The Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies
Member of the Center for Jewish Studies
Associate Professor of Religious Studies (by courtesy)
Affiliate of the American Studies Program
Affiliate of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
Ari is completing a book that explores the culture of contemporary evangelical worship music. The book examines how songwriters, worship leaders, and music industry professionals understand the role of songs as both vehicles for and practices of faith and identity.
He is also writing a collection of essays entitled "Learning to be Jewish," that takes a case study approach to questions about how people learn to be Jewish. The book will take an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of sites from Fiddler on the Roof to the Krakow Jewish Festival. "Learning to be Jewish" approaches its subjects with a sense that much of how people understand themselves in relation to Jewish communities, beliefs, practices, and texts is learned well beyond formal and informal educational structures.
Ari is interested in research at the intersection of Education and Jewish Studies, with an emphasis on the myriad ways in which people cultivate ethnic and religious identities and practices. His research focuses on questions of culture in all its manifestations including the material, aural, visual, and ideological. He is the coordinator of the Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies.
He is the author of Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio (California, 2009), the editor of Is Diss a System?: A Milt Gross Comic Reader (NYU, 2010), and a co-author of Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary (Alban Institute, 2011). He is also the author of a number of articles about contemporary Jewish identity and culture, among other things
PhD (American Studies): New York University (2003)
BA (Sociology): UC Santa Cruz (1994)
Associate Professor of American Studies at UC Davis: 2009 - 2011
Assistant Professor of American Studies at UC Davis: 2006 - 2009
Scholar-in-Residence, American Jewish Historical Society: 2005 - 2006
Historian, National Museum of American Jewish History: 2003 - 2005