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Interview with Ruth Calderon

Ruth calderoon

Haaretz has an interview with Ruth Calderon (see this previous post about her):

Day after day, Dr. Ruth Calderon goes to her computer, usually in the early morning hours, and posts on her Facebook page passages from the Mishna and her own associations with the ancient compilation of the Jewish oral tradition that forms the core of the Talmud. Sometimes it is to point to a latent tension between the various speakers in the text, sometimes merely to savor a particularly poetic turn of phrase. Soon her page fills up with dozens of comments. One can almost smell the morning coffee through this shared daily ritual of people who have decided that there is no better way to start the day than with Ruth Calderon’s daily Mishna.


In the late 1980s Calderon founded the Elul beit midrash in Jerusalem. It was the first institution in Israel in which both observant and nonobservant Jews, men and women, studied religious texts together, and in a spirit of openness and equality. Several years later she brought this spirit to Tel Aviv when she established Alma College. As a practical matter, the idea that the Jewish “bookshelf,” which had been the property of Orthodox Jews, could be made available to Jews of all backgrounds was to a great extent Calderon’s idea. Late-night insomniacs can still catch occasional reruns of “Haheder,” the Channel 2 program that each week featured Calderon and two guests tackling a Jewish primary-source text.


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