Subscribe To our E-Newsletter
Joy Ladin in Conversation with Nurit Shein
Joy Ladin and Nurit Schein will discuss Professor Ladin’s memoir, Through the Door of Life.”
Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. She is a Fulbright Scholar and author of seven books: Through the Door of Life, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and six poetry collections, including Coming to Life, named by The Forward as among the year's best Jewish poetry books.
In 2008, Joy (formerly Jay) made headlines around the world when, after years of teaching at an Orthodox Jewish university as a man, she returned as a woman. In Through the Door of Life, Ladin takes readers on a distinctly Jewish journey through the transition process – a process not just of changing genders, but of creating a new self. From her childhood discovery that the God portrayed in the Torah seemed to share her social problems and the condition that caused them – it's hard to make friends when you don't have a body – to her account of visiting the Wailing Wall first as a woman, then as a man, Ladin's gender identity and Jewish identity are in dialogue with one another – a dialogue that went public when she became the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. With unsparing honesty and surprising humor, Ladin wrestles with both the nuts-and-bolts problems of gender transition, such as how to change from female to male on the way to work, and the Jewish tradition that both clarifies and complicates the larger moral, spiritual and philosophical questions raised by the mismatch between the gender of her body and the gender of her soul.
Nurit Shein is the Executive Director of Mazzoni Center, overseeing its operations and departments in primary health care, mental and behavioral health, and LGBT legal services, as well as HIV/STD testing, food bank and housing subsidies for families and individuals affected by HIV, support groups, outreach and education programs. A native of Israel, Shein served as a career officer in the Israeli Army, working in intelligence, women’s corps, and as commander of the army’s education corps before retiring as a colonel. Prior to her arrival in Philadelphia she was the director of programs for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.