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Reading some of the best-known Torah stories through the lens of transgender experience, Joy Ladin explores fundamental questions about how religious texts, traditions, and the understanding of God can be enriched by transgender perspectives, and how the Torah and trans lives can illuminate one another. Drawing on her own experience and lifelong reading practice, Ladin shows how the Torah, a collection of ancient texts that assume human beings are either male or female, speaks both to practical transgender concerns, such as marginalization, and to the challenges of living without a body or social role that renders one intelligible to others—challenges that can help us understand a God who defies all human categories. These creative, evocative readings transform our understanding of the Torah’s portrayals of God, humanity, and relationships between them.
About the Author
Joy Ladin holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University.
“This heartfelt, difficult work will introduce Jews and other readers of the Torah to fresh, sensitive approaches with room for broader human dignity.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
— Publishers Weekley, starred review
"Taken together, these chapters provide groundbreaking and vitally important readings of the Torah that have transformative potential for transgender and queer people as well as all others."
— Journal of the American Academy of Religion
“For me, the best Torah and the better life come from a wrestle and a dance between a superbly sensitive human being in the right-now, and the ancient text. Ladin has done this in her transparent exploration of how her own Trans life, through joy and pain, has brought her new insights into Torah and into life that open both of them more fully. I found myself dancing in mind and heart and spirit as I read. Hallelu-Yah!”
— Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center and author of Godwrestling—Round 2
2020 Over the Rainbow Non-Fiction Longlist
— Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association