Rabbi Judith Hauptman, PhD, JTS professor, scholar, spiritual leader, author
Shabbat morning Topic:Expanding the Definition of Jewish Mother
As is well-known, a child born of a Jewish mother is deemed Jewish at birth. But what is the status of a Jewish embryo that is brought to term by a non-Jewish surrogate carrier? Is such a child Jewish at birth or need such a child undergo conversion? We will examine several Talmudic texts that argue that Jewish identity is conferred at conception.
Dr. Judith Hauptman is the E. Billi Ivry Professor (emerita) of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She is the author of four scholarly books and numerous articles. Her two main areas of inquiry are: how did the disparate teachings of many rabbis, over many centuries, coalesce into the single text of the Talmud, and how did the rabbis of the Talmud view women, their role and legal status. Her newest volume, The Stories They Tell, Halakhic Anecdotes in the Babylonian Talmud (Gorgias Press 2022), argues that a careful reading of short anecdotes about Talmudic rabbis shows that as they carried out the law, they modified it.