Joy Ladin, author of The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah From a Transgender Perspective, sat down with Michele Kirichanskaya of GeeksOut to speak about her writing, career, and relationship to Judaism as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Speaking with Kirichanskaya, Ladin called The Soul of the Stranger “a book of intimate theology that grew out of a lifetime of thinking about and talking with God.” She continued: “I wanted the book to demonstrate that, contrary to what many think, trans experience is not opposed to religious experience or even religious tradition, that, as in my life, each could sustain and illuminate the other.”
The Soul of the Stranger explores fundamental questions about how religious texts, traditions, and the understanding of God can be enriched by transgender perspectives, and how the Torah and trans lives can illuminate one another.
About the Author
Joy Ladin holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University.
More about the book
Reading some of the best-known Torah stories through the lens of transgender experience, Joy Ladin explores fundamental questions about how religious texts, traditions, and the understanding of God can be enriched by transgender perspectives, and how the Torah and trans lives can illuminate one another.
Drawing on her own experience and lifelong reading practice, Ladin shows how the Torah, a collection of ancient texts that assume human beings are either male or female, speaks both to practical transgender concerns, such as marginalization, and to the challenges of living without a body or social role that renders one intelligible to others—challenges that can help us understand a God who defies all human categories.
These creative, evocative readings transform our understanding of the Torah’s portrayals of God, humanity, and relationships between them.