JTS Library Announces Upcoming Book Talks

An All-Women Roster Will Discuss Hope, Feminism, and Education

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089
Email: evglasberg@jtsa.edu

October 27, 2010, New York, NY

The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) will host a series of Library Book Talks over the next few months that promise to be enlightening and thought-provoking.

Naomi Levy Shira Kohn

Rachel Kranson Carol Ingall

The first, on November 18, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., will feature bestselling author Rabbi Naomi Levy, who will speak about her new book, Hope Will Find You. As a rabbi, Naomi Levy frequently offered spiritual guidance to people seeking answers. But when a doctor told her that her young daughter, Noa, had a fatal degenerative disease, Rabbi Levy’s own insights could not prevent her life from unraveling. In Hope Will Find You, she shares her journey and the wisdom she gained. She describes with humor and honesty how she came through a time of uncertainty and fear and learned how to stop waiting for life to begin. A natural and engaging storyteller, she has written a book filled with invaluable lessons for living in the present and for opening the door to an extraordinary future. Rabbi Levy was in the first class of women to enter The Rabbinical School of JTS, and is the founder and leader of Nashuva, the Jewish spiritual outreach movement. She was recently featured in TIME magazine, and has been named one of the top fifty rabbis in America by Newsweek. This program will take place in JTS’s Kripke 306 and will be moderated by Professor Burton Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at JTS.

The second Library Book Talk, on December 6, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. in Kripke 306, is entitled “A Jewish Feminine Mystique? Jewish Women in Postwar America.” It is a discussion between editors Shira Kohn, assistant dean of The Graduate School of JTS, and Rachel Kranson, a postdoctoral research fellow in Yiddish Studies at the libraries of New York University. Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS, will serve as moderator. In The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan—born Betty Naomi Goldstein—struck out against a postwar American culture that pressured women to play the role of subservient housewives. However, Ms. Friedan never acknowledged the fact that, during those years, many American Jewish women, already politically and socially active on the local, national, and international stage, refused to retreat from public life. Now, a Jewish Feminist Mystique?, edited by Hasia R. Diner, Ms. Kohn, and Dr. Kranson, examines how Jewish women sought opportunities and created images that defied the stereotypes and prescriptive ideology of the “feminine mystique.” The editors’ book, focusing on average Jewish women as well as prominent figures, explores the wide canvas upon which American Jewish women made their mark after the Second World War. Ms. Kohn is completing her doctoral dissertation, A Gentlewoman’s Agreement: Jewish Sororities in Postwar America, at New York University. Dr. Kranson holds a master’s degree in Jewish Women’s Studies from JTS and her doctoral dissertation, Grappling with the Good Life: Jewish Anxieties over Affluence in Postwar America, studied the ways in which American Jews made sense of their rapid upward mobility in the decades after WWII.

In the third Library Book Talk, on January 31, 2011, in Kripke 306 at 7:30 p.m., Professor Carol Ingall, the Dr. Bernard Heller Professor of Jewish Education at JTS, will speak about the new book she has edited, The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910–1965. Dr. David Kraemer will be the moderator. The conventional history of Jewish education in the United States focuses on the contributions of Samson Benderly and his male disciples. This volume tells a different story—the story of women who either influenced or were influenced by Benderly or his closest friend, Mordecai Kaplan. In ten profiles, the contributors illuminate the impact of these often unheralded women who introduced American Jews to Hebraism and Zionism and laid the foundation for contemporary experiential Jewish education. Taken together, these portraits highlight the important and hitherto unexamined contributions of women to the development of American Jewish education, which was an integration of American progressive education with Hebrew culture and Jewish nationalism. Dr. Ingalls’ areas of expertise are curriculum and instruction, moral education, and the history of American Jewish education.

Admission to all of the JTS Library book talks is free, but reservations are required. Please email Hector Guzman at heguzman@jtsa.edu for more information or to register.