Leah Hochman - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Leah Hochman, Ph.D.

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Director of the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies and Associate Professor of Jewish Thought

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, Los Angeles
Academic Field: 
Research Interests: 
Religion and literature; Medieval, modern and contemporary Jewish thought; Modern and contemporary religious thought; 18th-century aesthetics; European Enlightenment; Jewish studies; German-Jewish studies; Jewish literature; Judaism in the US and the Americas; Food and religion; Intellectual history

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Dr. Leah Hochman directs the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at the University of Southern California and serves as Associate Professor of Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.

Raised in the Seattle area, she came to Southern California to earn her undergraduate degree at Pitzer College in Claremont before moving east for graduate work. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in religion and literature from Boston University, where she wrote her dissertation on Moses Mendelssohn’s theories of religion and language. Dr. Hochman spent a year in Berlin as a post-doctoral fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum and has continued to return to Germany regularly to research and lead classes. Before coming to HUC-JIR/Los Angeles in 2008, she was assistant professor of religion and Jewish studies at the University of Florida and taught in the Great Books program at BU.

At HUC-JIR, she teaches classes in medieval and modern philosophy, American Judaism, modern history, and food ethics. At USC, she teaches classes on contemporary Jewish literature, Jewish identity and the academic study of Judaism.

Selected Publications and Edited Works

Mendelssohn’s Ugly (under review)

Atlas of Judaism (forthcoming from Brown Reference Group)

 “The Ugly Made Beautiful: Mendelssohn as Icon,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. July 2006, 5:2.

“Approaches to Jewish Studies: Teaching a Methods Course,” Teaching Theology and Religion. Spring 2005, 8:2

“The Other As Self: Mendelssohn, Diogenes, Bayle, and Spinoza,” Eighteenth Century Life. Spring 2004, 28:2

Current and Future Courses
Medieval to Early Modern Jewish Thought
Germany Close Up: Jews and Non-Jews in Contemporary Germany
American Judaism
The Nineteenth Century: Thinkers, Ideals, Expectations
Tilling, Tending, Eating: Ethics, Food, and Judaism
Encounters with Modernity: Jews, Christians, Muslims
Jewish Identity in Literature
Public Lecture Topics
Making the Jews Ugly: Physiognomy, Jewish Faces and Modern Europe
The Beauty in Judaism: Aesthetics, Religion, and Jews
What Modern Jews Think (and Thought): Changing and Challenging Judaism
Telling Our Stories: Jewish Auto/Biographies
Green(ing) Judaism: Environmentalism and the Jews
Jews, Judaism and the Internet: New Cultural Trends in Contemporary Jewry
Let’s Eat Already! Judaism and Food
Eating Jewish in America: Taking Out Chinese and Eating Kosher In
Maxwell House, Manischewitz, and Moses: The American Haggadah
Televising Judaism: The Changing Face of American Jewish Icons
There are Jews in Germany? Contemporary German-Jews and their/our Judaism
Tweeting, Texting, and Torah: What American Judaism Looks Like on the Web
Developing Your Own Theology: Changing and Challenging Judaism
Tiptoeing Through Jewish Thought: What Medieval & Modern Jews Thought (& Think)