Anne Lapidus Lerner

Assistant Professor Emerita of Jewish Literature

Department: Jewish Gender and Women's Studies, Jewish Literature



BJEd, Hebrew College; AB, Radcliffe College; MHL, Hebrew College; AM and PhD, Harvard University

A member of the JTS faculty since 1969, Dr. Lerner was the first woman to serve as a JTS vice chancellor, and thus as one of the highest-ranking women in American Jewish institutional life. She had previously served as dean of the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies, and as associate dean of the now Gershon Kekst Graduate School.

In 2014 she inaugurated the Paula E. Hyman Mentoring Program to provide mentors for emerging scholars in the fields of Jewish and gender studies. The Program is supported by Hebrew Union College, Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Association for Jewish Studies and its Women’s Caucus.   

A pioneer in the field of Jewish women’s studies and founding director of the JTS Jewish Women’s Studies Program (now the Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies Program), Dr. Lerner continues to teach courses on biblical texts and their afterlife in rabbinic and modern Jewish literature, portrayals of women in Jewish literature, and Hebrew and American Jewish poetry. For many years, she led a seminar designed to help first-year rabbinical students develop as rabbis.   

A popular lecturer and scholar-in-residence in a variety of Jewish contexts, both formal and informal, Dr. Lerner was scholar-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University (fall 2011), where she continues as a research associate. During the 2001–2002 academic year, Dr. Lerner served as visiting lecturer and research associate at the Harvard University Divinity School’s Women’s Studies in Religion program. Her community involvement includes the editorial boards of HadassahJudaism, Nashim, and Lilith.    

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Hebrew College (Boston), June 2012
  • JTS Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in The Rabbinical School, 2010 
  • Woman of Distinction, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, November 2002


  • Eternally Eve: A Study of the Image of Eve in the Hebrew Bible, Midrash and Modern Jewish Poetry. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 2007. 
  • Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, edited by Naomi Sokoloff, Anne Lapidus Lerner, and Anita Norich. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1992.   
  • Passing the Love of Women: A Study of Gide’s Saül and Its Biblical Roots. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1980.   
  • “Fruitful Weaving:  Eve and Penelope as Icons in the Poetry of Linda Pastan.” In Gender and Jewish History: Essays in Honor of Paula Hyman. Indiana University Press, 2010.  
  • “Back to the Beginning: An Exploration of the Roles Played by Eve and the Garden of Eden in Modern Poetry by Jewish Women.” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues 19 (Spring 5770/2010): 9–31.   
  • “Rib Redux:  The Essentialist Eve.” In Bringing the Hidden to Light: The Process of Interpretation: Studies in Honor of Stephen A. Geller, edited by Kathryn Kravitz and Diane Sharon, 129–47. Eisenbrauns, 2007.   
  • “Esther Raab,” “Liilth,” and “Francine Klagsbrun.” In Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Paula E. Hyman and Dalia Ofer, CD-ROM. Jerusalem: Shalvi Publishing Ltd., 2007.   
  • “Childhood in the Poetry of Esther Raab” [Hebrew]. In Essays in Hebrew Literature in Honor of Avraham Holtz, edited by Zvia Ben-Yosef Ginor, 159–75. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2003.   
  • “Yehuda Amichai: An Appreciation.” Conservative Judaism 53:1 (Fall 2000): 5–10.   
  • “Lilith” and “Francine Klagsbrun.” In Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Paula E. Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore. New York: Routledge, 1997.   
  • “The Naked Land: Nature in the Poetry of Esther Raab.” In Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing, edited by Judith Baskin, 236–57. Detroit: Wayne State, 1994.   
  • ” ‘A Woman’s Song’: The Poetry of Esther Raab.” In Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, edited by Naomi Sokoloff, Anne Lapidus Lerner, and Anita Norich, 17–38. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1992.      
  • “Lost Childhood in Eastern European Hebrew Literature.” In The Jewish Family: Metaphor and Memory, edited by David Kraemer, 95–112. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.         
  • “On the Rabbinic Ordination of Women.” In The Ordination of Women as Rabbis: Studies and Responsa, edited by Simon Greenberg, 93–106. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1988.   
  • ” ‘My God, Who Is Without Ending‘: Modern Hebrew Literature as a Mode of Religious Quest.” In The Seminary at 100, edited by Nina Beth Cardin and David Wolf Silverman, 231–38. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1987.   
  • “Shabbat ha-Malkah.” Judaism 33:3 (Summer 1984): 300–308.  
  • ” ‘The Making of a Person’: The Vision of Two American Jewish Women Writers.” In Jewish Book Annual (New York, 1981–1982), 39: 41-50. 
  • “‘Who Hast Not Made Me a Man’: The Movement for Equal Rights for Women in American Jewry.” in American Jewish Year Book 1977 (New York, 1977), 77: 3–38.  Also published as a separate pamphlet and in Hebrew translation in Tefutsot Israel 15, nos. 3–4 (December 1977): 11–43.
  • “Revisiting Eve.” CJ: Voices of Conservative Judaism (Summer 2008).   
  • “Pacing Change: The Impact of Feminism on Conservative Synagogues.” In New Jewish Feminism, edited by Elyse Goldstein, 175–85. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2007.   
  • “What Is the Message of Conservative Judaism for Our World?” Proceedings of the [2003] Rabbinical Assembly Convention 64: 278–81.  
  • “We Could Recreate Holy Time: Poetry and Prayer.” Women’s League Outlook 70, no. 1 (Fall 1999): 23–25. 
  • “A Circular Relationship: Tefillin.” Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs Study Guide to Tefillin (June 1999). 
  • “Sukkot: Beyond the Sensory Feast.” JTS Magazine 7, no. 1 (Fall 1997): 2–3.   
  • “A Living Link.” Masoret 5, no. 2 (Winter 1996): 2.  
  • “Status Quo No Longer Applies: An Open Letter to Natan Sharansky.” The Jewish Week, November 22, 1996. 
  • “One Woman’s Spirituality.” Conservative Judaism 48, no. 1 (Fall 1995): 65–70.   
  • “A Place to Pray.” Women’s League Outlook 66, no. 1 (Fall 1995): 21–22.   
  • “A World of Sharing.” Women’s League Outlook 64, no. 4 (Summer 1992): 22–24.   
  • “‘Bind Them as a Sign . . .’ Not for Men Only.” Women’s League Outlook 64, no. 2 (Winter 1993): 13–14.
  • “God-Questing: A Theological Game.” Masoret 2:1 (Spring 1992): 8–9.
  • “In Whose Voice? Commentary on Book of J.” Women’s League Outlook 62, no. 3 (Spring 1992): 13, 34.  
  • Vayakhel-Pekude: Three Kinds of Jewish Leaders.” Long Island Jewish World 19, no. 11 (March 23–29, 1990).   
  • “In God’s Image Was Humanity Created.” Judaism 33, no. 1 (Winter 1984): 34–38.   
  • “Parallel Centers for Jewish Creativity.” Judaism 32, no. 3 (Summer 1983): 280–82.  
  • Ahavah Could Be the Solution.” Review of Robert Gordis, Love and Sex: A Modern Jewish PerspectiveJudaism 27, no. 3 (Summer 1983): 374–76.
  • “Make Mine Semi-Automatic.” The New York Times, op-ed, July 5, 1971.     


  • “Reflections of Eve”
  • “The Search for Meaning in a World of Chaos” 
  • “Hearing Women’s Voices” 
  • “The Many Faces of Israel Reflected in the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai” 
  • “Grappling with Jewish Tradition in the Postmodern World” 
  • “The Akeidah as Paradigm” 
  • “Biblical Women Revisited” 
  • “Conservative Judaism: Past, Present, and Future” 
  • “Women and Judaism: What Has Changed and What Has Not”



Dr. Lerner’s research has focused on the afterlife of biblical characters, particularly women. She explores the ways that both classical midrash and modern literature, particularly poetry, reinterpret the biblical text. She is currently working on a book on the reinterpretation of Sarah.