BZBI, where you learn

Jewish Thought and Psychoanalysis

This lecture series is devoted to the interface between Jewish and Psychoanalytic thinking. Psychoanalysis, established by Austrian-Jewish neurologist Sigmund Freud, studies the effects of the unconscious mind on behavior and mental health. By examining psychoanalysis through the lens of Jewish thinking, and vice-versa, these lectures can aid in enriching the discussion of psychology and Jewish history and culture.

Organized by Dr. Harvey Schwartz, the series was inspired by the prevalence of Jewish thinkers in the field of psychoanalysis. In his words,

We all know that psychotherapists and psychoanalysts tend to be Jewish in proportions far in excess of our percentage of the population. What is the reason for this? Is there a “Jewish way of thinking” that lends itself to being interested in how people’s inner lives function? Is helping individuals grow into greater maturity and resourcefulness an expression of TikkunOlam? Is the psychological study of the mind a “Jewish Science?”

BZBI is proud to be a part of exploring this connection by hosting these lectures.

A Talmudist and a Psychoanalyst Walk Into a Bar…

Monday, May 14 at 7:00 PM. With Dr. Ruth Calderon, Talmudist, former Knesset Member, and author of A Bride for One Night.

Since it was written some 1,500 or so years ago, the Talmud and its stories have undergone numerous interpretations and reinterpretations. This process of repeated examination of fundamental texts, using varied analytical frameworks and literary perspectives, is central to Jewish thought. At this year’s Jewish Thought and Psychoanalysis Lecture, we will welcome Dr. Ruth Calderon, Talmudist and former member of the Knesset, to join Dr. Harvey Schwartz, psychoanalyst, in exploring the meanings behind some of Judaism’s most thought-provoking stories.

In her compilation of rewritten Talmudic stories, A Bride for One Night: Talmudic Tales, Dr. Calderon draws insight from the act of retelling these stories in a contemporary literary style. By framing Talmud as literature, Dr. Calderon brings to life the characters in these stories and re-imagines the meaning of their actions. In this conversation, Dr. Schwartz’ will apply a psychoanalytic perspective to these same stories, similarly exploring the motivations of these characters.

Join us as we explore the space between literary analysis and the psychoanalytical approach. Where do these perspectives meet and where do they differ? And what do these differences in analysis add to our understanding of the timeless stories? Join Dr. Calderon and Dr. Schwartz in this fascinating conversation.

For more information and to register for the lecture, click here.

Past Lectures

A Talmudist and a Psychoanalyst Walk Into a Bar…, Dr. Ruth Calderon

Unconscious Communication, Psychoanalysis and the Religious Experience, Dr. Marsha Hewitt


Freud, Moses and the Holocaust, Professor Eli Zaretsky


Forgiveness in Judaism and Psychoanalysis, Stephen Frosh


The Jewish Body Image and Psychoanalysis, Professor Sander Gilman

For more information about the series and past and future lectures, please refer to Dr. Schwartz’s website.