Mira Beth Wasserman’s work as a rabbi and scholar bridges Talmud study, community building, and the pursuit of social justice. Her recent book, Jews, Gentiles, and other Animals: The Talmud after the Humanities (Penn Press, 2017), investigates what it means to be human according to the Talmud. In her current book project, she argues for drawing on Rabbinic literature—the Talmud in particular—as a model for contemporary ethical deliberation.
Rabbi Wasserman is an assistant professor of rabbinic literature and director of the Center for Jewish Ethics at RRC. She is Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Beth Shalom in Bloomington, IN, where she served for over a decade. As rabbi, she facilitated three lay-led minyanim and initiated a full-day Jewish preschool and kindergarten. She also published a children’s book, Too Much of a Good Thing (Kar Ben, 2003), based on Talmudic stories that she shared with her youngest congregants.
Rabbi Wasserman’s doctorate in Jewish Studies is from the University of California at Berkeley. Her rabbinic ordination is from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and she is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Barnard College.
May 14th, 2018 | Season 1 | 22 mins 18 secs
In this episode, Rabbi Mira Wasserman and I discuss Midrash, the way ancient rabbis read scripture in new and creative ways, giving old words new life, meaning and relevance.