Dr. Sara Labaton is Director of Teaching and Learning at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where she serves as a conduit between the Kogod Research Center and program directors, overseeing programmatic excellence and ensuring that research topics and content are informed by the realities of the field and experience of program participants. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of North American David Hartman Center Fellows.
Sara received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Columbia University and a doctorate in Medieval Jewish Thought from the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU. Her doctoral thesis focused on the relationship between the esoteric and peshat hermeneutics in the commentaries of Abraham ibn Ezra, particularly with regard to ibn Ezra’s understanding of biblical cultic rituals.
Sara was a founding faculty member of Yeshivat Hadar, where she developed a Bible and Exegesis curriculum. She has taught in a variety of Jewish settings, most recently as a history instructor at the Frisch School. Her research interests include the intersection of ritual and relevance, ritual experimentation, and overcoming the binary of halakhic–non-halakhic/insider-outsider in Jewish ritual practice. As part of her participation in the Religious Worlds Seminar at the Interfaith Center of New York, Sara researched ways of integrating comparative religion into Jewish educational contexts.