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Biography

Merle Feld is a widely published poet, award-winning playwright, peace activist and educator. She is the author of a volume of poetry, Finding Words, (URJ Press, 2011) and a highly acclaimed memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (State University of New York Press, revised edition 2007).

Merle’s award-winning play, The Gates are Closing, has offered hundreds of synagogue communities and university groups from Brooklyn to Beijing a powerful and moving introduction to the themes of the High Holidays.

In another play, Across the Jordan (published by Syracuse University Press in the anthology Making a Scene), Biblical characters share the stage with contemporary Israelis and Palestinians struggling for recognition and rapprochement.

Merle is a popular scholar-in-residence nationally; abroad, she has facilitated Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on the West Bank and at Seeds of Peace, and has traveled to collaborate with and support Jewish women activists in the former Soviet Union through Project Kesher. The Russian translation of A Spiritual Life enjoys a wide audience in the FSU; its publication occasioned a unique three-week book tour of Ukraine. Both her experiences facilitating dialogue on the West Bank and traveling across the FSU are detailed in the revised edition of A Spiritual Life.

Since 2005 Merle has served as Founding Director of the Albin Rabbinic Writing Institute, guiding rabbinical students and rabbis from all denominations to develop and explore their own spiritual lives and to serve more effectively as spiritual leaders. Her prose and poetry (including her signature poem about women and men at Sinai) can be found in numerous anthologies and prayer books, most recently in the celebrated volumes Mahzor Lev Shalem, Siddur Lev Shalem and The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary. Merle and husband Rabbi Edward Feld make their home in Western Massachusetts while continuing to teach and mentor rabbis and seekers across the country and around the world through their nonprofit institute, www.DEREKH.org.

© 2011 Merle Feld