Reading Jewish Texts in an Age of Climate Change

Painting representing the Noah's ark story, showing a figure of Noah gesturing over animals, with human figures huddling behind him, surrounded by the suggestion of blue waves

Noah’s Ark by Mark Chagall (1966). Via Wikiart.

In the 2020 Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies, Dr. Julia Watts Belser will use classic rabbinic Jewish texts on political violence, imperialism, and disaster to grapple with pressing contemporary questions about climate change and environmental justice.

Bringing disability studies and activism into conversation with queer and feminist theory, these talks will examine how ancient Jewish stories invite us to tangle with grief, confront vulnerability, and re-imagine possibilities for communal survival.

Reading Jewish Texts in an Age of Climate Change:
Rabbinic Stories of Gender, Class, & the Violence of the Unseen

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Kane Hall 210, UW Campus

Reading Jewish Texts in an Age of Climate Change:
The Afterlives of Noah’s Ark – Catastrophe, Disability & the Politics of Survival

Thursday, May 14, 2020, Kane Hall 210, UW Campus

About the speaker

Portrait of Julia Watts Belser, smiling, wearing a crimson blazer and hat, with a rose bush in the backgroundJulia Watts Belser is an associate professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.  Her research centers on gender, ecology, and disability in Talmud and rabbinic literature, as well as Jewish feminist ethics.

She is the author of two scholarly books, Rabbinic Tales of Destruction: Gender, Sex, and Disability in the Ruins of Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Power, Ethics, and Ecology in Jewish Late Antiquity: Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

She has held faculty fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  A rabbi and a longtime advocate for disability and gender justice, her current research examines the critical nexus of climate change, disability, and environmental justice through the prism of Jewish texts.