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Lori Lefkovitz

Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies; Director of Jewish Studies Program; Director of Humanities Center; Professor of English

Lori Hope Lefkovitz is the author of In Scripture: The First Stories of Jewish Sexual Identity (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010), which was named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the category of Women’s Studies. Her awards include a Fulbright professorship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an academic fellowship at the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis, a Woodrow Wilson dissertation fellowship in the Women’s Studies Division, and a Golda Meir post-doctoral fellowship at Hebrew University. She was the founding director of Kolot, the Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she held a chair in Gender and Judaism, and is the founding executive editor of the website, ritualwell.org. Professor Lefkovitz holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MA and PhD from Brown University. Her books include: Shaping Losses: Cultural Memory and the Holocaust (with Julia Epstein), Textual Bodies: Changing Boundaries of Literary Representation, and The Character of Beauty in the Victorian Novel. She is widely published in the fields of literature, critical theory, and Jewish feminist studies, serves on editorial, professional, and community boards, and lectures widely in academic and Jewish contexts.

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, 2012
  • Finalist, National Jewish Book Award for In Scripture, 2010
  • Fulbright Professorship (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 2003
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (University of Pennsylvania), 2005
  • Honorable Mention, Pushcart Prize, “Inherited Memory,” Kenyon Review, 1997
  • Fellow, Philadelphia Institute for Psychoanalysis, 1994-1996
  • Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Grant, 1983

Books

  • In Scripture: The First Stories of Jewish Sexual Identities (2010)
  • Shaping Losses: Cultural Memory and the Holocaust (2001, ed. with Julia Epstein)
  • Textual Bodies: Changing Boundaries of Literary Representation (edited, 1997)
  • The Character of Beauty in the Victorian Novel (1987)

Articles

  • “The Sense of Beshert: Contingency in Nicole Krauss’s History of  Love and Dara Horn’s The World to Come for MLA Options for Teaching Jewish American Literature (MLA series) edited by Rachel Rubinstein and and Roberta Rosenberg, 2020
  • “In the Spaces Between,” a multimedia conversation, Qorbanot, edited by Alisha Kaplan and Toby Kahn, SUNY Press, 2020
  • “Invisible Ink: The Limits of Recovery,” with Julia Epstein. In Translated Memories; Transgenerational Perspectives in Literature on the Holocaust. Edited by Bettina Hofmann and Ursula Reuter. Lexington Books, 2020
  • “Kolot”; “Deborah Waxman”; (forthcoming) encyclopedia entries for Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia, JWA
  • “Patriarchy: Undermined at its Origins,” AJS Perspectives, April 2019
  • “Not a Man: Joseph and the Character of Masculinity in Judaism and Islam” Gender in Judaism and Islam: Common Lives Uncommon Heritage. Edited by Firoozeh Kashani-Sabat and Beth S. Wenger, NYU Press, 2015
  • “In Medias Res: Innovation, Interruption, and the Jewish Story,” Festschrift for Gail Reimer, 2014
  • The Challenge of Interdisciplinarity: A Conversation about Introductory Courses to Jewish Studies” (with David Shneer and Shelly Tenenbaum), Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 32:4, summer 2014
  • The Genesis of Gender as Transgression,” Jewish Quarterly Review, Summer 2011
  • “‘Demand a Speaking Part!’ The Character of the Jewish Father,” in Answering a Question with a Question: Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Jewish Thought. Edited Lewis Aron and Libby Hemik, Academic Studies Press, 2010
  • “Balak,” in Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Drinkwater, Lesser, and Shmeer, NYU Press, 2009.
  • “The Politics and Aesthetics of Jewish Women’s Ritual” (with Rona Shapiro) in The New Jewish Feminism. Edited by Elyse Goldstein, Jewish Lights, 2009
  • “Judaism, Body Image, and Food,” in Jewish Choices/Jewish Voices, Jewish Publication Society, 2008
  • “Prayer,” in The Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, The Gale Group, 2007
  • “Reflections on The Future of Jewish Feminism and Jewish Feminist Scholarship,” “Ritualwell.org: Loading the Virtual Canon” (with Rona Shapiro), Nashim, 2005
  • “Miriam: A Reconstruction” The Women’s Passover Companion, Jewish Lights, 2003
  • “Passing as a Man: Narratives of Jewish Gender Performance,” Narrative, 2002
  • “Delicate Beauty Goes Out: Adam Bede’s Transgressive Heroines,” Kenyon Review, 1987; rpt. Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism (NCLC-89) ed. S. Dewsbury, The Gale Group, 2000
  • “Inherited Holocaust Memory and the Ethics of Ventriloquism” (special mention for Pushcart Prize 1999), Kenyon Review, 1997
  • “Eavesdropping on Angels and Laughing at God: Theorizing a Subversive Matriarchy,” in Gender and Judaism, NYU Press, 1995
  • “Leah Behind the Veil: The Divided Matriarchy in Bible, Midrash, Dickens, Freud, and Woody Allen,” Hebrew University Studies in Literature and the Arts (vol. 18, 1990); rvsd. and rpt. Sister To Sister, ed. Patricia Foster, Doubleday, 1995
  • “Sacred Screaming: Childbirth in Judaism,” in Lifecycles ed. Debra Orenstein, Jewish Lights, 1994
  • “Antigone Anxiety: Manly Girls, Emasculated Men and the Transcendence of Gender,” in Gender, Race, and Identity, edited by Craig Barrow et al., Southern Humanities Press, 1993
  • “Her Father’s Eyes, Staff, and Support: The Sage Author as Phallic Sister in Nineteenth-Century Fiction,” in Victorian Sages and Cultural Discourse: Renegotiating Gender and Power, edited by Thais Morgan, Rutgers Univ. Press, 1990
  • “The Subject of Writing Within the Margins,” in Reorientations: Critical Theories and Pedagogies, edited by Bruce Henricksen and Thais Morgan, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1990
  • “Creating the World: Structuralism and Semiotics,” in Contemporary Literary Theory, edited by G. Douglas Atkins and Laura P. Morrow, Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1989
  • “Coats and Tales: Joseph Stories and Jewish Masculinity,” in A Mensch Among Men: Explorations in Jewish Masculinity, ed. Harry Brod, Crossing Press, 1988

Courses

Course catalog
  • Explores the basic features of Judaism in the ancient, rabbinic, and modern periods. Employs a historical critical approach to the formative texts and their interpreters. Analyzes Jewish practices within specific historical contexts and discusses the ways in which practices relate to the texts and history of Judaism. Examines the rich varieties of Jewish cultural expressions.

  • Surveys Jewish literature from the late modern (1880–1948) and contemporary (1948–present) periods. Considers themes of immigration and cross-cultural influences and issues of religious, ethnic, and gender identity. Emphasizes American and European literatures to begin to define an international Jewish literary canon, including Yiddish poets and playwrights, Russian Jewish writers, and modern writers.

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