You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Ruth Fredman Cernea

While she spent her career studying Jewish communities from Washington, DC to Myanmar, Ruth Fredman Cernea may be best known for her part in creating the annual Latke Hamantash Debate at the University of Chicago. Cernea graduated from Temple University in 1956 and raised a family before earning her doctorate in anthropology from Temple in 1982. That year she published Cosmopolitans at Home: The Sephardic Jews of Washington DC. She then became director of research and publications for the Hillel Foundation from 1982–1996. In 1987, on her second honeymoon, she discovered a small Jewish community in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma). After two decades of research, she published Almost Englishmen: Baghdadi Jews in British Burma. From 2001–2002 she served as president of the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists. In 2006 she published the anthology The Great Latke Hamantash Debate, collecting mock scholarly arguments delivered at the annual event.

1 Comment

It's remarkable designed for me to have a website, which is useful in favor of my knowledge.

thanks admin

Ruth Fredman Cernea
Full image
Dr. Ruth Fredman Cernea, cultural anthropologist.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death
March 31, 2009

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Fredman Cernea." (Viewed on February 18, 2019) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs