(1943 - )
Known in particular for her reinterpretation
of talmudic sources along feminist lines, Judith Hauptman
has spent her professional life engaged not only in the study
of women's roles in Judaic thought, but also in an evaluation
of the social and ethical norms of the rabbinic period that
served to shape the outlines of a traditional faith passed
down through the ages. Dr. Hauptman has also become acclaimed
for her synoptic studies a specialized area of talmudic research in which related texts are examined for their implications
about the history of Jewish law. She does groundbreaking
work in attempting to recover the form and substance of ancient
Dr. Hauptman applies her insights to understanding the relevance
of ancient sources to modern Judaism and to precipitating societal change. Over the years, her
activist orientation has led her, for example, to call for
the ordination of women by the Conservative movement and
for eliminating discrimination against women in divorce law,
both Jewish and secular.
A popular lecturer and prolific writer, Dr.
Hauptman has published extensively. Among
her most important articles are "Women
in the Conservative Synagogue," in Daughters
of the King: Women and the Synagogue (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society, 1992); "Abortion:
Where We Stand" (United Synagogue Review,
Spring 1990); "A Time to Mourn, A Time
to Heal" (Celebration and Renewal, Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society, 1993); "Conservative
Judaism: The Ethical Challenge of Jewish Feminism"
(The Americanization of the Jews, New York:
New York University Press, 1995); "Judaism
and a Just Economy," (Tikkun, January/February
1994); and "Mishnah as a Response to
Tosefta" (The Synoptic Problem in Rabbinic
Literature, Shaye J.D. Cohen, Brown Judaic
Series, 2000). Her books include Development
of the Talmudic Sugya: Relationship Between
Tannaitic and Amoraic Sources (Brown Judaic
Series, 1987) and Rereading the Rabbis: A
Woman's Voice (Westview, 1998).
She is currently writing a book on the Mishnah and the Tosefta, two early rabbinic works. Her main argument
is that the Mishnah was not the first code of Jewish law
to follow the Bible, but a reworking of an even earlier collection
now embedded in the Tosefta. This approach will lead to new,
more nuanced interpretations of the Mishnah.
In addition to her full-time post at the Jewish Theological
Seminary, 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;
City College of New York; the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano,
JTS's campus in Buenos Aires; JTS's Rebecca and Israel Ivry
Prozdor supplemental Hebrew high school; the UAHC Kallah
at Brandeis University and the Wexner Heritage Foundation
Summer Institute in Lake Tahoe, California, and has studied
at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Dr. Hauptman received a degree in Talmud
from the Seminary College of Jewish Studies
at JTS (now Albert A. List College) and a
degree in economics from Barnard College and
earned an MA and a PhD in Talmud from JTS.
After serving as the Rabbi Philip R. Alstat
Professor of Talmud for five years, Dr. Hauptman
recently became the first to hold the E. Billi
Ivry Chair of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture.
Jewish Theological Seminary