Jonathan Hirsch is a Ph.D. student at the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies in Berlin-Brandenburg as well as at the University of Potsdam. He completed his Master’s degree in Jewish Studies/Theology at the University of Potsdam in 2018 with a thesis on ‘Messianism in Times of a Progressive World History - 19th Century Reform Judaism and the Messianic Idea in the Light of Concepts of Geschichtsphilosophie.’
His Ph.D. project focusses on the emergence of the Jewish community as a modern middle class in late-Ottoman Egypt under British colonial rule. For this purpose, the interaction of various Jewish groups and individuals in matters of community organization, education and charity, the establishment of new institutions and associations serve as a template to elaborate on class notions, modes of self-representation and on developing communal narratives. Of particular interest is hereby their positioning vis-à-vis metropolitan Europe, the emerging Egyptian nation and the broader Eastern Mediterranean region. In addition to the substantial transforming character of this period, the increasing interest of Western European Jews in the welfare of their 'oriental brothers', form a further frame of reference for power dynamics that play a significant role in the investigation.
His Ph.D. project is conducted under the supervision of Prof. Sina Rauschenbach and partakes in the research group "Jewish-Jewish Encounters in the Ottoman Empire" under the direction of Dr. Susanne Härtel (PostDoc).