Nili Gold

Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Language & Literature
707 Williams Hall
(215) 573-5312

Dr. Nili Gold is an Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), where she has been teaching since 2000. Since 2011, she has also served as the Undergraduate Director of the Jewish Studies Program.

Born in Haifa, Israel, Dr. Gold graduated from the French Alliance School and received her B.A. in Hebrew Literature and Education-research as well as her High School Teachers Diploma at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her M.A. and Ph.D. are from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (M.A. thesis: "Poetic Closure: A Case Study, Natan Zach"; Ph.D. dissertation: "The Transformation of Images and Structures in the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai"). Before coming to Penn, she was Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and Language at the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University.

Research Interests: 

Dr. Gold combines psychoanalytic, biographical and cultural-historical approaches in the study of Hebrew and Israeli literature. Her research extends to Diasporic Studies, questions of immigration, and multilingualism.

Dr. Gold has published many articles in American, Israeli, and European academic journals and collections. Her first book was Not Like a Cypress: Transformations of Images and Structures in the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai [Schocken, 1994, in Hebrew], which won the Award for the Best First Book in Hebrew Literature from the Ministry of Science and Culture of the State of Israel. Much of her scholarly effort has been devoted to her psychoanalytically-motivated 'Mother Tongue' project on authors who write in their second language. In 2008, she published Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel's National Poet (University Press of New England/ Brandeis), a critical biography of the great Israeli poet. Currently, she is at work on a book on the literary image of Haifa and its architecture.

Courses Taught: 

Dr. Gold is a great believer in the Socratic Method (e.g. learning through discussion rather than through lectures). She offers two courses each semester: a seminar in Modern Hebrew literature and a course in Israeli literature and film in translation. Every spring, she coordinates and co-teaches Modern Middle Eastern Literatures in Translation. 

Dr. Gold has hosted Israeli writers, translators and filmmakers at Penn and has planned various cultural events and film festivals on campus, including two International Scholars Conferences, in 2004 on Amos Oz, and in 2011 on Aharon Appelfeld, both with the authors in residence. 

  • NELC 159: Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture in Translation
  • NELC 201: Modern Middle East Literature in Translation
  • HEBR 259: Studies in Modern Hebrew Literature
  • HEBR 359: Seminar Modern Hebrew Literature
Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax / jsp-info@sas.upenn.edu