Rabbi Gail Labovitz

Professor, Rabbinic Studies
glabovitz [at] aju.edu
(310) 440-1525
gail labowitz headshot

    PhD, Jewish Theological Seminary

    Rabbinic Ordination, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

    M.A., Jewish Theological Seminary of America

    B.S., Applied Behavioral Science, New York University

    Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD is Professor of Rabbinic Literature and former Chair of the Department of Rabbinics for the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. She also enjoys serving as the Ziegler School’s faculty advisor for “InterSem,” a dialogue program for students training for religious leadership at Jewish and Christian seminaries around the Los Angeles area. Dr. Labovitz formerly taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) and the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York. Prior to joining the faculty at AJU, Dr. Labovitz worked as the Senior Research Analyst in Judaism for the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project at Brandeis University, and as the Coordinator for the Jewish Women’s Research Group, a project of the Women’s Studies Program at JTS. Rabbi Labovitz is also ​the author of two responsa adopted by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly​, ​one on whether a person who is unable to fast for medical reasons may nonetheless serve as a leader of communal prayer on Yom Kippur ​and the other on alternatives for egalitarian marriage.


    Fellowships and Awards:

    Hadassah Brandeis Institute (Brandeis University) – Scholar in Residence (“Female Interpreters of Religious Law: Women’s Leadership as Clergy, Educators, Advisors and Judges”), Spring 2017

    Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (University of Pennsylvania)/Taube Center for Jewish Studies (Stanford University) – Fellow, Summer Collaboratory (The Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud), 2015

    Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis University – Research Award, 2002


    Massekhet Mo’ed Qatan: Text, Translation, and Commentary (Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud), under contract, Mohr Siebeck

    Marriage and Metaphor: Constructions of Gender in Rabbinic Literature, Lexington Books (2009)

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    Articles and Chapters

    Translation and Annotation, tractates Mo’ed Qatan and Qiddushin, The Mishnah: An Annotated Translation, (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

    “‘Teach Your Daughters Wailing’: mMo’ed Qatan 3:8-9 and the Gendering of Tannaitic Funeral Practice,” The Practice and Materiality of Jewish Death (Eisenbrauns: Duke Judaic Studies, forthcoming)

    “With Righteousness and With Justice: To Create Equitable Jewish Divorce, Create Equitable Jewish Marriage,” Nashim 31 (2017)

    “Presumptuous Halachah: On Determining the Status of Relationships Outside Jewish Marriage,” Studies in Jewish Civilization 27: Mishpachah: The Jewish Family in Tradition and Transition (Purdue University Press, 2016)

    “Behold You Are [Fill in the Blank] to Me: Contemporary Legal and Ritual Approaches to Qiddushin,” Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families Today: Paradoxes of the Gender Revolution (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England; 2015)

    “A Man Spinning on his Thigh: Gender, ‘Positive Time Bound Commandments,’ and Ritual Fringes (mMoed Qatan 3:4),” Nashim 28 (2015)

    Mipnei Tikkun ha-Olam in Tannaitic Literature: The Challenges of Law, Justice, and the Social Welfare,” Tikkun Olam: Judaism Engages with a Broken World (New Paradigm Matrix Publishing, 2015)

    “Rabbis and ‘Guerrilla Girls’: A Bavli Motif of the Female (Counter) Voice in the Rabbinic Legal System,” Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal 10:2 (2013),

    “The Rabbinic Origins of Klal Yisrael,” Conservative Judaism 63:4 (2013)

    “By Any Other Name?  Kiddushin, Same-Sex Relationships, and Halakhic Discourse in the Liberal Movements,” Jewish Law Association Studies XXIII (2012; Fordham Conference Volume)

    “More Slave Women, More Lewdness: Freedom and Honor in Rabbinic Constructions of Female Sexuality,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 28:2 (2012)

    “‘Even Your Mother and Your Mother’s Mother’: Rabbinic Literature on Women’s Usage of Cosmetics,” Nashim 23 (2012)

    “The Omitted Adornment: Women and Men Mourning the Destruction,” Introduction to Seder Qodashim. A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud V (Mohr Siebeck, 2012)

    “‘The Language of the Bible and the Language of the Rabbis’: A Linguistic Look at Kiddushin, Part 1” and “‘He Forbids Her to All’: A Linguistic Look at Kiddushin, Part 2,” Conservative Judaism 63:1 and 63:2 (2011)

    “Engendering Halakhah: Rachel Adler’s B’rit Ahuvim and the Quest to Create a Feminist Halakhic Praxis,” Revisioning Ritual: Jewish Traditions in Transition (The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2011)

    “Rabbis and ‘Guerrilla Girls’: Thematizing the Female (Counter) Voice in the Rabbinic Legal System,” The Journal of Textual Reasoning 6:2 (2011)

    “Of Proper and Unrestrained Men: Textual Ambiguity and the Reading of Law, Narrative, and Desire in the Babylonian Talmud,” Hebrew Union College Annual, 79 (2008)

    “The Purchase of His Money: Slavery and the Ethics of Jewish Marriage,” Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

    “Heruta’s Ruse: What We Mean When We Talk About Desire,” The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (New York University Press, 2009)

    “Assent to Ascent: Halakhic Negotiations of Exile, Marriage and Gender,” Jewish Law Association Studies XVIII (2008)

    “Is Rav’s Wife ‘a Dish’? Food and Eating Metaphors in Rabbinic Discourse of Sexuality and Gender Relations,” Studies in Jewish Civilization 18: Love—Ideal and Real—in the Jewish Tradition (Creighton University Press, 2008)

    “The Scholarly Life—The Laboring Wife: Gender, Torah, and the Family Economy in Rabbinic Culture,” Nashim, 13 (2007)

    “‘These Are the Labors’: Constructions of the Woman Nursing Her Child in the Mishnah and Tosefta,” Nashim, 3 (2000)

    “Arguing for Women in Talmudic Literature,” Shofar, 14:1 (1995)

    Reviews and Entries

    “Marriage | Judaism | Second Temple and Hellenistic Judaism,” “Marriage | Judaism | Rabbinic Judaism,” and “Monogamy, Bigamy and Polygamy | Judaism | Rabbinic Judaism,” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (De Gruyter, forthcoming)

    Entry on “‘In Your Blood, Live: Re-visions of a Theology of Purity,’ by Rachel Adler,” The New Jewish Canon (forthcoming)

    Review of Slandering the Jew: Sexuality and Difference in Early Christian Texts, by Susanna Drake, H-Net Reviews (2015)

    Review of Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage: Beyond the Sanctification of Subordination, by Melanie Landau, Religion and Gender 4:1 (2014)

    Review of Hermeneutics of Holiness: Ancient Jewish and Christian Notions of Sexuality and Religious Community, by Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Journal for the Study of Judaism 45:1 (2014)

    Qiddushin, Marriage, and Egalitarian Relationships: Making New Legal Meanings,” Association for Jewish Studies Perspectives (Spring 2013)

    Review of Fertility and Jewish Law: Feminist Perspectives on Orthodox Responsa Literature, by Ronit Irshai, Lilith 38:1 (2013)

    “The Rabbinic Period,” Walking With History (The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, 2012)

    “Marriage and Marriage Customs,” The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

    “Thoughts on Sacred Attunement” (“A Conservative Judaism Forum: Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology”), Conservative Judaism 62:3-4 (2011)

    “When Power is Resisted” (symposium essay), Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices -- Power (The Jewish Publication Society, 2009)

    “Feminism and Jewish Law in the Conservative Movement,” The New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2009)

    Review of Sages and Commoners in Late Antique ’Ereẓ Israel: A Philological Inquiry into Local Traditions in Talmud Yerushalmi, by Stuart S. Miller, Hebrew Studies, 49 (2008)

    Post-Biblical Interpretations, Vayishlach and Acharei Mot, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (URJ Press, 2008)

    “Adultery in Judaism” and “Divorce in Judaism,” Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions (ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007)

    “God in the Talmud,” Walking With God (The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, 2007)

    “Hauptman, Judith” and “Study, Women and,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Macmillan Reference USA, Keter Publishing House, 2006)

    Review of Menstrual Purity: Rabbinic and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender, by Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Association for Jewish Studies Review, 27:2 (2003)

    “Consent, Agency, and the Semantics of Sexuality in the Babylonian Talmud,” Feminist Sexual Ethics Project

    “Ketubbah” and “Conservative Judaism,” The Reader’s Guide to Judaism (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000)

    Review of Tasting the Dish: Rabbinic Rhetorics of Sexuality, by Michael Satlow, Hebrew Studies, 41 (2000)

    Review of Judaism Since Gender, edited by Miriam Peskowitz and Laura Levitt, Bridges, 8:1-2 (2000)

    Blog Entries

    Shma S Blog 2012-2013:









    Essays for the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project, Brandeis University, 2002-2003

    Gender Segregation in Rabbinic Law–Yichud 

    Same-Sex Marriage

    Female Homoerotic Sexual Activity – Sources

    Responsa, Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (Rabbinical Assembly) 

    The Non-Fasting Shaliah Tzibbur on Yom Kippur, adopted May 30, 2012

    THE PURCHASE OF HIS MONEY: SLAVERY AND THE ETHICS OF JEWISH MARRIAGE, presented at The Feminist Sexual Ethics Project, conference on "Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious & Sexual Legacy," 2006

    Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, Brandeis University., conference on "Teaching Rabbinic Literature: Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy; Respondent to Steven Fraade, "Teaching Halakha and Aggada in Combination".

    With Righteousness and Justice: Creating a Connection Between Equitable Marriage and Equitable Divorce inn Jewish Law, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Scholar-In-Residence, March 15, 2017.