“She was what he had missed”: On the Loss of Women
An Evening with Psychoanalytic Torah Scholar Avivah Zornberg

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Time: 07:30pm - 09:30pm
Presenter: Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, PhD
Moderator: Michael Levin, PsyD
Location: San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Program Fee: Free if you choose to attend in person (Registration is not needed)
$ 10.00 if you choose to attend via webcast

Avivah Zornberg, PhDInternationally Celebrated Torah Scholar Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg will visit the SFCP for a Special Event on May 16th, from 7:30–9:30PM. Dr. Zornberg holds a BA and PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University. After first teaching English literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she began teaching and writing about the Torah — the Jewish Bible or Old Testament — thirty years ago. Recognized widely for her exceptionally incisive and creative readings of Scripture informed by history, literary theory, and a deep familiarity with psychoanalytic thought — including the writings of Freud, Winnicott, Bion, and Laplanche — Dr. Zornberg’s work offers a unique opportunity for clinicians to experience psychoanalytically-inflected interdisciplinary thinking at a very high, yet accessible level, applied to a foundational text of Western culture. With dazzling erudition and fluidity, her work reveals deep psychical links between ancient and modern lives, generating insight and inspiration for our work as psychoanalytic clinicians.

Dr. Zornberg’s talk for this program is titled “She was what he had missed”: On the Loss of Women. In an exploration of the Book of Genesis, she will discuss Jacob’s relations with the women in his life: Rachel, Deborah, Dinah and, most significantly, Rebekah. Tragedy befalls all of them, soon after Jacob returns home after a long absence.

Dr. Zornberg’s most recent book is Moses, a Human Life (Yale University Press, 2016). Reviewing it in the New York Times, Clémence Boulouque wrote: “A celebrated biblical scholar, keen on weaving together traditional Jewish exegesis, psychoanalysis and postmodern criticism, Zornberg always displays minute attention to the psychological subtext of the Scriptures. Her previous work, Bewilderments, had already captured Moses in the desert, ridden by skepticism. Expanding her inquiry to his whole existence in this current book, she shows how Moses’ flaws and shortcomings function as a metaphor for humanity as he confronts God’s will and struggles to convey his word. Moses is a stammering leader whom God prevented from entering the Promised Land. When he glimpses that place of milk and honey shortly before his death, it only emphasizes the incompleteness of his life’s work.”

For those unfamiliar with her work, the following reviews and interviews provide a more detailed introduction to Dr. Zornberg’s sensibility, learning, method, and psychoanalytic engagement:




Please join us for what promises to be a uniquely interesting and inspiring evening with something to offer, and a warm welcome, to everyone in our community — regardless of ethnic or religious background, or convictions, or familiarity with Jewish thought, history or Scripture.