Rebecca J. E. Levi

Doctoral Candidate


  • Oberlin College: B.A. (2008)
  • University of Virginia: M.A (2012)
  • University of Virginia: Ph.D (in progress)

Research Interests

I study practical ethics from a Jewish perspective. I am interested, broadly speaking, in places where specific claims autonomy and of heteronomy come into conflict, and in the ways formal features of Biblical and Rabbinic texts can contribute to the ways we think about doing ethics. I have specific interests in ethics of sex, gender, and sexuality, in environmental ethics, and in biomedical ethics.


  • God (T.A, Fall 2012)
  • "I Know Too Well the Imperfections of Your Face": Reading Scripture with Queer, Feminist, AND Scriptural Commitments (U.Va Flash Seminar, April 4, 2013)
  • Religion, Ethics, and the Environment (T.A, Spring 2013 and Spring 2014)
  • Theology, Ethics, and Medicine (T.A, Fall 2014)


  • “Community, Authority, and Autonomy: Jewish Resources for the Vaccine Wars.” Journal of the Society for Christian Ethics 34:1, 2014.
  • Introduction to Vol. 7, No. 2 of the Journal of Textual Reasoning, with Peter Ochs
  • Introduction to Vol. 6, No. 2 of the Journal of Textual Reasoning.


  • Morgenstern Fellow in Jewish Studies (2012-present)
  • Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow (2011-present)

Conference Presentations

  • "Risky Business: Reexamining Risk and Benefit in Jewish Sexual Ethics." Society of Jewish Ethics Annual Meeting (Seattle, 2014)
  • “Community, Authority, and Autonomy: Jewish Resources for the Vaccine Wars.” Society of Jewish Ethics Annual Meeting (Chicago, 2013)
  • "Panel Discussion: “Abrahamic Reasoning and Environmental Ethics.” Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (New Brunswick, NJ, 2012)
  • “Image as Midrash: Text, Experience, and Interpretation in The Comic Torah.”Graphic Details Symposium: Talking About Jewish Women and Comics (New York, 2012)

Blog Posts

The State of Formation:

  • The Trouble With Marriage
  • Virtue is its Own Reward: Why Michael Pollan’s “Cooked” is a Religious Text
  • “Just to Make a Statement”: Power, Sincerity, and the Women of the Wall
  • Worthy is the Cat: Reflections on Feline Mortality and Psychological Mercy
  • My Heart Is In Tumult: Reflections on Lamentations in the Age of Global Warming
  • The Wronging Of Alan Turing: Sex, Shame, and the Complexity of a Human Being
  • “Rules By Which They Could Not Live:” My Bat Mitzvah Drash
  • Rise up, Sotah: Contraception, Religion, and Slut-Shaming
  • The Times We Shouldn’t Defend Our Traditions
  • The Obligation to Vaccinate: “Health Freedom” and Communal Responsibility
  • Building Hedges: What the Rabbis Taught Me About Managing ADHD
  • The Value of Discomfort: Why I Won’t Make Peace With My Parsha

Rebecca Jane Epstein-Levi

Doctoral Candidate