Laura Levitt is Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies and Gender at Temple University where she has chaired the religion department and directed both the Jewish studies and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies programs. She is just completing The Objects that Remain(Penn State University Press, forthcoming 2020). She is the author of American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust (2007) and Jews and Feminism: The Ambivalent Search for Home(1997). Levitt is an editor of Impossible Images: Contemporary Art After the Holocaust (2003), and Judaism Since Gender (1997). Laura Levitt is an editor with Tracy Fessenden (Arizona State University) and David Harrington Watt (Haverford College) of NYU Press’s North American Religions Series. She is working on a series of new projects that consider the reliquary desires that inform contemporary acts of commemoration and a collection of essay whose working title is, “I and You: Jewish Feminist Writing.”
Life after violence and profound loss requires that we find ways to hold and contain that pain. Relics help us do this. As we wrap them in our words, craft beautiful containers, or place them in vitrines, we keep these memories alive. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing presence in our lives.
First, we must all remember our history and stop the blatant amnesia behind racial and power dynamics in our field…Women and enslaved persons were not a part of the founders’ initial understanding. The same is true for the founding identities of the Society of Biblical Literature.