responsibilities: 

Dr Rand teaches undergraduate courses in Hebrew and the history and culture of the Middle East

Research interests: 

I specialize in the rather diffuse field of Medieval Hebrew Literature, within which I do research in two particular areas: rhymed-prose narrative (maqama) composed within the cultural and linguistic framework of the Arabic-speaking Mediterranean, and Jewish liturgical poetry (piyyut)—mostly in Hebrew, but some also in Aramaic—whose original home is Byzantine-period Palestine. Both corpora are well represented in the two enormous and related manuscript caches that were discovered (by Westerners) in the 19th century in Old Cairo and are now known as The Cairo Genizah and the Firkovitch Collections, respectively. The majority of the manuscripts originating in the Cairo Genizah are now held by the Cambridge University Library. As a result of prolonged close contact with manuscripts, I have also come to learn a lot about Hebrew codicology, and my research work consists in large part of the codicological reconstruction of manuscript fragments, as well as the production of critical editions of texts.

Current PhD students

Paul Rodrigue: Working title: Jerome’s translation of the Book of Daniel


Studies in the Medieval Hebrew Tradition of the Ḥarīrīan/Ḥarizian Maqama. Maḥberot Eitan ha-Ezraḥi Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill (2021)
Rabbi El'azar berabbi Qillir - Liturgical Poems for Yom ha-Kippurim Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies/The David and Amalia Rosen Foundation (2021)
The Evolution of al-Ḥarizi’s Taḥkemoni Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill (2018)
Diwan Shemuel ha-Nagid – Kodeks ha-Geniza [The Diwan of Samuel ha-Nagid – A Geniza Codex] Jerusalem: The Rabbi David and Amalia Rosen Foundation/The Academy of the Hebrew Language (2015)
Rabbi El‘azar berabbi Qillir – Piyyutim le-Rosh ha-Shana [R. El‘azar berabbi Qillir – Liturgical Poems for Rosh ha-Shana] Jerusalem: The David Moses and Amalia Rosen Foundation/The World Union of Jewish Studies (2014)