Judith Hauptman

Judith Hauptman is the E. Billi Ivry Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Dr. Hauptman's scholarly research focuses on two areas. The first is unraveling the mystery of how the Talmud came into being, i.e., how the many strands of rabbinic teachings coalesced into one coherent document. Her work may be classified as synoptic studies—a specialized area of Talmudic research in which related texts are examined for their implications about the history of the texts themselves and of Jewish law. Her first book in this area is titled Development of the Talmudic Sugya: Relationship Between Tannaitic and Amoraic Sources (University Press of America, 1987). Her most recent book, Rereading the Mishnah: A New Approach to Ancient Jewish Texts (Mohr Siebeck, 2005), examines the relationship of the Mishnah and the Tosefta, two early rabbinic works. Her second area of research involves investigating women's roles in Judaic thought, bringing an evaluation of the social and ethical norms of the rabbinic period into dialogue with contemporary issues. In Rereading the Rabbis, A Woman's Voice (Westview, 1998), she traces the development of women's legal status over time, from chattel in the Bible to second-class citizen at the end of the Talmudic period.

A popular lecturer and writer, Dr. Hauptman has authored many influential articles. Among them are: "Women and Prayer: An Attempt to Dispel Some Fallacies" (JUDAISM, Winter 1993); "A Time to Mourn, A Time to Heal" (Celebration and Renewal, Jewish Publication Society, 1993); "Judaism and a Just Economy" (Tikkun, January/February 1994); "Mishnah as a Response to Tosefta" (The Synoptic Problem in Rabbinic Literature, Brown Judaic Series, 2000); "How Old Is the Haggadah?" (JUDAISM, Winter 2002); "The Challenge Facing the Conservative Movement" (The Jewish Week, July 8, 2005); and "Ordaining Gay Men and Women" (Forward, April 13, 2007).

Shortly after her ordination as a rabbi, she founded Ohel Ayalah, an outreach project to disaffected young Jews, named in memory of her mother. Since 2004, Ohel Ayalah has run free, walk-in High Holy Days services and Passover seders for all ages on the first night and for twenties and thirties on the second. Hundreds of people attend these events each year.

Dr. Hauptman has served as a board member of the Association for Jewish Studies and as rabbinics section coordinator for the last four conferences. She has now been appointed to the AJS Program Committee. She also serves on the board of the Jewish Community Project, an organization that seeks to enhance Jewish life in lower Manhattan. Since 2001, she has been a volunteer chaplain to the Jewish residents at the Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a Catholic facility in lower Manhattan, and runs services there on a regular basis.

In addition to her full-time post at JTS, where she has taught since 1973, Dr. Hauptman is a frequent instructor in the adult-education program at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. She has also served on the faculties of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion; the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano, JTS's campus in Buenos Aires; JTS's Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor supplemental Hebrew high school; the UAHC Kallah; the Wexner Heritage Foundation Summer Institute; LimmudUK and LimmudNY. See a video of Dr. Hauptman teaching Talmud to Project Judaica students in Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Hauptman received a degree in Talmud from the Seminary College of Jewish Studies at JTS (now Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies) and a degree in Economics from Barnard College, and earned an MA and a PhD in Talmud from JTS. In May 2003, she was ordained as a rabbi by the Academy for Jewish Religion.


Published Works


Rereading the Mishnah: A New Approach to Ancient Jewish Texts

Development of the Talmudic Sugya: Relationship Between Tannaitic and Amoraic Sources

Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman's Voice


"Teaching Talmud in Moscow" (The Jewish Week, July 2010)

"Free Services Are the Ticket to Jewish Continuity" (Forward, October 2007)

"Women and Prayer: An attempt to dispell some fallacies" (BNET, January 1993)

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