Dr. Eitan Fishbane is Associate Professor of Jewish Thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses on Jewish mysticism and spirituality to rabbinical, graduate, and undergraduate students. Professor Fishbane is the author or editor of five books, including: As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist (Stanford University Press) and The Sabbath Soul: Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time (Jewish Lights Publishing). Leading scholars of mysticism have hailed Fishbane’s As Light Before Dawn as “superb, dazzling, and erudite”; prominent rabbis have praised The Sabbath Soul as “moving, inspiring, and deeply poetic.” His scholarship has been recognized through awards from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Most recently, Dr. Fishbane’s Shadows in Winter: A Memoir of Love and Loss (Syracuse Library of Modern Jewish Literature) was named one of the best Jewish books of 2011 by Jewish Ideas Daily. He is currently at work on a new book, entitled The Poetics of the Zohar, which will be published by Oxford University Press. In addition to his scholarly publications, Dr. Fishbane’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, The Jewish Week, and The Forward; he has been interviewed on ABCNews.com; in The Wall Street Journal; People Magazine; and Ha’aretz. Dr. Fishbane is a regular scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at congregations across North America. He received his PhD and B.A., summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.
Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, The Jewish Theological Seminary (2013— ) Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought, The Jewish Theological Seminary (2006—2013) Assistant Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion (2003-2006) Visiting Instructor in Religion, Carleton College (2002-2003)
Ph.D. (2003) Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) Dissertation awarded the Nahum and Anne Glatzer Prize for Outstanding Achievement Graduate study, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1998-99)
B.A. (1997), summa cum laude, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University Undergraduate study, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1995-96)
As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist (Stanford University Press, 2009) The Poetics of the Zohar (under contract with Oxford University Press) The Sabbath Soul: Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011) Shadows in Winter: A Memoir of Love and Loss (Syracuse Library of Modern Jewish Literature, 2011) Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010), co-edited with Lawrence Fine and Or Rose Jewish Renaissance and Revival in America (Brandeis University Press, 2011), co-edited with Jonathan Sarna
"Sacred Time and Mystical Consciousness: The Sabbath in Hasidic Thought," near complete 65p essay for an edited volume on holiness in Jewish Thought.
"The Shape of Genre: Between Narrative and Exegesis in the Zohar," forthcoming in Y. Liebes, M. Hellner-Eshed, and J. Bennaroch, eds., Ha-Sippur ha-Zohari (Jerusalem: Makhon Ben Zvi).
“Perceptions of Greatness: Constructions of the Holy Man in Shivḥei ha-Ari,” Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts (2012).
“The Zohar: Masterpiece of Jewish Mysticism” in Frederick Greenspahn, ed., Jewish Mysticism: New Insights and Scholarship (New York: New York University Press, 2011).
“The Scent of the Rose: Drama, Fiction, and Narrative Form in the Zohar,” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History (Spring 2010).
“Representation and the Boundaries of Realism: Reading the Fantastic in Zoharic Fiction,” Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts (2010).
“A Chariot for the Shekhinah: Identity and the Ideal Life in Sixteenth Century Kabbalah,” Journal ofReligious Ethics 37:3 (2009): 385-418.
“The Speech of Being, the Voice of God: Phonetic Mysticism in the Kabbalah of Asher ben David and his Contemporaries,” The Jewish Quarterly Review 98:4 (2008): 485-521.
“Jewish Mystical Hermeneutics: On the Work of Moshe Idel,” Journal of Religion 85:1 (January 2005): 94-103.
“Authority, Tradition, and the Creation of Meaning in Medieval Kabbalah: Isaac of Acre’s Illuminationof the Eyes,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 72:1 (2004): 59-95.
“Tears of Disclosure: The Role of Weeping in Zoharic Narrative,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 11:1 (2002): 25-47.
“Mystical Contemplation and the Limits of the Mind: The Case of Sheqel ha- Qodesh,” Jewish Quarterly Review 93:2 (2002): 1-27.
Review of Peter Cole, The Poetry of Kabbalah, Forward, April 17, 2012.
Review of Joel Hecker, Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah, AJS Review (2007), 31:388-391.
Review of McAuliffe, Walfish, and Goering, eds., With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). Jewish Quarterly Review 96:2 (2006): 268-271.
“God as the Breath of Life” in Elliot Cosgrove, ed., Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations and Future of Jewish Belief (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010)
“Wisdom, Balance, Healing: Reflections on Mind and Body in an Early Hasidic Text,” in William Cutter, ed., Healing and the Jewish Imagination (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2007), pp. 63-74.
“From the Hidden to the Revealed: Kabbalah as a Spiritual Resource in Our Day,” CCAR Journal (Fall 2007): 86-98.
ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS AND ACTIVITIES
“Every time that we are on the road, the Holy Blessed One performs miracles for us,” paper delivered at seminar on "The Zoharic Story" at the 2013 conference of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) in Boston, MA (December, 2013).
Organized session on “Literary Approaches to the Study of the Zohar” and delivered paper on this topic at the 2011 conference of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) in Washington, D.C. (December, 2011).
Working group on “Holiness” at Princeton University: 3 meetings during the 2009-2010 academic year; organized and funded by the Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought at Princeton University. Presented on “Sacred Time in Hasidic Thought.”
“Narrative Voice in the Zohar,” paper delivered at the 2009 conference of the AJS in Los Angeles, CA (December, 2009).
“Between Kabbalah and Fiction: Reading the Zohar as Literature,” presentation delivered at Colby College in Waterville, Maine (November, 2009).
“Encounters Along the Way: Narrative Technique and Mystical Discovery in the Zohar,” invited lecture delivered at The Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University (May, 2009).
“The Holiness of Shabbat: Sacred Time in Hasidic Mysticism,” presentation delivered to the Holiness Working Group at Princeton University, a division of the Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought at Princeton, (March, 2009).
“The Zohar: Mystical Imagination and Literary Craft,” presentation delivered at two-day conference on “Jewish Mysticism—New Insights and Scholarship” at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL (February, 2009).
“An Invented World: Kabbalah and Literary Form in the Zohar,” invited lecture delivered at UCLA (February of 2008).
“Dramatic Monologue and the Question of Genre in Zoharic Narrative,” composed for the 2007 meeting of the AJS in Toronto (December, 2007).
“Perceptions of Greatness: Constructions of the Holy Man in Kabbalistic Literature,” composed for the 2006 meeting of the AJS in San Diego, California (December, 2006).
“Cultivation and Representation: Images and Ideals of the Self in Sixteenth Century Kabbalah,” paper delivered at the Faculty Research Workshop of the Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA (May, 2006).
“Constructions of the Self in Jewish Mystical Literature,” paper delivered at the 2005 conference of the AJS in Washington, D.C.
“The Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Mysticism,” paper delivered at symposium on comparative mysticism (the other two participating scholars were Profs. Bernard McGinn and Michael Sells of the University of Chicago) at Congregation Emanu-El in New York City (January, 2004).
“Jewish Mystical Theology,” part II of three-scholar symposium mentioned above, at Congregation Emanu-El in New York City (March, 2005).
“Confession, Mystical Experience, and the Language of the Self,” paper delivered at the 2003 conference of the AJS in Boston.
“The Rhetoric of Contemplation in the Kabbalistic Writings of Isaac ben Samuel of Acre,” paper delivered at the 2002 conference of the AJS in Los Angeles.
“Weeping, Narrative, and the Disclosure of Secrets in the Zohar,” delivered at the Inter- University Seminar on Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (Spring 1999).
Consulting reviewer of submissions for: Yale University Press; Brandeis University Press / University Press of New England; Stanford University Press; The Jewish Quarterly Review; The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy; Literature and Theology (Oxford); The Journal of Religion (Chicago)
COURSES TAUGHT AT JTS
Hasidic Derashot: Mysticism, Piety, and Homiletics
Hasidic Mystics on the Meaning of the Holidays
The Mystical Thought of Hasidism: From the Ba'al Shem Tov to the Present
Medieval Jewish Thought and Theology
Between Kabbalah and Narrative: The Literary Craft of the Zohar
Medieval Jewish Commentaries
Mystical Prayer: From Kabbalah to Hasidism
Jewish Mysticism in the Twentieth Century: Sefer Netivot Shalom
Self, Identity, and the Ideal Life in Sixteenth-Century Kabbalah
The Spiritual Meaning of Shabbat in Hasidic Mysticism
Perceptions of Greatness: Constructions of the Holy Man in Jewish Mystical Literature
Literature of the Spiritual Life: A Comparative Course
TEACHING IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Congregation Bnai Shalom, West Orange, NJ (May, 2012)
Scholar-in-residence, Temple Beth El in Allentown, PA (April, 2012)
Temple Oheb Shalom in South Orange, NJ (March, 2012)
Distinguished Scholars Series, Foundation for Jewish Studies, Washington, D.C. (May, 2012)
Pre-Passover session on Hasidic mysticism for JTS Context mini-series at the JCC of Paramus, NJ (March, 2012)
Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, PA (November, 2011)
Scholar-in-residence, Bet Torah in Mt. Kisco, NY (April, 2011)
Wagner Institute for Leadership Development on behalf of JTS at the Chicagoland Jewish High School (March, 2011)
Two-part distance learning mini-course for Siegel College in Cleveland, Ohio (January, 2011)
Temple Beth Rishon, Wykoff, NJ (November, 2010)
Wagner Institute for Leadership Development on behalf of JTS at the Chicagoland Jewish High School (April, 2010)
Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, NY (December, 2009)
North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL, as the 2009 Frankel Scholar (May, 2009)
Scholar-in-residence at East Meadow Jewish Center in East Meadow, NY (May, 2009)
Five-session distance education unit to Conservative rabbis as part of the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Education Initiative at JTS (March, 2009) Two-week mini-course on Kabbalah at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY (March, 2009)
Taught at week-long retreat for Conservative rabbis (The Rabbinic Training Institute) in Baltimore, MD (January, 2009)
Two-week mini-course on Kabbalah at Temple Sinai in Tenafly, NJ (November, 2008)
Scholar-in-residence at Congregation Bnai Torah in Boca Raton, FL (February, 2008)
Scholar-in-residence for a week-long, multi-city series of lectures in the Tampa Bay area
Taught at week-long retreat for Conservative rabbis (The Rabbinic Training Institute) in Baltimore, MD (January, 2008)
Four-week distance education course to adult learners at Anshe Emet in Chicago (December, 2007)
Scholar-in-residence at community-wide Selichot program in Dallas, Texas with Chancellor Arnold Eisen (September, 2007)
Lectured and delivered award to Rabbi Rob Dobrusin in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on behalf of JTS (May, 2007)
Guest speaker at The Jacksonville Jewish Center, Jacksonville, FL (Winter, 2007)
Participated in day-long conference on Kabbalah at University of Connecticut at Stamford. Audience: Jewish community in the Stamford-Greenwich area (November, 2007)
Scholar-in-residence for Southeast Council of Reform rabbis in Fort Lauderdale, FL (Summer, 2006)
Scholar-in-residence at Temple Sinai of Roslyn, NY (Spring, 2006)
Scholar-in-residence at Temple Shir Ami in Newtown, PA (Spring, 2006)
Scholar-in-residence at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons with Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion (Summer, 2005)
Scholar-in-residence at Temple Beth-El in Stamford, CT (Spring, 2005)
Scholar-in-residence at Temple Judea in Tarzana (Spring, 2005)
Temple Chai in Phoenix, Arizona (2004-2005)
Scholar-in-residence at the Pacific Southwest Regional Biennial of the Union for Reform Judaism (Winter, 2004)
Taught sessions at the annual meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform—CCAR) in Toronto (June, 2004)
Lectured at Stephen S. Wise Temple as a keynote speaker during special anniversary celebrations (Spring, 2004)
Moderated and presented at multi-scholar interfaith symposium for clergy on comparative mysticism at Temple Emanu-El in New York City (2003-2006)
Scholar-in-residence at Temple Emanu-El in San Diego (Spring, 2004)
Taught adult-education series on Hasidic mysticism to members of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles (Fall, 2003)
Served as one of three scholars-in-residence at the annual meeting of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis (Winter, 2003)
Co-taught distance learning course on “Talmud Torah as a Spiritual Practice” to rabbis in the field for the Reform Joint Commission on Sustaining Rabbinic Education (Winter, 2003)