Ruth Langer 

Professor of Jewish Studies, Theology Department, Boston College
Associate Director, Center for Christian Jewish Learning, Boston College

Biographical Statement

Available Lecture Topics

CV Extracts 



Jewish Liturgy: A Guide to Research (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

Cursing the Christians?: A History of the Birkat HaMinim (Oxford University Press, 2012).

To Worship God Properly: Tensions between Liturgical Custom and Halakhah in Judaism (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1998; paperback 2005).

Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue: Studies in the History of Jewish Prayer, ed. Ruth Langer and Steven Fine (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2005).




“The Bible in the Liturgy,” in The Jewish Study Bible, ed. Marc Brettler and Adele Berlin, 2nd edition (New York: Oxford USA, 2014), 2057-2067. 

“Investigations into the Early European Forms of the Ṣidduq Ha-Din,” in Death in Jewish Life: Burial and Mourning Customs Among Jews of Europe and Nearby Communities,  ed. Stefan Reif, Andreas Lehnardt, and Avriel Bar-Levav (De Gruyter, 2014), 79-97.

"Constructing Memory in Jewish Liturgy," in Toward the Future: Essays on Catholic-Jewish Relations in Memory of Rabbi Leon Klenicki , ed. Celia Deutsch (New York: Paulist Press, 2013), 117-128.

"The Decalogue in Jewish Liturgy," in Decalogue and its Culture, edited by Dominik Markl (Sheffield Academic Press, 2013), 85-101.

"Naming and Addressing Jewish Teachings of Contempt," (pp. 8) on the website of the International Abrahamic Forum, International Conference of Christians and Jews. .

"The Tzedah Laderekh’s Apologia for the Birkat Haminim," in Ke-Tavor Be-Harim: Studies in Rabbinic Literature Presented to Joseph Tabory, Arnon Atzmon and Tzur Shafir (eds.) (Alon Shevut: Tevunot Press, 2013), 7*-39*.

"The Liturgical Parting(s) of the Ways: A Preliminary Foray," in A Living Tradition: On the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice, David A. Pitt, eds. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012), 43-58.

"Putting the Performance of the Vidui in its Context," in We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Context, Ashamnu and Al Chet, ed. Lawrence A. Hoffman (Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishers, 2012), 205-209.

Review Essay: "The Rabbinical Assembly’s Mahzor Lev Shalem (New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2010)," in the Journal of Synagogue Music 37 (Fall 2012): 205-213.

"Jewish Liturgical Memory and the Non-Jew: Past Realities and Future Possibilities," in Jewish Theology and World Religions, ed. Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn (Oxford and Portland, OR: Littmann, 2012), 167-86.

"Cursing the Christians?: Origins of the Birkat HaMinim, at The Bible and Interpretation, .

"Worship," in The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture, edited by Judith Baskin (Cambridge University Press, 2011), 663-665.

"The Censorship of Aleinu in Ashkenaz and its Aftermath," in The Experience of Jewish Liturgy: Studies Dedicated to Menahem Schmelzer, edited by Debra Reed Blank (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2011), 147-166.

"Exploring the Interface of Dialogue and Theology: A Jewish Response to Christian Ruitishauser, Thomas Norris, and Liam Tracy," in Christ Jesus and the Jewish People Today: New Explorations of Theological Interrelationships, ed. Philip A. Cunningham (Grand Rapids, Cambridge UK: Eerdmans, 2011), 287-295.

"Liturgy and Worship," in The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture, edited by Judith Baskin and Kenneth Seeskin (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 337-356.

"Laminated in the Book of Life?" in Who by Fire, Why by Water: Un’taneh Tokef, ed. Lawrence A. Hoffman (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2010), 113-116.

"The Presence of God in Jewish Liturgy," in The Spirit in Worship and Worship in the Spirit, ed. Bryan Spinks, Teresa Berger (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009), 25-39.

"Seeking Integrity," Ecumenical Trends 38:8 (September 2009): 6-7, 15.

"Liturgy in the Light of Jewish-Christian Dialogue," Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 4 (2009).

"Continuity, Change, and Retrieval: The New Reform Siddur," review essay in the Journal of Synagogue Music 34 (Fall 2009): 208-223.

"Jews and the American Funeral," in Only in America: The Open Society and Jewish Law, edited by Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer (Pittsburgh: Solomon B. Freehof Institute for Progressive Jewish Law, Rodef Shalom Press, 2009), 91-125.

"'We Do Not Even Know What To Do!'’: A Foray into the Early History of Tahanun," in Seeking the Favor of God, Vol. 3: The Impact of Penitential Prayer Beyond Second Temple Judaism, edited by Mark Boda, Daniel Falk, and Rodney Werline (Society for Biblical Literature, 2008), 39-69.

"Theologies of the Land and State of Israel: The Role of the Secular in Christian and Jewish Understandings," Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 3 (2008): 1-17.

“Biblical Texts in Jewish Prayers: Their History and Function,” in Jewish and Christian Liturgy and Worship: New Insights into its History and Interaction, edited by Albert Gerhards and Clemens Leonhard, Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series 15 (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2007), 63-90.

“ Zion,” in Take Heart: Catholic Writers on Hope in our Time, ed. Ben Birnbaum (Crossroad, 2007), 207-212.

“The Earliest Texts of the Birkat Haminim,” with Uri Ehrlich, Hebrew Union College Annual 76 (2007): 63-112.

“Liturgy” in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition (2006), Vol. 13, pp. 131-139.

A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations, edited by Edward Kessler and Neil Wenborn (Cambridge University Press, 2005), entries on "Amidah" (pp. 12-13), "Birkat Hamazon" (pp. 59-60), "Birkat Haminim" (p. 60), "Bread" (p. 64), "Candle" (p. 75), "Intercessions" (p. 210), "Wine" (pp. 445-446).

"Sinai, Zion, and God in the Synagogue: Celebrating Torah in Ashkenaz," in Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue: Studies in the History of Jewish Prayer, ed. Ruth Langer and Steven Fine (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2005), 121-159.

“Hanukkah: A Holiday of Witness” in Preach (November/December 2005): 24-26.

“Worship and Devotional Life: Jewish Worship,” in the Encyclopedia of Religion (second edition, 2005), 14:9805-9809.

“The Liturgical Writings of J. Leonard Levy: The Judaism of an American Reform Rabbi,” in Pursuing Peace Across the Alleghenies: The Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1856-2005, edited by Walter Jacob ( Pittsburgh: Rodef Shalom Press, 2005), 201-230.

"Theologies of Self and Other in American Jewish Liturgies," CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly (Winter 2005), 3-41.

"Prayer and Worship," in Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide, edited by Nicholas de Lange and Miri Freud-Kandel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 231-242.

"Early Rabbinic Liturgy in its Palestinian Milieu: Did Non-Rabbis Know the 'Amidah?" in When Judaism and Christianity Began: Essays in Memory of Anthony J. Saldarini, ed. Alan A. Avery-Peck, Daniel Harrington, Jacob Neusner (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2004), II: 423-439.

“Jewish Understandings of the Religious Other,” Theological Studies 64 (June 2003): 255-277.

“Early Medieval Celebrations of Torah in the Synagogue: A Study of the Rituals of the Seder Rav Amram Gaon and Massekhet Soferim,” [Hebrew] Kenishta: Studies of the Synagogue World 2 (2003): 99-118.

“The Amidah as Formative Jewish Prayer,” in Identität durch Gebet: Zur gemeinschaftsbildenden Funktion institutionalisierten Betens in Judentum und Christentum, ed. Albert Gerhards, Andrea Doeker and Peter Ebenbauer (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2003), 127-156. 

"A Jewish Response," in Sic et Non: Encountering Dominus Iesus, ed. Stephen J Pope and Charles Hefling (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2002), 124-133.

Jewish Funerals: A Ritual Description,” Proceedings of the North American Academy of Liturgy (2001):108-122.

"Celebrating the Presence of Torah: The History and Meaning of Reading Torah," in My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries, Minhag Ami, Vol. 4: Seder K'riat Hatorah, The Torah Service, edited by Lawrence A. Hoffman (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000), 19-27.

"Liturgy and Sensory Experience," in Christianity in Jewish Terms, ed. Tikva Frymer-Krensky, David Novak, Peter Ochs, David Fox Sandmel, Michael A. Signer (Westview Press, 2000), 189-195, 386-7.

"Revisiting Early Rabbinic Liturgy: The Recent Contributions of Ezra Fleischer," Prooftexts 19:2 (1999): 179-204; and “Considerations of Method: A Response to Ezra Fleischer,” Prooftexts 20:3 (2000): 384-387.

"Honor Your Father and Mother: Caregiving as an Halakhic Responsibility," in Aging and the Aged in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa (Pittsburgh: Freehof Institute for Progressive Halakhah, 1998): 21-41; reprinted in That You May Live Long: Caring for our Aging Parents, Caring for Ourselves, ed. Richard A. Address and Hara E. Person (New York: UAHC Press, 2003), 113-126.

"From Study of Scripture to a Reenactment of Sinai," Worship 72:1 (January 1998): 43-67; reprinted in the Journal of Synagogue Music 31:1 (Fall 2006): 104-125.

"Kalir Was A Tanna: Rabbenu Tam's Invocation of Antiquity in Defense of the Ashkenazi Payyetanic Tradition," Hebrew Union College Annual LXVII (1996): 95-106.

"Communications Theory and Worship: James W. Carey's Communication as Culture and its Reception," Proceedings of the North American Academy of Liturgy, 1997, 147-163.

"Birkat Betulim: A Study of the Jewish Celebration of Bridal Virginity," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research LXI (1995): 53-94.




"New Research Important for Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Jewish Theologies of Christianity," in From the Martin Buber House 33 (Report of the International Council of Christians and Jews 2012 Conference, Manchester UK): 57-59.

Elisheva Carlebach and Jacob J. Schacter, eds., New Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Relations in Honor of David Berger (Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2012) in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 8 (2013).

Dirk Monshouwer, The Gospels and Jewish Worship: Bible and Synagogal Liturgy in the First Century C.E. (Skandalon, 2010) in Worship 86:2 (March 2012): 187-189.

Adiel Schremer, Brothers Estranged: Heresy, Christianity and Jewish Identity in Late Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2010), in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 5 (2010).

Stefan Reif, Problems with Prayers: Studies in the Textual History of Early Rabbinic Liturgy, Vol. 37 Studia Judaica, Forschungen zur Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006), 369 pp. + xv, in Journal of Jewish Studies 60:2 (2009): 339-340.

Yaakov Y. Teppler, Birkat HaMinim: Jews and Christians in Conflict in the Ancient World,trans. Susan Weingarten (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 4 (2009).

Forms of Prayer, I: Daily, Sabbath and Occasional Prayers , Eighth Edition (London: The Movement for Reform Judaism, 2008), European Judaism 41, no. 2 (2008): 167-172.

Alan Mittleman, Byron Johnson, and Nancy Isserman, eds., Uneasy Allies?: Evangelical and Jewish Relations (Lexington Books, 2007), in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 3 (2008).

Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007), published in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, 2:1 (2007).

Shaye J.D. Cohen, Why Aren’t Jewish Women Circumcised?: Gender and Covenant in Judaism, in Journal of Interdisciplinary History XXXVII (Winter, 2007): 435-437.

Eric Caplan, From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism in American Jewish Archives Journal LV:2 (2003): 59-62.

Jeffrey Summit, The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship, AJSReview 27:2 (November 2003): 360-1.

Seth Schwartz, Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 BCE-640 CE. On the book review page of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning.

James R. Davila. Liturgical Works. Eerdman’s Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls, in Doxology: A Journal of Worship 18 (2001): 116-119. 

James Carroll, Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews. A History. In the CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly (Summer 2001): 98-102.

Mary C. Boys, Has God Only One Blessing: Judaism as a Source for Christian Self-Understanding, in The SIDIC Review 33:3 (2000): 30-31.

Chava Weissler, Voices of the Matriarchs: Listening to the Prayers of Early Modern Jewish Women, in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 69:1 (2001): 268-271.

Arthur Green, These are the Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life. In the CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly (Winter 2000): 80-81.

Leon J. Weinberger, Jewish Hymnography: A Literary History. In AJSReview 24:1 (1999):128-130.

Leon J. Weinberger, Twilight of a Golden Age: Selected Poems of Abraham Ibn Ezra. In The Medieval Review (on line), 98.12.08.

My People's Prayer Book, Minhag Ami, Vol. I: The Sh'ma and its Blessings, edited by Lawrence Hoffman. In CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 1998: 65-68.

Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim (new Reconstructionist prayerbook. In CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly (Winter 1997): 96-99.

Raymond P. Scheindlin's translation of Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy, A Comprehensive History. In Journal of Semitic Studies XL (Fall 1995): 353-354.

Stefan C. Reif, Judaism and Hebrew Prayer. In Journal of Semitic Studies XL (Spring 1995): 152-153.

Lectures on internet Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, “Constructing Community: Expressions of Self and Other in Jewish Prayer,,



Ph.D. 1994 Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

Rabbinic ordination, 1986, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

M.A.H.L. 1985, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

A.B. 1981, Bryn Mawr College, summa cum laude in History of Religion


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