A Boston native, Dr. Anne Lapidus Lerner is an emerita member of the Department of Jewish Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary. A member of the JTS faculty since 1969, Dr. Lerner was the first woman to serve as a JTS vice chancellor, and thus as one of the highest-ranking women in American Jewish institutional life. She had previously served as dean of the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies, and as associate dean of The Graduate School.
A pioneer in the field of Jewish Women's Studies and founding director of the JTS Jewish Women's Studies Program (now the Jewish Gender and Women's Studies Program), Dr. Lerner continues to teach courses on biblical texts and their afterlife in rabbinic and modern Jewish literature, portrayals of women in Jewish literature, and Hebrew and American Jewish poetry. For many years, she led a seminar designed to help first-year rabbinical students develop as rabbis.
Dr. Lerner served as the chair and organizer of the groundbreaking conference "This Is My Prayer—Va'ani Tefillati: Jewish Women in Prayer" in March 2009, which brought together women from the various denominations of Judaism to explore prayer in their lives. Watch videos from the conference.
Dr. Lerner's most recent book, Eternally Eve: Images of Eve in the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, and Modern Jewish Poetry (Brandeis University Press, 2007) presents a rethinking of the prevailing image of the first woman. Her publications also include Who Has Not Made Me a Man: The Movement for Equal Rights for Women in American Judaism, which has become a classic study of the interaction between the second wave of American feminism and Judaism, and Passing the Love of Women: A Study of Gide's "Saül" and Its Biblical Roots, an examination of the ways in which the French writer André Gide reinterpreted the Saul stories in 1 Samuel. Dr. Lerner is an editor of the volume Gender and Text: Feminist Approaches to Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, published by JTS. Her articles on Jewish literature and Jewish life have appeared in many periodicals, both scholarly and popular.
Dr. Lerner's many awards and honors include an honorary doctor of humane letters, Hebrew College (Boston), June 2012; the JTS Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching in The Rabbinical School, 2010; and being named Woman of Distinction, Women's League for Conservative Judaism, November 2002.
A popular lecturer and scholar-in-residence in a variety of Jewish contexts, both formal and informal, Dr. Lerner was scholar-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University (fall 2011), where she continues as a Research Associate. During the 2001–2002 academic year, Dr. Lerner served as visiting lecturer and research associate at the Harvard University Divinity School's Women's Studies in Religion program. Her community involvement includes the editorial boards of Hadassah, Judaism, Nashim, and Lilith.
Dr. Lerner earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees from Harvard University, as well as BJEd and MHL degrees from Hebrew College in Boston.
Dr. Lerner's husband, Rabbi Stephen C. Lerner, is the founder and director of the Center for Conversion to Judaism, and rabbi of Kanfei Shahar Minyan in Teaneck, New Jersey. Their son, Rabbi David Lerner, is rabbi of Temple Emunah in Lexington, Massachusetts. Their daughter, Rahel Lerner, teaches Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the Krieger Schechter Day School of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore.
Updated June 2012