Noam Sienna joins us to discuss the history of gender and sexuality across the arc of Jewish history, which he highlighted in his book A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969. It’s a fantastic book, and a great jumping-off point for our conversation about why the history of gender and sexuality matters, and how we can see LGBTQ histories as a rainbow thread that runs across Jewish history as a whole. Listen in for our conversation about what it means to bring in new voices into the history of the Jews, and how Jewish history can be in conversation to the broader field of queer studies.
Noam Sienna is a historian of Jewish culture in the medieval and early modern periods, focusing on the Sephardi world. He received his PhD in Jewish History and Museum Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2020, and currently teaches history and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of St. Thomas. His first book, A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969, was published in 2019, and it was awarded both the Reference Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries, and the Anthology Award from the Lambda Literary Association.