Alyssa M. Gray - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Alyssa M. Gray, J.D., Ph.D.

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Emily S. and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics; Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature

HUC-JIR/New York

Rabbinical Program, New York
Academic Field: 
Rabbinics and Liturgy
Research Interests: 
Talmud criticism; Wealth, poverty, and charity in classical and medieval Jewish legal literature; Theory and the reading of medieval Jewish legal literature

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Dr. Alyssa Gray is the Emily S. and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics and Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature at HUC-JIR/New York. She received her PhD with distinction in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and also earned an LLM in Mishpat Ivri (Jewish law) from the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. She is a graduate of Barnard College (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and earned a JD from the Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. 

Dr. Gray’s current research interests are Talmud criticism (with a special focus on comparative study of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds), wealth, poverty, and charity in classical and medieval rabbinic literature, and the application of new theoretical perspectives on law, literature, and history to the reading of medieval Jewish legal literature.  

She has been a visiting professor at Yale University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She has also lectured in a variety of other academic and non-academic settings, including Hebrew University, the University of Chicago, Florida Atlantic University, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Freehof Institute for Progressive Halakhah, Limmud UK, the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the Masorti movement in Latin America, and the Union for Reform Judaism.  

Dr. Gray is a founding member of the HUC-JIR Faculty Council and served on the HUC-JIR Board of Governors from 2009-2012 as the elected Faculty Governor. She currently serves as Chair of the New York Faculty. Dr. Gray is also active in the profession, having just completed (2015) two terms as co-chair of the History and Literature of Early Rabbinic Judaism section of the Society for Biblical Literature and currently serving as a member of the Program Committee of the Association for Jewish Studies. She also sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Jewish Ethics and of HUC Press.


Selected Publications and Edited Works

“Wealth and Rabbinic Self-Fashioning in Late Antiquity,” in Leonard J. Greenspoon, editor, Wealth and Poverty in Jewish Tradition (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2015), 53-81


A Talmud in Exile: The Influence of Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah on the Formation of Bavli Avodah Zarah (Providence, RI: Brown Judaic Studies, 2005) (available from

“Poverty and Community in R. Joseph Karo’s Shulhan Arukh: ‘Law and Literature’ and Halakhic History,” Diné Israel 29 (2013)

“Redemptive Almsgiving and the Rabbis of Late Antiquity,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 18:2 (2011): 144-184

“The Formerly-Wealthy Poor: From Empathy to Ambivalence in Rabbinic Literature of Late Antiquity,” AJS Review 33:1 (2009): 101-133

“Married Women and Tsedaqah in Medieval Jewish Law: Gender and the Discourse of Legal Obligation,” in Studies in Mediaeval Halakhah in Honor of Stephen M. Passamaneck, ed. by Alyssa Gray and Bernard Jackson (Jewish Law Association Studies XVII; Liverpool: Deborah Charles, 2007), 168-212

“A Contribution to the Study of Martyrdom and Identity in the Palestinian Talmud,” Journal for Jewish Studies 54:2 (2003): 242-272

Current and Future Courses
Post-Talmudic Halakhic Literature
Shulhan Arukh for the Reform Rabbi: Yoreh De’ah
Talmud Bavli: Sanhedrin chapter 6
Talmud II
Landlords and Tenants in the Classical Halakhah