Professors discuss the role of women in Jewish life in upcoming lecture

Examining the role of women in Jewish life is topic of the upcoming Leonard Wolinsky Lectures on Jewish Life and Education at York, titled "Jewish Women and Jewish Texts", on Sunday, April 6.

The lecture will take place at 2pm, in the Robert R. McEwen Auditorium of the Executive Learning Centre, Schulich School of Business, Keele campus.

Two professors will discuss the pertinent issues surrounding women in Jewish life. Rabbi Judith Hauptman of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York will present, "Re-appraising Women’s Role in Rabbinic Judaism", while Tamar Ross of Bar Ilan University in Israel will present, "A Bet Midrash of Her Own: Women’s Contribution to the Traditional Study and Knowledge of Torah".

Hauptman, the E. Billi Ivry professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary, reads rabbinic texts in context and traces the evolution of Jewish law and practice over time. She is the author of three books, including Rereading the Rabbis: A Women’s Voice (Westview Press, 1999). In her most recent, Rereading the Mishnah, A New Approach to Ancient Jewish Texts (Paul Mohr Verlag, 2005), she rethinks the relationship of the two early rabbinic works: Mishnah and the Tosefta.

For the last seven years, Hauptman has served as the volunteer chaplain to the Jewish patients at the Cabrini Nursing Home in Lower Manhattan. She is also the rabbi and founder of Ohel Ayalah, a free walk-in High Holy day service aimed at people in their 20s and 30s as well as interfaith couples. It is through this outreach project that Hauptman connects with hundreds of unaffiliated young Jews.

Born in the US, Ross moved to Israel as a teenager to begin her academic studies at Hebrew University and, after raising seven children, completed her PhD in Jewish philosophy. In addition to having a long-term affiliation with the Department of Philosophy at Bar Ilan University as well as with Midreshet Lindenbaum – a women’s yeshiva in Jerusalem – she has taught in many other academic and religious settings in Israel and abroad.

Her recent book, Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism (Brandeis University Press, 2004), confronts some of the challenges arising from the interface between traditional Judaism and modernity.

The Leonard Wolinsky Lectures are sponsored by York’s Centre for Jewish Studies, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education in cooperation with the Centre for Enhancement of Jewish Education.

To RSVP, call 416-736-5823, or by e-mail to

For more information, visit the Centre for Jewish Studies Web site.