Rebecca Alpert

Author: Rebecca Alpert

Profile: Rabbi Rebecca Trachtenberg Alpert, better known as Rebecca Alpert is an American professor of Jewish American religious history. She is born in Brooklyn, New York, United States. She completed her education at Erasmus Hall High School, Barnard College, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and attained the PhD degree at Temple University. She got her rabbinical training at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


She has been one of the first congregational women rabbis. She states that, a Sabbath prayer book has transformed her beliefs. God is referred to as ‘She’ in this prayer book (Siddur Nishim). Sexuality in Judaism is her main speciality. Until 1987 she was the Dean of Students at the RRC and also taught courses in Holocaust Studies at Rutgers University. Besides this she has served in a number of capacities at the Temple University, as Director of Program in Women’s Studies, Director of Adult Programs and lastly a faculty member in the departments of women’s studies and religion.


Her teachers including the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Mordecai Kaplan and Elaine Pagels are responsible in shaping her thinking about these issues related to race, gender and sexuality. In the year 1986 she came out as a lesbian, divorced Joel Alpert, her husband and became partners with Christie Balka.


Writing style: Rebecca Alpert’s research has focussed mainly on expounding and explains the place of lesbians and gays in the religious history of the Jews, the Reconstructionist tradition and the relationships between blacks, Jews and sports during the years 1930-1950. Her main focus is on issues related to sexuality, gender and race.


Published Texts:

1985 – Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach

1997 – Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition

2001 – Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation

2008 – Whose Torah?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Judaism

2011 – Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball

2015 – Religion and Sports: An Introduction and Case Studies

Articles on the Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner by Rebecca Alpert

The Life and Thought of Tehilla Lichtenstein

Voices of the Religious Left: A Contemporary Sourcebook

Gods, Games and Globalization: New Perspectives on Religion and Sport


Awards and Acknowledgements:

Lambda Literary Award for Spirituality/Religion

Nominated for the Lambda Literary Award for Non-fiction Books/Anthologies

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