Interdisciplinary New Volume on the Biblical Book of Ruth Offers Informative and Inspiring Range of Reflections

In Gleanings: Reflections on Ruth, Rabbi Dr. Stuart W. Halpern, senior advisor to the provost, in his 15th-edited work of Jewish scholarship, has assembled an international all-star lineup of contemporary scholars, educators and community leaders offering their readings of the Book of Ruth through the prisms of their respective academic interests and professional fields.

While Ruth, read by Jews throughout the world on the upcoming festival of Shavuot [Weeks], may appear to be a simple but uplifting story of one family’s journey of survival from the plains of ancient Moab to the fields of Bethlehem, a deeper look reveals how this ancient Jewish text can enlighten, educate and inspire. After all, its themes—including peoplehood, immigration, friendship, the struggle to overcome trauma and elder care—are deeply relevant today. The topics of these interpretive essays range from poetry to populism, feminism to family obligations, social work to American history, conversion to contemporary asylum law, religious freedom to the hoped-for messianic redemption.

Sponsored by the Michael Scharf Publication Trust of Yeshiva University Press and published in conjunction with Maggid Books, an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem, Gleanings features, in addition to a chapter by Dr. Halpern on genealogy and family storytelling and another on the philosophy of friendship, original contributions from Dr. Ronnie Perelis (Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Abraham and Jelena (Rachel) Alcalay, associate professor of Sephardic studies and the director of the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Program for International Affairs), Rabbi Zvi Romm (instructor of Talmud in the Isaac Breuer College of Hebraic Studies), Rabbi Shalom Carmy (assistant professor of Jewish studies and philosophy at Yeshiva College), Dr. Seamus O’Malley (assistant professor of English at Stern College for Women), Lindsay Nash (clinical assistant professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law), Dr. Danielle Wozniak (Dorothy and David Schachne Dean of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work), Rabbi Saul Berman (professor of Jewish studies at Stern College for Women), and YU alumni Dr. Yael Ziegler, Dr. Malka Simkovich, Rabbi Dr. Zev Eleff, Rabbi Dov Lerner, and Alex Maged. Other writers in the volume include Sami Rohr Prize-winning author Ilana Kurshan and renowned Israeli Bible scholar Dr. Jonathan Grossman of Bar-Ilan University.

Dr. Halpern, whose 16th book project, a source reader of foundational American documents inspired by the Hebrew Bible titled Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land: The Hebrew Bible in the United States, is on the way, is responsible for developing educational and communal initiatives that bridge Torah and general studies at YU. He sees Gleanings as a unique contribution to the library of interpretive commentaries on Ruth, in that it offers “insightful textual interpretation alongside theoretical and practical frameworks and keen social analyses demonstrating how our perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of our era, and on the Book of Ruth itself, can be enhanced through the synthesis of Torah and general wisdom.”

Gleanings: Reflections on Ruth is available for purchase at and wherever Jewish books are sold.

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