David N. Myers is Distinguished Professor of History and holds the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History in the UCLA History Department. He is the founding director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. He also serves as President of the Board of the New Israel Fund.
Myers was born in 1960 in Scranton, PA, where he developed a strong sense of community in the rich ethnic patchwork of that Middle Atlantic city. He spent his senior year of high school at the University of Scranton before going on to receive his A.B. cum laude from Yale College in 1982. Following graduation, Myers moved to Israel where he began his graduate studies in modern Jewish history at Tel Aviv University (studying with Anita Shapira, Ya’akov Shavit, and Saul Friedlander, among others). After two years there, he moved to Harvard University where he spent a year studying medieval Jewish thought under the guidance of Professor Isadore Twersky. In 1985, Myers arrived at Columbia University, where he completed his dissertation with distinction in 1991 under the supervision of his revered teacher Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (1932-2009). The dissertation was the basis of his first book Re-Inventing the Jewish Past: European Jewish Intellectuals and the Zionist Return to History (Oxford: 1995).
In late 1988, Myers moved to Los Angeles with his wife, Nomi Stolzenberg, who took up a position at the USC Law School. Armed with all of the stereotypes of a self-respecting East Coast person, he expected to find a vast empty wasteland in Los Angeles. Instead, he found a rich, diverse, and exciting urban environment. Several years later, in 1991, he was appointed to a one-year post as a lecturer at UCLA. He has been there ever since, teaching Jewish history to undergraduate and graduate students. For ten years, he served as director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies (1996-2000, 2004-2010). He also served as Robert N. Burr Department Chair of the UCLA History Department from 2010 to 2015. In 2017-18, he served as the President/CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York.
Myers’ scholarly work has touched on a number of key themes in modern Jewish history, including the history of Jewish historiography, the history of Zionism, and modern Jewish intellectual history. In addition to Re-Inventing the Jewish Past, he has also written Resisting History: Historicism and its Discontents in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2003), Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (Brandeis University Press, 2008) Jewish History in the Oxford University Press Very Short Introduction series, and The Stakes of History: The Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life (Yale University Press, 2018). Most recently, he is the author with Nomi Stolzenberg of American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York (Princeton, 2021).
Myers has also edited eleven books, including The Jewish Past Revisited, Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases, The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim and the Writing of Jewish History, The Eternal Dissident: Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman and the Radical Imperative to Think and Act, and most recently, Between Babylon and Jerusalem: Selected Writings of Simon Rawidowicz.
Myers has taught at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and the Russian State University for the Humanities, and visited at the Institute for Advanced Studies (Jerusalem) and been a fellow twice at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (Philadelphia). Since 2003, he has served as co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. Myers is an elected fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research.
In addition to his scholarly work, Myers writes and lectures frequently on contemporary Jewish affairs, particularly Israel/Palestine. He has been a long-time instructor for the Wexner Heritage Foundation. Myers and Nomi Stolzenberg live in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, and are the parents of three daughters:Tali, Noa, and Sara.