Jewish Studies

Content type
Collection

Anita Shapira

Anita Shapira is one of the most important and influential contemporary historians in the field of twentieth-century Jewish and Israeli history. She played important roles in laying the foundations of Israeli historiography and launching the research discipline known today as Israel Studies.

Riv-Ellen Prell

Anthropologist Riv-Ellen Prell initiated ethnographic study of ordinary American Jews that paid attention to religion, gender, ritual, and cultural performance. Her work addresses the primacy of gender in twentieth-century Jewish life and looks at economic and power relations often expressed through negative stereotypes of Jewish women.

Judith Hauptman

The first woman to receive a PhD in Talmud, Judith Hauptman has made significant contributions to the academic study of the origins and development of the works of the “canon” of rabbinic literature of Late Antiquity. A second prominent focus of both Hauptman’s scholarly and other work has been Jewish feminism and the status of women in rabbinic and related literature, particularly exemplified in her best-known work, Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman’s Voice.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is an American folklorist who is a scholar of Jewish cultures of Eastern Europe, North America, and Israel, museums, heritage, and tourism, as well as a curator of exhibits and documentarian. She is Chief Curator of the core exhibit of the POLIN Museum of Jewish history in Warsaw.

Adrienne Cooper

A versatile performer, scholar, administrator, and activist who worked in the fields of Yiddish culture, Jewish music, social justice, and feminism, Adrienne Cooper inspired international audiences with her compelling performances and nurtured a generation of musicians, academics, and advocates.

Jamaica Kincaid

Born Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson, Jamaica Kincaid is a Jewish Afro-Caribbean author. She was sent to the United States from her birthplace in Antigua at the age of sixteen and became a writer while living in the United States.

Louise Glück

Louise Glück, American poet, essayist, and educator, is the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as numerous other awards for her writing; she also served as poet laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004. One finds the personal, the mythological, and the Biblical woven intricately throughout Glück’s oeuvre.

Ruth Calderon

As a Talmud scholar and a member of the progressive Israeli political party Yesh Atid, Ruth Calderon has sought to break down the traditional divide in Israeli society between right-wing Orthodoxy and secular liberalism.

Ellen Umansky

Through both her scholarship, Ellen Umansky has reshaped our understanding of the influence women have had on centuries of Jewish practice.

Haviva Ner-David

Haviva Ner-David’s 2006 ordination made her one of the first Orthodox women to claim the title of “Rabbi,” part of her lifelong work to enable Jewish women—and Jews in general—to reexamine and reengage with the tradition.

Dalia Marx

As a professor of liturgy at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where students from around the world learn to become Reform rabbis, Dalia Marx is helping to shape how a new generation approaches prayer.

Delphine Horvilleur

Delphine Horvilleur is helping transform the traditional French Jewish community through her work as a leader of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France.

Susan Grossman

As a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), Rabbi Susan Grossman has helped shape the Conservative Movement’s policies on women’s rights and their roles in Jewish life.

Elyse Goldstein

As one of the first women rabbis in Canada, Elyse Goldstein has broken down barriers by founding inclusive communities for learning and prayer.

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi

For Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, becoming a rabbi was the culmination of a lifelong examination of the intersection of women and faith.
Biblical Deborah

My Gateway to Jewish Feminism

Lili Klayman

When I was younger, I learned about a woman who drove a people from war times to peace. She was widely respected in a male dominated era, and she was one of only seven women who spoke to God directly. The protagonist of the story is the prophetess Deborah. 

Penina Migdal Glazer

As a historian, Penina Migdal Glazer has shed new light on the struggles of women to gain acceptance even in eras of supposedly greater opportunity.

Immigration and Generations: Anzia Yezierska's Children of Loneliness

Children of Loneliness, a short story by immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska, illustrates how one young woman's struggle to find her own place in American society tears her from her parents and their way of life.

A Young American Jew in Israel, 1947-1948

Learn about the founding of the State of Israel from the perspective of Zipporah Porath, a young American woman who joined the Zionist effort in 1947.

Lilith Evolved: Writing Midrash

Interrogate the notion of midrash using "The Coming of Lilith" by theologian Judith Plaskow as an example of how contemporary Jewish feminists have created their own midrashim—retellings of biblical stories—to incorporate women's viewpoints into the traditional texts of Judaism.

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Discover how two remarkable Jewish women: The biblical figure, Esther, and the historical figure, Bella Abzug, both fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them achieve their goals.

Tefillin Barbie: Considering Gender and Ritual Garb

Using the provocative image of "Tefillin Barbie"—created in 2006 by soferet (ritual scribe) Jen Taylor Friedman—examine the relationship between gender, body image, and ritual garb.

Writing Home: A Letter from an Early American Jew

Learn about Jewish immigration and the development of the Jewish community in America through a 1790s letter, originally written in Yiddish by Rebecca Samuel to her parents in Hamburg, Germany, describing her life in Petersburg, Virginia.

Laura Geller

One of the first women rabbis, Laura Geller has helped create new possibilities for Jewish women, from rituals to leadership roles.

Rachel Ertel

Shaped by Yiddish culture from an early age, Rachel Ertel sparked a love of Jewish studies in others through her work as the most respected scholar of Yiddish in France.

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