MemberRebecca J. Epstein-Levi

…ics, Disability Studies, and Practical Interventions, Scottsdale, AZ (February 2019)

Presentation: “Toward a Framework for Responsible Uses of Genetic Testing.”


Association for Jewish Studies, Boston, MA (December 2018)

Society of Jewish Ethics, Louisville, KY (January 2019)

Jewish Theological Seminary: Conference in Educating for Shleimut (Wholeness), New York, NY (January 2019)…
…American Academy of Religion

Society of Jewish Ethics

Association for Jewish Studies…
…My current book project, tentatively titled When We Collide: Sex, Sociality, and Jewish Ethics uses classical rabbinic texts, as well as theoretical resources from virtue ethics and crip theory, to think about the moral implications of treating sex as one risk-laden social relation among and embedded in many. Through case studies of the management of sexually transmitted infections and of organized BDSM communities, put in dialogue with rabbinic texts that deal with the management of ritual impurity and the danger…
…University of Virginia: Ph.D in the Study of Judaism (2017)

Dissertation: Safe, Sane, and Attentive: A Jewish Ethics of Sex and Public Health,

University of Virginia: M.A. in Religious Studies (2012)

Master’s Thesis: Phenomenal Sex: Uses of the Empirical in Contemporary Halakhic Discourse on Homosexuality.

Oberlin College: B.A. with High Honors in Religion (2008)…
…Peer Reviewed Articles

“A Prescription for Discourse: Power and Expertise in Ritual and Sexual Health.” Forthcoming, Journal of Jewish Ethics.

“Textual Relationships: On Perspective, Interpretive Discipline, and Constructive Ethics.” Forthcoming, Journal of Textual Reasoning.

“A Polyvocal Body: Mutually Corrective Discourses in Feminist and Jewish Bodily Ethics.” Journal of Religious Ethics. 43:2 (2015)

“Community, Authority, and Autonomy: Jewish Resources for the Vaccine Wars.” Journal …

I am a practical ethicist who  examines questions of sexual, biomedical, and environmental ethics    through a Jewish lens. My dissertation  used Mishnaic ritual purity discourse as  a model for a Jewish ethics of sex and  public health. My current project, which expands upon many of the core themes in my dissertation, examines the moral and textual implications of treating sex as one species of social interaction among many. I’ve also written about the ethics of genetically engineered crops,  the tensions between autonomy and community in Jewish and feminist thought, the duty to vaccinate, and the ways practical ethicists deploy classical rabbinic texts. I teach courses among many of these same lines. I have taught or am in the process of developing courses on Jewish sexual ethics, Jewish bodies and bioethics, purity in the Abrahamic traditions, argumentation in Jewish traditions, and comparative religious environmental ethics, as well as introductions to Judaism and to religious studies. I make a concerted effort to diversify my syllabi in all these areas, with substantial representation from scholars who are women, LGBTQIA+, people of color, disabled, or otherwise marginalized. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Jewish Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, I was a visiting instructor in Religion and Jewish Studies at Oberlin College. I received my Ph.D from the University of Virginia in 2017. In my copious free time, I enjoy drawing and painting (the header image is my own work), horseback riding, cooking overly complicated meals, and sharpening my ever-growing collection of kitchen knives. I live with my wife, Sarah, and my cat, Faintly Macabre.

MemberErin D. Graff Zivin

Erin Graff Zivin’s research and teaching interests focus on constructions of Jewishness and marranismo in the Luso-Hispanic Atlantic, aesthetic representations of torture and interrogation, the relationship between ethics, politics and aesthetics (particularly in the context of Latin American literary and cultural studies), and the intersection of philosophy and critical theory more broadly. She is the author of “Figurative Inquisitions: Conversion, Torture and Truth in the Luso-Hispanic Atlantic” (Northwestern University Press, 2014) and “The Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary” (Duke University Press, 2008), and the editor of “The Ethics of Latin American Literary Criticism: Reading Otherwise” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). In addition, Graff Zivin has published articles in Modern Language Notes (MLN), SubStance, CR: The New Centennial Review, Politica Comun: A Journal of Thought, the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Variaciones Borges, the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Chasqui, the Journal of Jewish Identities and Modern Jewish Studies.

MemberJennifer Thompson

…Associate Professor, Maurice Amado Professor Of Applied Jewish Ethics And Civic Engagement…
…“Morality in the garden: Applying Jewish Ethics.” Part of volume Food and Judaism: A Companion, ed. by Aaron Gross, Jody Myers, and Jordan Rosenblum. Under contract with New York University Press.

Applied Ethics eText. [2014]2017. Peer reviewed.

“MeToo needs a forgiveness option, and Judaism can provide it.” Forward, December 15, 2017.

MemberGeoffrey Claussen

…Society of Jewish Ethics

American Academy of Religion

Association for Jewish Studies…
… The Talmud Torahs of Kelm and Grobin in the Nineteenth Century.” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 30, no. 1 (2018): 15-41.
“The Promise and Limits of R. Simhah Zissel Ziv’s Musar: A Response to Miller, Cooper, Pugh, and Peters.” Journal of Jewish Ethics, vol. 3, no. 1 (2017): 154-177.
“The Kaddish, the Allegory of the Cave, and the Golden Calf: Meditations on Education and the Encounter with God.” In Kaddish, ed. David Birnbaum and Martin S. Cohen (New Paradigm Matrix Publishing, 2016), 3…

MemberAdrienne Krone

…American Academy of Religion
Association for the Study of Food and Society
Association of Jewish Studies
Society of Jewish Ethics…

I research religious food justice movements and teach courses in Jewish studies, food studies, environmental studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. My current project is an ethnographic and historical study of the Jewish Community Farming movement in North America.

DepositTortured Zionism: Messianism, Ambivalence, and Israel in post-Holocaust Jewish American literature

This dissertation examines post-Holocaust, Jewish American novelists that utilize messianism in their narratives to negotiate ambivalence about Zionism. Studying novels from the mid-1980’s to 2013, I look at the triangular relationship between Jewish American identification, the Holocaust, and Israel, to explore major topics in contemporary Jewry and fiction, including the homeland/ diaspora binary, the Jewish American writer’s ethical responsibility, the legacy of the Holocaust, the complexity surrounding Zionism, and the formalist experimentation of postmodernism. My study begins with Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and his use of the messianic figure, which works as a fulcrum to examine both the limitations of Holocaust art as a healing device, and post-Holocaust diasporic anxiety; Chabon suggests that this anxiety is exasperated by ambivalent feelings about Israel and a lingering hope in the actualization of the Zionist dream. I continue with Philip Roth’s Israel centered novels, The Counterlife and Operation Shylock, and his non-fictional, The Facts and Patrimony, delineating how Roth both depicts his writer protagonists’ progression towards Jewish collectivity and presents a template for Jewish American solidarity to Zionism. Roth identifies loyalty to Zionism with a Jewishness that is paternally engendered, and, in his rejection of messianic ideology, suggests that his model of Zionism can only exist when Jewish Americans critique Israel with honesty and complexity. My study ends with a gendered reading of Tova Reich’s Israel novels, which portray the disastrous consequences of the collision between messianic extremism and the Jewish mother. Within that dynamic, Reich delineates Zionism’s and Judaism’s patriarchal origins and inconsistencies, and reveals how extremists exploit those patriarchal elements to dangerous excess. Through the novels, Reich tacitly advocates for a complete revamping of Zionism and Judaism that eradicates hierarchy and chosenness and that is aligned with Judith Plaskow’s concept of feminist Judaism. Tortured Zionism utilizes post-colonial, post-Zionist, Jewish, gender, and formalistic hermeneutics to elucidate that contemporary Jewish American writers are rejecting a diasporist approach to Jewish American identity and are solidifying the importance of Israel in the Jewish American imagination, despite and because of the complex issues surrounding Zionism.

MemberJonathan Sarna

Jonathan D. Sarna is spending this year as a fellow of the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies.  Ordinarily he serves as University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he chairs its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. He also is the past president of the Association for Jewish Studies and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.  Author or editor of more than thirty books on American Jewish history and life, his American Judaism: A History won six awards including the 2004 “Everett Jewish Book of the Year Award” from the Jewish Book Council. Sarna is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Jewish Research. His most recent books are When General Grant Expelled the Jews and Lincoln & the Jews: A History (with Benjamin Shapell), which has just appeared in a Hebrew edition. 

MemberMatthew Goldstone

…Association for Jewish Studies
Society of Biblical Literature
American Academy of Religion
Society of Jewish Ethics…

Research My book, The Dangerous Duty of Rebuke: Leviticus 19:17 in Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation (Brill, 2018), examines the ways in which religious leaders within early Jewish and Christian communities conceived of the obligation to rebuke their fellows based upon the biblical verse: “Do not hate your kinsfolk in your heart, rebuke your fellow but do not incur sin” (Leviticus 19:17).  Analyzing texts from the Bible through the Talmud and late midrashim as well as early Christian monastic writings, I expose a shift from asking how to rebuke in the Second Temple period, to whether one can rebuke in early rabbinic texts, to whether one should rebuke in later rabbinic and monastic sources. My next project, tentatively titled Propaganda, Deception, and Censorship: The Rabbinic Production of Knowledge, explores the manifold ways through which the rabbis of late antiquity fabricate history and law. Drawing upon insights from propaganda studies, trauma and postcolonial theory, as well as rhetorical criticism, this project examines rabbinic literature as a microcosm for understanding the partisan construction and dissemination of knowledge in the ancient world.