This is Avivah Zornberg's website. To contact her or invite her to speak, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. (back up email: email@example.com) Her next book about Moses will be published by Yale University Press Jewish Lives series in November 2016. You will find here her teaching schedules in Israel and abroad, book reviews, videos and audios. Avivah's next North American lecture tour will be in 2016 from May 6 to June 7. See below for details.
Kirkus Review: “This is not a simple retelling of Numbers but rather a Talmudic commentary of a high order based on artful Hebrew prose and poetry….Zornberg displays her own superior hermeneutic skills as she calls on the teachings of vaunted rabbinic authority, Midrashic tradition and the homilies of Hasidic masters…. A powerful, important textual deconstruction of the mystical fourth book of the Old Testament.”
“Zornberg’s grasp of the rabbinic interpretations of the text (as well as of Jewish philosophy generally) is masterful, and the meat of her work is in relating these interpretations to the spiritual and psychological questions, or bewilderments, evoked by the book of Numbers.” —Publishers Weekly
Jweekly, San Francisco: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/74336/off-the-shelf-new-books-about-the-bible-worth-reading-more-than-once/ Review by Amos Lassen: http://reviewsbyamoslassen.com/?p=35380 Jerusalem Posthttp://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Book-Review-Performer-of-Torah-395995 Amazon Customer Reviews There are not many great commentaries on the Book of Numbers By Anglican Bishop Joel Marcus Johnson on March 2, 2015: There are not many great commentaries on the Book of Numbers, but now comes Avivah Gottleib Zornberg’s “Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers” (Schocken 2015), hot off the press. I have long been an admirer of her work, first with “Genesis: The Beginning of Desire,” thence “The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus.” All three of these should grow to classic importance. I would assume at this point that she may be planning volumes on Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as well, giving us a full set of reflections on the entire Torah. More power to this marvelous literary commentator and philosopher. … But there is something new about this work, making it to stand out. She seems to me to have grown in literary dexterity, making this work far more accessible than those previous, even a joy to read. … First, buy “Bewilderments,” then go read the other two in reverse order, so as to receive the full Avivah impact. Second, I ask you, when was the last time you were jumping up and down to study Numbers? My answer is that you have never realized its historical and literary genius until you read Avivah.
Superb By Grant Barber I had feared that no more volumes by this superb author on the books of the Torah were forthcoming after those on Genesis and Exodus. One of those unexpected surprises that brightens up the day was to find this! Her mastery of her field might be rivaled by other Jewish scholars...I can barely keep up with my own Christian writers, let alone other faiths...but how could any surpass her? Edifying, insightful, encyclopedic...excellence and clarity.
See her BIO page above for a list of further publications.
New Photo courtesy of Joan Roth 2014
Teaching Schedule: Avivah has finished teaching in Jerusalem until after Succoth except for a special lecture on Shavuoth at Beit Avi-Chai 11pm at Beit Avi Chai Ruth: Homeless in the House of Bread In July she will give a special lecture for MATAN. Details to follow. See below for full US lecture tour.
Granddaughter Zohar Leviah on Purim
Itinerary May 2016
Lech lecha: Becoming Abraham We will discuss Abraham as traveler and teacher. Midrashic material offers us a wealth of imagery - from burning castles to vials of perfume to drops of dew - that help us to engage with Abram's quest. What does it mean to become Abraham?
Is redemption possible? Of Women and Mirrors The Egyptian exile is described in mystical sources as the Exile of the Word. If the Israelites are to be released from Egypt, an inner process of recovery will be necessary. Can the traumatic constrictions of a personal world find a new language that will open up larger possibilities?
The Murmuring Deep We will discuss Moses’ speech inhibition as a pivotal issue in the Exodus narrative. What is the nature of this ‘impediment’? We will look at midrashic and hassidic sources, as well as philosophical and psychoanalytic thinking on the role of voice in communication.
‘Axe for the frozen sea within us:’ law and violence After the Revelation at Sinai, civil laws are given – many of them in the form of short narratives that describe how the violence of human aggression is to be met by the violence of the law. We will explore midrashic, hassidic and psychoanalytic sources that deal with the problem of integrating aggression and empathy.
Moses Veiled and Unveiled The anticlimax to the narrative of revelation at Mount Sinai is the catastrophic episode of the Golden Calf. We will explore Moses’ role in this episode: Why does his face radiate light at the end of the narrative?
'Let me see that good land:' The Story of a Human Life
'Moses fails to enter Canaan not because his life is too short but because it is a human life.' (Kafka) Moses' fundamental sense of himself as 'not a man of words' comes to a poignant consummation in the long speeches he makes to the people before he dies. What is his purpose in these speeches, and particularly in his narrative about his desire to 'cross over to the other side'(of the Jordan)?
7. 'And I am a Stranger:' Becoming Ruth
Ruth is a stranger in more senses than one. Who is this unknown woman who is destined to become mother of royalty? What is the process by which she finds her way into a foreign and unwelcoming culture and religious tradition? How does destiny come about?
May 24 #2. Brooklyn Library 7:30pm Meredith Walters | Director, Programs & Exhibitions Brooklyn Public Library firstname.lastname@example.org Congregation Beth Elohim | 274 Garfield Place | Brooklyn, NY 11215 May 25 #1. NYC 7pm Skirball Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center for Jewish Life and Learning at 10 E. 66th Street New York, NY 10065 Phone: 212.507.9584
May 30-31 Detroit #6, #3. email@example.com The lecture on the morning of Tuesday, May 31, 2016, will be held in Handelman Hall at the JCC, West Bloomfield, MI. Morning at 10:00 am. Evening at 7:30 pm
The lecture on the evening of Tuesday, May 31, 2016, will be held at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, 32841 Middlebelt Rd. at 14 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48334
June 2 #3, #7. Long Island Board of Rabbis Date: June 2, 2016. 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm Temple Beth Torah 35 Bagatelle Road Melville, NY 11747
BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND AUTHOR AVIVAH GOTTLEIB ZORNBERG MAKES FIRST PITTSBURGH VISIT TO PRESENT THREE-PART SERIES
Biblical scholar and author Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, Ph.D., will visit Pittsburgh for the first time in June and will present three lectures on significant Jewish topics. The Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and three synagogues will co-sponsor the lectures. Each lecture will be on a different date and at a different site:
“And I Am a Stranger: Becoming Ruth,” 5:30–8:15 p.m., Friday, June 3, co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom and presented at the synagogue, 5915 Beacon St., Pittsburgh 15217
“Lech Lecha: Becoming Abraham,” 4:00–5:15 p.m., Saturday, June 4, co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Partnership Minyan at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, Levinson Hall, 5738 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh 15217
“Is Redemption Possible? Of Women and Mirrors,” 9:30–11:00 a.m., Sunday, June 5, co-sponsored by Temple Sinai and presented at the temple, 5505 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15217
“Avivah Zornberg is an amazing intellect and an extraordinary teacher of Torah,” commented Foundation Scholar Rabbi Danny Schiff, Ph.D. “She always draws huge crowds in Israel. Her debut appearance in Pittsburgh is one you don’t want to miss.”
Ms. Zornberg is the author of “The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis,” for which she received the National Jewish Book Award. Tikkun magazine called this work “a book to be studied … a modern midrash in its own right,” adding “a written text could never live up to the magic of her shiurim (teaching).” Among her other titles is the 2015 release “Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers.”
Born in London, Dr. Zornberg grew up and studied in Glasgow, Scotland, with her rabbi father, who was the head of a rabbinical court. She earned a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge University. After moving to Israel, she began teaching English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem but soon turned her focus to teaching Torah. She has taught Torah in Jerusalem for 30 years. She holds a visiting lectureship at the London School of Jewish Studies.
In Pittsburgh in June, each of Dr. Zornberg’s three lectures will be open to the public. The June 3 lecture at Congregation Beth Shalom will be presented at a cost of $15. Information about “And I Am a Stranger: Becoming Ruth” is available on the Congregation Beth Shalom website at www.bethshalompgh.org/events. The June 4 and June 5 lectures, at the JCC Squirrel Hill and Temple Sinai, respectively, will be presented at no cost. Registration is not required for any of the three lectures. Questions about the presentations may be addressed to Rabbi Dr. Danny Schiff at 412.697.6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, one of 151 independent Federations associated with The Jewish Federations of North America, raises and allocates funds to build community locally, in Israel and around the world. Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation helps donors establish philanthropic funds, endowments, trusts and bequests that address the needs of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and worldwide and create enduring legacies that honor Jewish tradition. For more information, visit www.jfedpgh.org.