Rabbi Ruth Langer Presents "Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer"
Rabbi Ruth Langer, Ph.D., presented the 2012 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture on "Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer" on November 27 at the New York campus of HUC-JIR. Dr. Langer serves as the Professor of Jewish Studies, Theology Department, and Associate Director, Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, Boston College.
The Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Bamberger Family in memory of their father, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, z"l, who served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Jewish Intellectual History at HUC-JIR/New York.
Click here to watch Rabbi Langer's "Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer."
Rabbi Ruth Langer received her Ph.D. in Jewish Liturgy in 1994 and her rabbinical ordination in 1986 from the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Langer writes and speaks in two major areas: the development of Jewish liturgy and ritual; and, Christian-Jewish relations. Her newest book, Cursing the Christians?: A History of the Birkat HaMinim (Oxford University Press, 2011) combines these two interests, tracing the history of a Jewish prayer that was, in its medieval forms, a curse of Christians. This volume traces the transformations in the text and the polemics around it from its putative origins in the early rabbinic period, through its censorship by the church, to its modern transformations into an inoffensive prayer that asks God to rid our world of evil.
She is also author of To Worship God Properly: Tensions between Liturgical Custom and Halakhah in Judaism (Hebrew Union College Press, 1998). This book examines the interplay between liturgical law and custom in the medieval world, investigating the tensions between rabbinic dictates and the actual practices and understandings of the community. She also co-edited Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue (Eisenbrauns, 2005) and has published a long list of articles.
Dr. Fritz Bamberger was a noted German-Jewish scholar and specialist in Jewish intellectual history. After Hitler’s rise in Germany, he organized at great personal risk a system of schools from kindergarten to college for Jewish students expelled by the Nazis from public schools. In 1934 he was appointed Director of the Bureau of Education for Jews in Berlin and President of the Jewish Teachers College, which was established to train general teachers for the new Jewish schools designed to meet the needs of young Jews during the Nazi era. He fled Nazi Germany to the United States in 1939, and following twenty years in the publishing field as Executive Editor of Esquire and Coronet magazines, he served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Intellectual History at HUC-JIR in New York.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s oldest 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 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 history, identity, art, and archaeology, and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.