Rabbi Dr. Wendy Zierler

Advanced Kollel: Executive Ordination, Class of 2021

Zierler

Rabbi Dr. Wendy Zierler, who grew up in Toronto, is Sigmund Falk Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at HUC-JIR in New York. She is the author of Movies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious Conversation (SUNY Press, Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, 2017); And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Hebrew Women’s Writing (Wayne State UP, 2004), and translator / co-Editor with Carole Balin of To Tread on New Ground: Selected Hebrew Writings of Hava Shapiro (Wayne State UP, 2014). She is also co-editor of These Truths We Hold: Judaism in an Age of Truthiness, forthcoming from HUC Press. In 2017 she was appointed Co-Editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, a leading scholarly journal in the field of Jewish Literature. She is excited to share the title of rabbi with the many students she has taught at HUC-JIR.

Available Writings

Title
Type
Category
Topic
Year
The Akeidah Through the Lens of Poetry
Dvar Torah; Multimedia
Holiday; Video Divrei Torah
Rosh Hashana
2021/5781
Rabbi Dr. Wendy Zierler - Maharat's 9th Annual Semikha Ceremony
Multimedia
Graduations
Ninth Semikha Ceremony
June 15, 2021
Sicha Nine ‐ The Art of Translation of Hebrew: Lit., Film & TV
Multimedia
Panels and Discussions
February 7, 2021
Word Arks
Dvar Torah
Bereishit
Noach
2020/5781
Truth on the Mind
Dvar Torah
Bereishit
Chayei Sarah
2018/5779
Beyond Mrs. On
Dvar Torah
Bamidbar
Korach
2019/5779
Listen Up and Hear
Dvar Torah
Devarim
Haazinu
2020/5781

In the News

Title
Publication
Published

Books

September 2017

Movies and Midrash uses cinema as a springboard to discuss central Jewish texts and matters of belief. A number of books have drawn on films to explicate Christian theology and belief, but Wendy I. Zierler is the first to do so from a Jewish perspective, exploring what Jewish tradition, text, and theology have to say about the lessons and themes arising from influential and compelling films. The book uses the method of “inverted midrash”: while classical rabbinical midrash begins with exegesis of a verse and then introduces a mashal(parable) as a means of further explication, Zierler turns that process around, beginning with the culturally familiar cinematic parable and then analyzing related Jewish texts. Each chapter connects a secular film to a different central theme in classical Jewish sources or modern Jewish thought. Films covered include The Truman Show (truth), Memento (memory), Crimes and Misdemeanors (sin), Magnolia (confession and redemption), The Descendants (birthright), Forrest Gump (cleverness and simplicity), and The Hunger Games (creation of humanity in God’s image), among others.