Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, Ph.D., Contributes Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

During the month of July, Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, Ph.D., Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies and Associate Professor of Rabbinics at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, joined eight European and North American scholars, each of whom committed to producing a commentary on one tractate of the Babylonian Talmud. They gathered in residence as summer fellows at the Katz Center of the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the challenges and contributions of feminist readings of the Talmud to the field of talmudic literature. The volumes produced will be part of the Feminist Commentary to the Babylonian Talmud series published by Mohr Siebeck. The month-long collaboratory explored strategies and best practices of writing talmudic commentary and of feminist writing.

The Taube/Katz collaboratory permits space and time for the scholars to work on their individual commentaries and collectively discuss the challenges of translating this feminist scholarly contribution into commentary—the defining Jewish literary practice for centuries. 

Dr. Weisberg said of the collaboratory, “This was an incredible experience on two levels. First, I was able to devote four weeks to research and writing, supported by colleagues and with access to an amazing library. Second, the collaborator, as we called it, offered the opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues about a project that we are all working on; the commitment to improving the work of each participant and the series as a whole was impressive.”

Dvora Weisberg is Associate Professor of Rabbinics and Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies at HUC-JIR's Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and her M.A. and her Ph.D. in Talmud and Rabbinic Literature from The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS).  Before coming to HUC-JIR, Dr. Weisberg taught at JTS, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Weisberg’s book, Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism, explores the ancient rabbis’ understanding of family and familial relationships.  She has written extensively on levirate marriage and gender issues in rabbinic literature.

Dr. Weisberg teaches frequently in informal settings, including adult education programs in congregations, several summers at the URJ Kallah, and sessions for the CCAR and its regional conventions.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu