JTS to Honor Memory and Legacy of Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky

Interfaith Conference to Honor Memory of Noted Scholar

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

September 6, 2007, New York, NY

“For There Is Hope: Gender and the Hebrew Bible,” an interfaith conference to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, will take place from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 21 at The Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) in New York City.

The symposium will address the roles gender plays in the culture, literature, and study of the Hebrew Bible, with particular attention to the impact of Dr. Frymer-Kensky’s impassioned work in these areas to make the Bible relevant to all of its readers. In addition to presentations by nationally renowned Bible scholars, the event will feature a musical tribute by Debbie Friedman, award-winning singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

Committed to fostering meaningful religious experience, Dr. Frymer-Kensky worked to make ancient texts relevant and ethically informative for contemporary readers. She was committed to interfaith dialogue and to discovering humanistic values in ancient texts that would reach and inform a wide audience. 

The faculty will include: Dr. Susan Ackerman, professor of Religion, Dartmouth College; Dr. Mary Boys, professor of Practical Theology, Union Theological Seminary; Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, professor of Bible, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Dr. Stephen Geller, professor of Bible, JTS; Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson, executive vice president, Auburn Theological Seminary; Dr. Lori Lefkovitz, professor of Gender and Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; Dr. Carol Meyers, professor in Religion, Duke University; Liz Swados, award-winning author, musician, director, and composer; and Dr. Jeffrey H. Tigay, professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Frymer-Kensky (1943-2006) was an outstanding scholar of the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. Combining rigorous scholarship and a feminist perspective, she offered new insights into ancient worlds and their texts that are powerfully relevant to a contemporary audience. Her books, which make major contributions to the study of biblical religion, literature, and feminist criticism, include In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth; Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman’s Spiritual Companion, and Reading the Women of the Bible, which won the Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002 and a National Jewish Book Award in 2003. In 2006, the Jewish Publication Society published a collection of her articles, Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism, and she was the first woman to have her work included in JPS's Scholar of Distinction series.

Until her untimely death from breast cancer, Dr. Frymer-Kensky was professor of Hebrew Bible and the History of Judaism in the University of Chicago Divinity School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York, a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature in Bible-Talmud from JTS, and a master’s degree in West Semitics from Yale University, from which she also earned a doctorate in Assyriology and Sumerology. Before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1995, she was director of Biblical Studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at Wayne State University.
“For There Is Hope” is being made possible by the sponsorship of the following institutions:
Auburn Theological Seminary; Beth Hillel Congregation B’nai Emunah, Wilmette, IL; HUC-JIR; Fordham University; JTS; the Sister Fund; UTS; and Women's League for Conservative Judaism. The conference also received support from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago; the Jewish Feminist Research Group; and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Conference organizers include Dr. Amy Kalmanofsky, JTS; Dr. Esther Hamori, UTS; Dr. Karina Martin Hogan, Fordham University; and Dr. Andrea Weiss, HUC-JIR.

Registration is required by October 15. For further information and to register, visit www.hopeconference2007.com

Editors/Reporters: For further information about the “For There Is Hope” conference, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.