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Revealing Texts: How Faith Communities Interpret Abortion

This course was offered in Winter/Spring, 2017.

"The culture of a people is an ensemble of texts....” — Clifford Geertz

It’s hard to find what people in the media and popular culture are talking about when they discuss critical issues through religious texts.

“It's in the Bible...”
“Scripture says...”
“According to the Koran...”

Do we know where these issues are written about and how they are interpreted? Do we ask ourselves what we know and how we know it?

Our series Revealing Texts will look at sociopolitical debates through the interpretations of different faith communities' texts. In “Revealing Texts: How Faith Communities Interpret Abortion” we'll hear Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scholars sharing their faith communities texts. Ameena Jandali will share Islamic texts, Jim McGarry will share Catholic texts, and Deena Aranoff will share Hebrew and Rabbinic literature. We will learn how their traditions interpret these writings to create a world view on abortion. Join us for a Lehrhaus dialogue: No debate, all dialogue; no proof texting, all discovery.

This is a collaborative project of Lehrhaus Judaica and The Graduate Theological Union, with support from the Compton Foundation. Community sponsors include the JCC East Bay and Temple Sinai, Oakland.

This program is in association with the Berkeley Rep’s production of Roe, at the Berkeley Repertory Theater March 3 to April 2.


# Sessions
Date & time

Wednesday, March 22
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Session Time Days Location Instructors
Mar 22 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Wed David Brower Center Ameena Jandali Deena Aranoff Jim McGarry


David Brower Center

2150 Allston Way

Berkeley, CA 94704



Deena Aranoff

Deena Aranoff Deena Aranoff is assistant professor of medieval Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Her interests include rabbinic literature, medieval patterns of Jewish thought and the broader question of continuity and change in Jewish history. Deena is also a community educator and teaches Bible, rabbinics, and Jewish mysticism in a variety of adult education programs. Deena is also a recently certified yoga instructor and teaches yoga in San Francisco.

Ameena Jandali

Ameena JandaliAmeena Jandali is Content Director and a founding member of Islamic Networks Group (ING). She co-designs and develops ING’s educational presentations and cultural competency seminars. Ameena has delivered hundreds of presentations in schools, colleges, universities, churches, and other venues on Islam and related subjects. She has also appeared on many news outlets speaking on issues relating to American Muslims. She currently team teaches a class on Islam at San Francisco City College. Ameena received her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and B.A. in History from the University of Illinois.

Jim McGarry

Jim McGarryJim McGarry is a long-time educator in Religious Studies specializing in Ethics, Social Justice and Holocaust Studies. He currently works at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont where he is the Director of The Sr. Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement. Jim is the founder of the Helen and Joe Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Catholic Schools at Mercy High School, San Francisco. In the summer of 2012, he traveled with 24 students and 5 colleagues, including Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan, on the Legacy Tour of Germany, Poland and Israel sponsored by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco Holocaust Center.