Rabbi Vanessa Ochs, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and a core member of the Jewish Studies Program since its inception, teaches such topics as Jewish feminism, Jewish ritual, ethnographic fieldwork in religion, Abrahamic feminisms. Her course on Spiritual Writing is cross-listed in the Program in Creative Writing and she co-teaches the two-year pilot Forum in Creative Processes and Creative Practices. She is the Chair of the Professional Consulting Committee: UVA Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education at the UVA Health System.
Her books include Inventing Jewish Ritual (winner of a 2007 National Jewish Book Award, Sarah Laughed, The Jewish Dream Book (with Elizabeth Ochs), Words on Fire: One Woman’s Journey into the Sacred, and Safe and Sound: Protecting Your Child In An Unpredictable World. For her writing, she was awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.
In her research, she investigates new Jewish ritual, Jewish feminism, the Passover Haggadah, and Jewish material culture. She continues to explore the theme of “Jewish Sensibilities,” which has become the central focus of the journal Sh’ma and the work of the Lippman Kanfer Foundation, and is now featured as a curriculum produced by Hillel International