Dr. Ruth N. Sandberg is Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics at Gratz College, and is the Director of the graduate degree in Jewish-Christian Studies. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and was recently appointed as the co-President of the Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council. Dr. Sandberg also teaches in the Gratz College Scholars Program for Adult Education. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Dean of Students at Gratz. Before coming to Gratz, Dr. Sandberg served for five years as Director of Education at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sandberg received her BA in Classical Greek and History of Religion from Bryn Mawr College; Rabbinical Ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; and a Ph.D. in Post-Biblical Hebrew Literature, specializing in Rabbinics, from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sandberg’s areas of special interest include: the relationship between Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity; Jewish-Christian relations; early Rabbinic midrash; classical Rabbinic theology; and the process of Jewish law. Dr. Sandberg is the author of two books: Rabbinic Views of Qohelet (Mellen Biblical Press, 1999) and Development and Discontinuity in Jewish Law (University Press of America 2002). She has also contributed a chapter to The Words of the Wise Are Like Goads: Engaging Qoheleth in the 21st Century (2013).
On Jewish-Christian Studies
There is a tremendous need for greater religious understanding between Jews and Christians, as well as broader academic knowledge in Jewish-Christian studies, and formally educated people are sorely needed for these challenges. The ultimate solution to creating interfaith understanding is through knowledge – being educated in your own tradition and learning about others’ faiths. No matter how much we may want to create peace between Jews and Christians or any other religious traditions, it is not possible without spending time really learning about each other’s beliefs and practices and accepting where we have true differences. No amount of good will can replace the gaping hole where ignorance resides. The process of acquiring knowledge is the way to prevent future religious bigotry, hatred, and violence.
On Studying Rabbinics
Studying Rabbinics is challenging, inspiring, thought-provoking, and often personally transforming. It is my personal goal to help students to understand the significance of the ancient Rabbinic teachings in the Talmud and midrashic texts and to guide students in their search to make the Rabbinic legacy meaningful and relevant for today.
Dr. Sandberg is married and has one daughter, Yonah.