Joy Ladin

Poet and scholar Joy Ladin is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox institution, Yeshiva University’s Stern College. Ladin studied poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, graduating in 1982, and went on to earn an MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1995 and a PhD from Princeton University in 2000. Her poetry collections Alternatives to History (2003) and The Book of Anna (2006) earned her early tenure from Stern College, but in 2007, when she came out as a trans woman and changed her name from Jay to Joy, she was asked to take a leave of absence. In 2008, undeterred by controversy, she returned to Stern College, where she holds the Gottesman Chair in English. As of 2016 she has published seven collections of poetry, most recently Impersonation (2015). She has also published numerous essays on gender and religion, as well as a memoir: Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. Among her other honors, she has been both a Fulbright scholar and a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts.


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Joy Ladin, photo courtesy of Joy Ladin.

Date of Birth

Rochester, NY
United States

Poet, Professor, Writer

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Joy Ladin." (Viewed on May 7, 2021) <>.


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