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Ophira Gamliel

JewsEast research fellow, October 2016 - January 2018
Subproject South India

Ophira Gamliel is now a Lecturer in South Asian Religions at the University of Glasgow, UK. She was a visiting research scholar at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and has been working as a teaching fellow of Asian Studies in Bar-Ilan University (2010-2014) and as a post-doctoral researcher in the Hebrew University in Asian Studies (2010-2014). She studied at the Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (BA Indian Studies and Egyptology, summa cum laude, 1998) and obtained her MA degree in Indian Studies and Religious Studies (cum laude) from the Hebrew University (2000), where she also received her PhD degree in June 2010 with the thesis Jewish Malayalam Women's Songs (summa cum laude). Gamliel's current research focuses on the sociocultural history of Kerala, the dynamics of the medieval networks of Indian Ocean trade, interreligious relations in South India, the history of Jewish-Christian relations in Asia and Africa, and Malayalam language and linguistics. 

Vita and Publications



Dr. Ophira Gamliel



University of Glasgow website


  • since January 2018 - Lecturer in South Asian Religions, University of Glasgow​

  • October 2016 - January 2018 Post-doctoral research fellow JewsEast, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany 

  • 2015 - Visiting Research Fellow, Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany

  • 2013-2014 - Teaching Fellow, Asian Studies, Bar Ilan University; Language Instructor, Asian Studies, Hebrew University; Research Associate, Asian Studies, Hebrew University

  • 2012- 2013 - Post-doctoral researcher in the project Kudiyattam: Living Sanskrit Theater in the Kerala Tradition (German-Israeli Foundation, PIs David Shulman, Hebrew University, and Heike Mauser, Tübingen University)

  • 2012 - Teaching Fellow, Asian Studies, Bar-Ilan University; Language Instructor, Asian Studies, Hebrew University

  • 2010-2011 - Teaching Fellow, Asian Studies, Bar-Ilan University; External Teacher, Asian Studies, Hebrew University

  • 2010-2011Post-doctoral Researcher in the project Indian Sanskrit Theatre (Humanities Fund Grants, Innovations in Humanities Teaching, PI David Shulman

  • 2008 - Research Assistant on Malayalam syntax in the project Syntax of Participial Modifiers (Israel Science Foundation grant 615/06, PI Edit Doron)           

Education and degrees

  • 2010 - Post-doctoral studies, The Department of Malayalam and Kerala Studies in the University of Calicut in Kerala, India, under the guidance of Venugopala Panicker.

  • 2010 - Ph.D., summa cum laude, Jewish Malayalam Women's Songs, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, supervised by David Shulman.

  • 2002 - M.A., magna cum laude, The Language of Revealed Mysteries: A Comparative view of Monologue-Hymns (ātmastuti) in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Coptic [in Hebrew], the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, Supervised by David Shulman.

  • 2000 - B.A., summa cum laude, Indian Studies and Egyptology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. 



  • Introduction to Malayalam Grammar. Jerusalem: Magnes Press. (app. 250 pages, in Hebrew, forthcoming

  • Kārkuḻali - Yefefiah - Gorgeous! Jewish Women's Songs in Malayalam with Hebrew Translations, co-authored with Scaria Zacharia (eds. and trs.). Ben Zvi Institute, Jerusalem 2005. (472 pages, in Hebrew and Malayalam)

  • Yogis, Kings and Celestial Women: Translations of selected Sanskrit Myths. Jerusalem: Keter 2001. (215 pages, in Hebrew)

  • Shiva in the Forest of Pines: Translations of Selected Sanskrit Myths. Jerusalem: Keter 1999. (271 pages, in Hebrew)


Chapters in Collections

  • "Fading memories and Linguistic Fossils in Jewish Malayalam". In: Erich Kasten, Katja Roller and Joshua Wilburn (eds.). Oral History Meets Linguistics. Fürstenberg/Havel: Verlag der Kulturstiftung Sibirien (forthcoming). 

  • “The Syntax of Performance: The Mantrâṅkam as a Case Study”. In: Heike Moser and David Shulman (eds.) (forthcoming). 

  • “Jewish Malayalam”. In: Aaron Rubin and Lily Kahn (eds.), Handbook of Jewish Languages. Leiden: Brill 2015, pp. 503-516.

  • "Jewish Malayalam." In: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, ed. Norman A. Stillman, 2014. Brill Online. 

  • "The Hebrew Component in Jewish Malayalam". In: Encyclopaedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, ed. Geoffrey Khan. Boston: Brill 2013, pp. 410-413.

  • "'And the Women Sing their Songs': The Wedding Songs of Kerala Jews". In: Haviva Pedaya (ed.), The Piyyut as a Cultural Prism: New Approaches. Jerusalem: Van-Leer Institute 2012, pp. 266-315. (in Hebrew).

  • "Malayalam Folksongs". In: David Shulman and Shalva Weil (eds.), Karmic Passages: Israeli Scholarship on India. Delhi: Oxford University Press 2008, pp. 46-82. 

  • "From the Rāmāyaṇa to the Cloud Messenger: The Kāvya Genre in Sanskrit Literature". In: Nathan Wasserman (ed.), Wool from the Loom: The Development of Literary Genres in Ancient Literature, ed. Nathan Wasserman. Jerusalem: Magnes 2002, , pp. 125-148 (in Hebrew).



  • "The bleached verbs 'sit' and 'come' in Colloquial Hebrew and Arabic dialects", co-authored with Abed al-Rahman Mara'i. In: Journal of Jewish Languages 3, 2015:51-65.

  • "Translation Genres in Jewish Malayalam: Stylistic and Linguistic Examination". In: Massorot 16, 2014: 137-172 (Hebrew). 

  • "The Neglected History of Kerala Jews", in Zmanim 122, 2013: 16-29 (in Hebrew). 

  • "Voices Yet to Be Heard: On Listening to the Last Speakers of Jewish Malayalam". In: Journal of Jewish Languages 1(1:1), 2013: 135-167.

  • "Documenting Jewish Malayalam in Israel: Fieldwork Description and Data Analysis". In: TAPASAM A Quarterly Journal of Kerala Studies in Malayalam-English VI(1), 2010: 3-39. 

  • ""Kerala Project": On Documenting the Linguistic Heritage of Kerala Jews". In: Pe'amim 122, 2009: 129-153. 

  • "Oral Literary Forms in Jewish Malayalam". In: Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies 10, 2009: 47-60. 

  • "Jewish Malayalam". In: International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 38(1), 2009: 147-175. 

  • "The Vigil Night Song". In TAPASAM A Quarterly Journal of Kerala Studies in Malayalam-English 1(3), 2006: 548-574. 

  • "Hey there! Have you ever seen a Parrot? Notes about the Sukasandesam". In: TAPASAM A Quarterly Journal of Kerala Studies in Malayalam-English 1(2), 2005: 284-314.

Other publications

  • Review of Narratology: Indian Perspectives by C. Rajendran. In: The Adyar Library Bulletin 2008-2009: 349-358.

  • "The Correct Path to India", Haaretz, July 7 2010 (in Hebrew).

  • Review of The Jews of Kerala, by P. M. Jussay. In: TAPASAM a Quarterly Journal of Kerala Studies in Malayalam-English 1(3), 2006: 685-695.

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