Justin Jaron Lewis

Dr. Justin Jaron LewisAssociate Professor of Religion

Dr. Lewis joined the Department of Religion in 2008. Dr. Lewis’ research has centred on early Yiddish literature and on Hasidic Judaism, especially its storytelling tradition. His two books are Imagining Holiness (2009) on Hasidic tales, and Many Pious Women (2011), an edition and translation of a sixteenth-century Yiddish text in praise of women. Dr. Lewis’ teaching interests include storytelling, sexuality, the Jewish textual tradition, and contemporary Judaism.


PhD University of Toronto (2003)
MA University of Toronto (1998)
BA University of Toronto (1996)
Rabbinic ordination Academy for Jewish Religion (2001)


Current research includes the oral history project Rabbi Zalman Schachter’s Years in Winnipeg (http://cudl.colorado.edu/luna/servlet/CUB~5~5); the teachings and stories of the late Tosher Rebbe of Boisbriand, Quebec; and comparative work on the Hindu goddess Kali and the Shekhinah (feminine divine presence) in Kabbalah.

RLGN 1424 Religion & Sexuality

RLGN 2072 Storytelling & Religion
RLGN 2140 Introduction to Judaism
RLGN 2160 Introduction to Hebrew Scriptures
RLGN 2770 Contemporary Judaism

RLGN 3400 Zionism: Religious Perspectives
RLGN 3824 Kabbalah

RLGN 4430/7020 Storytelling & Narrative

Selected Publications


With Harry Fox. Many Pious Women: Edition and translation. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011.
Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.
Articles and Book chapters

Meanings of Shekhinah in Tosher Hasidism. In Harry Fox and Daniel Maoz, eds., From Something to Nothing: Jewish Mysticism in Contemporary Jewish Studies. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Forthcoming.

Verbal Exuberance and Social Engineering: Gossip in Ḥafetz Ḥayim. Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses, 44 (2), 208-232 (2015).

A Love Match in Leviticus.  Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 32 (2), 1-24 (2014).

„Z Przytyku do Rymanowa“: Ciało i współczesny świat w opowieściach Żydów polskich [‘From Pryztyk to Rymanόw’: The Body and the Modern World in Tales of Polish Jewry]. Roczniki Humanistyczne / Annals of Arts, 60(1), 165-177 (2012).

‘Such Things Have Never Been Heard Of’: Jewish Intellectuals and Hasidic Miracles. In Tzemah Yoreh et al., eds. Vixens Disturbing Vineyards: Embarrassment and Embracement of Scriptures:  Festschrift in Honor of Harry Fox (leBeit Yoreh) (480-495). Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010.

Divine Gender Transformations in Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav.Nordisk Judaistik/ Scandinavian Jewish Studies, 26 (1-2),29-48 (2008).

‘Eydele, the Rebbe’:  Shifting Perspectives on a Jewish Gender Transgressor. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 6 (1), 21-40 (2007).

The Great Holy Woman Malka of Belz: Women as Heroes and Storytellers in Hasidic Tales. In Afra Kavanagh, ed.,Women in Storytelling:  Proceedings of the University College of Cape Breton's Third Annual Storytelling Symposium (102-112). Sydney:  UCCB, 2000.

Women's Voices, Men's Laws. Women in Judaism, 2 (1), 25 pages (1999).