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Julia Watts Belser

Senior Research Fellow

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

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March 25, 2022

A Rabbi and a Lawyer Talk Tension, Power and Faith That Does Justice

Senior Research Fellows Julia Watts Belser and Amy Uelmen are highlighted in this new "Spirit of Georgetown" story about how their faith has guided them to navigate different worlds, reconcile seemingly opposing ideas in their professional and scholarly pursuits, and discern the best path toward justice.


Julia Watts Belser is an associate professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University and core faculty in Georgetown's Disability Studies Program, as well as a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center. Her research centers on gender, sexuality, and disability in classical Jewish texts, as well as queer feminist disability ethics. She is the author of Rabbinic Tales of Destruction: Gender, Sex, and Disability in the Ruins of Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, 2018). She has held faculty fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an ordained rabbi, as well as a longtime activist for disability, LGBTQ, and gender justice. She co-authored an international Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities, developed in collaboration with disability activists from 42 countries and translated into 14 languages. She currently directs an initiative on disability and climate change, which brings together disability activists, artists, policy makers, and academics to address how disability communities are disproportionately affected by environmental risk and climate disruption. She previously taught a class supported through the Berkley Center's Doyle Seminars project.

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