Carole B. Balin - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Carole B. Balin, Rabbi, Ph.D.

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Professor Emerita of Jewish History

HUC-JIR/New York

Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, New York; New York School of Education, New York; Rabbinical Program, New York
Academic Field: 
Research Interests: 
Gender Studies; Modern Jewish History; American Jewish Studies

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Rabbi Carole B. Balin is Professor Emerita of Jewish History at HUC-JIR/New York, where she trained and mentored over 500 beloved rabbinical, cantorial and education students.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College, Balin earned a Ph.D. at Columbia University and honed her spiritual practice in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality's program for clergy.

Balin co-curated the national traveling exhibit, "Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age," co-sponsored by the National Museum of American Jewish History and the teen engagement organization Moving Traditions, and wrote and narrated the animated short "The Click Moment: Jewish Feminism 101." She appears on PBS' "The Jewish People: A Story of Survival," blogs for the Huffington Post and lectures at synagogues and universities throughout the world.

Balin is the chair of the board of the Jewish Women's Archive and is currently at work on a narrative non-fiction on shifting Jewish identities as told through the stories of bat mitzvah girls over the past century.

Selected Publications and Edited Works

‘To Tread on New Ground’: Selected Hebrew Writings of Hava Shapiro, co-editor with Wendy I. Zierler, Wayne State University Press, 2014.

Sisterhood: A Centennial History of the Women of Reform Judaism, co-editor with Dana Herman, Jonathan D. Sarna and Gary P. Zola, HUC Press, 2013. 

Behikansi atah [In my entering now; Anthology of Hebrew writings by Hava Shapiro with scholarly afterword], co-editor with Wendy Zierler, Vashti Series for Women, Resling Press, Tel Aviv, 2008. 

To Reveal Our Hearts: Jewish Women Writers in Tsarist Russia, HUC Press, 2000 (re-issued in paperback in 2003) 



Guest Editor, Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27, by Debra J. Robbins, CCAR Press, 2019.


“Mitzvah/Mitzvot,” A Life of Meaning: Embracing Reform Judaism’s Sacred Path, ed. Dana Evan Kaplan, CCAR Press, 2018. 


“The (Re)production of a Maskilah: The Mother-Daughter Bond between Menuhah and Hava Shapiro,” with Wendy Zierler, in Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination, eds. Marjorie Lehman, et. al. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2017.


“Reform Rabbis, Betty Friedan and the Uses of ‘Tradition,’” in Between Tradition and Modernity, Festschrift for David Ellenson, Michael Meyer and David Myer, eds. Wayne State University Press, 2013.


“‘Get the Uniongram Habit’: National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods’ Energetic Marketing and Sales Campaign, 1913-1953,” in Sisterhood: A Centennial History of the Women of Reform Judaism, eds. Carole B. Balin, Dana Herman, Jonathan D. Sarna and Gary Zola, HUC Press, 2013. 


“Bat Mitzvah’s Delayed Coming of Age in Reform Judaism,” CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2012.


“Making Every Forkful Count: Reform Jews, Kashrut and Mindful Eating, 1840-2010,” The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic, ed. Mary L. Zamore, CCAR Press, 2011.


Preface, Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief, ed. Elliot Cosgrove, Jewish Lights, 2010.


“Moving through the Movements: American Denominations and their Haggadot,” “‘Good to the Last Drop’: The Proliferation of the Maxwell House Haggadah,” and Modern Commentary, My People’s Passover Haggadah, eds. Lawrence Hoffman and David Arnow, Jewish Lights, 2008. National Jewish Book Award.


Current and Future Courses
Modern Jewish History
Reform Jewish History
Food and Judaism
Jewish Feminist Theology
Jewish Family History
At the Intersection of Jewish History and the Arts
Public Lecture Topics
Is America Good for the Jews? Post-Pittsburgh and -Poway in the US and Beyond
Not Your Average Balebuste: Jewish Women Writers Under the Tsars
Can We Talk about Gender?: Jews in the #MeToo Era
Eating our Jewish Values: Adaptation, Evolution and Reform Jewish Approaches to Jewish Dietary Practice
Widening Our Tent: Jewish Identities Today
Sisterhood: Far Beyond Tea and Rugelach
If These Walls Could Talk: Your Synagogue's History
A Deep Dive into Art: What Paintings Tell Us about the Jewish Past
Wine Stains on the Haggadah: Finding Ourselves in its Pages
From Dirty Dancing to Mrs. Maisel: Jews on the Screen