By James Cohen
Joy Ladin is a professor of English and holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. She is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Her memoir of transition, “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders,” was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award. Her most recent work, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Triangle Award. In 2012, she also became the first openly transgender person named to the Forward 50 list of influential or courageous American Jews. Her essays on gender identity, Judaism and poetry have been widely published, and she has taught and spoken about Judaism and gender identity around the country. She has served on the board of Nehirim, and on the advisory board of the Human Rights Campaign’s Jewish Organizational Equality Index. She has spoken about transgender issues to dozens of Jewish groups and communities, and has been featured on a number of public radio programs, including Krista Tippett’s “On Being.” Ladin is the author of six books of poetry, “The Definition of Joy” (2012), “Coming to Life” (2010), “Psalms” (2010), “Transmigration” (2009), “The Book of Anna” (2006) and “Alternatives to History” (2003), as well as a critical study “Soldering the Abyss: Emily Dickinson and Modern American Poetry” (2010). Her poems and essays have been widely published. Ladin was a finalist for the 2009 Lambda Literary Award. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry and received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. She was also a Fulbright Scholar. Ladin is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Princeton University.