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Faculty and Fellow Profiles

Yedida  Eisenstat

Yedida Eisenstat

Affiliated Fellow, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

Areas of Expertise

Jewish Biblical Interpretation, Jewish Law

    Eisenstat is a specialist in Jewish biblical interpretation who explores the history and development of Jewish law both as textual exegesis and as ethical expression from antiquity to the present. She studies historical conceptions of law in Judaism and how these impact contemporary Jewish legal questions.

     Her current book project, An Apology for the Law: Rashi’s Torah Commentary in Context examines this canonical Jewish text as a defense of Rabbinic Judaism and its enduring commitment to “the Law.” Her study shows that Rashi’s primary motivation in writing this commentary was to sustain Jewish faith and commitment to Jewish law and practice as Jews came into increasing contact with Christianity, which rejected “the Law.” 

     As an inaugural Jewish Theological Seminary fellow from 2014-2017, Eisenstat lectured on the Jewish legal process across the contemporary Jewish denominational spectrum, as well as diverse topics in contemporary Jewish law such as reproductive ethics, feminism, homosexuality, and euthanasia.

     Eisenstat holds a PhD in the history of Jewish Scriptural Interpretation from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She also holds an MA in the Humanities with a concentration in Religion, Culture & Values and an Honors BA in History, both from York University. She has held appointments in the Department of Religion and the Program in Jewish Studies at Colgate University and in the Department of Humanities and Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. She serves on the North America Committee of the Jewish Law Association.