Merle Feld, poet and playwright, was born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in an assimilated family. In college her curiosity about Jewish life and her desire to find a community drew Feld to Hillel, where she found a deep and enduring connection to Judaism and Jewish life.
Feld was active in Jewish feminism from its early years, but did not perceive herself as a political person until 1989, when she spent a sabbatical in Israel with her husband and two young children. During that year, she became involved in peace activism, facilitating an all-women Israeli-Palestinian dialogue group on the West Bank. This group was very important in creating a sense of shared humanity among Israeli and Palestinian women, breaking down prejudices and forming a grassroots context for understanding. Feld also demonstrated regularly with Women in Black, an Israeli women's weekly, silent protest of the Occupation. These experiences formed the basis of her play, "Across the Jordan," included in the first anthology of Jewish women playwrights, Making a Scene (Syracuse University Press, 1997). In addition, her memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (revised, SUNY Press, 2007) includes a chapter describing the dialogue work of that year in Israel.
Merle Feld's most recent book is Finding Words (URJ Press 2011). She currently serves as Founding Director of the Rabbinic Writing Institute and lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband Rabbi Edward Feld.