Dr. Ora Wiskind
Dr. Ora Wiskind received her B.A. from Northwestern University in Comparative Literature, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Hebrew Literature. Her research interests include Jewish hought and literary studies, Hasidism, and the interface between scriptural exegesis, culture, and hermeneutics. Drawing from a range of disciplines, she seeks to integrate two approaches that are often held to be mutually exclusive: critical treatment of traditional Jewish texts, aided by the relevant academic scholarship, along with sustained attentiveness to the spiritual and experiential dimensions of the topics in question. Her latest book, Hasidic Commentary on the Torah (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization-Liverpool University Press, 2018), a National Jewish Book Award finalist, is a wide-ranging study comprehending 200 years of hasidic homiletics (1749-1943). It draws creatively on modern thought, literary theory, and cultural history to demonstrate the contribution of hasidic teaching to the Jewish hermeneutical tradition.
Ora is associate professor and head of the graduate program in Jewish Studies at Michlalah College, Jerusalem. As an educator and as a scholar, beyond the task of transmitting knowledge, she is committed to engaging with topics that bear immediate relevance to learners – issues that impact on our historical consciousness, personal identity, and religious experience. In research and in teaching, her work is animated by the desire to combine serious discussion of Jewish sources with a mode of inquiry that can enrich the lives of individuals and the community.