Being Transgender, Being Human — Joy Ladin and The Book of Jonah

Special guest, Joy Ladin, joins Liam Hooper and Peterson Toscano for a moving and insightful exploration of the Book of Jonah. Joy Ladin holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University, and, in 2007, became the first (and still only) openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution.

In her book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, Joy writes, “I don’t mean to suggest that the Book of Jonah is about being transgender. The Book of Jonah is about being human. But transgender experience is human experience, and questions transgender people face are questions that we all face. Everyone, transgender or not, has to decide what parts of ourselves we will and will not live. Each of us has to decide when we can’t and when we must sacrifice our individuality for the sake of our families and communities, when we have to be what others count on us to be, and when, like Jonah, we have to live the truths that set us apart from others and reveal to the world what we have only revealed to God.”  (from Soul of the Stranger, page 7. Quoted by Mx. Chris Paige in the fabulous new book, OtherWise Christian—A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation.)

You can study the Torah with Joy Ladin through the TransFaith Institute.  

We are excited to announce that Dr Joy Ladin will be returning to the Transfaith Institute for a 4-session seminar on Wednesdays at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific beginning July 31, 2019!

The LIVE sessions will also be recorded and added to the Ruzuku course room for participant review.

Joy Ladin’s memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award; her recent book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, is a for a Lambda Literary Award and Triangle Award finalist. She has also published nine books of poetry, including, most recently, The Future is Trying to Tell Us Something: New and Selected Poems. Her work has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, and two Hadassah Brandeis Institute Research Fellowships, among other honors. A nationally recognized speaker on trans and Jewish identity, she serves on the Board of Keshet, an organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world.

After the discussion about Jonah, Liam then shares “an other text,” a piece by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

In each episode of Bible Bash Podcast, Peterson and co-host, Liam Michael Hooper, a Trans Bible scholar, take turns presenting the text. They then discuss. In addition, each episode they present another text, a non-Biblical text of note–religious or secular–that may or may not correspond to the Bible text. 

Bible Bash Podcast is a project of Ministries Beyond Welcome

Our theme song is Playbill by The Jellyrox. It is available on iTunes, Spotify, or through Rock Candy Recordings.

To share your questions, comments, requests for passages to be discussed, or suggestions for guests who can talk about texts, email us at

Bible Bash Podcast is part of the Rock Candy Network 

Bible Bash logo was designed by Diana Coe at Crone Communications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.