In Brief

Ariella Radwin has a B.A. in Philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from UCLA. She has taught courses at Stanford, the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, as well as local high schools. In addition to various published book reviews and essays, she blogs at

Books for the Mind. Exercise for the Body. Love for the Soul.

More About Scholarly Stuff

I have a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Culture. I wrote my dissertation on a short biblical passage about adultery, and then traced its history of interpretation. But perhaps more than that, I used it as a way to explore the way that ancient people used metaphor and imagery to wrestle with complicated topics. Maybe their worries about marital infidelity were also a way to reconcile and understand a religion that was reinventing itself in the midst of a rapidly changing landscape. We humans seem constituted to use stories to teach us about the world— we can barely help it.

Teaching Stuff

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve been privileged to teach at a wide range of schools and institutions. I’ve taught courses at Stanford University, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and Kehillah Jewish High School. I’ve also taught sections or guest-lectured at UCLA, Jewish Community High School of the Bay, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, and volunteered in public school and homeschool classrooms and communities. Seeing a student light up with a new insight is one of the most rewarding experiences on the planet.

Life Stuff

Anything that happens is probably worth thinking about more deeply. Some of the more powerful journeys I’ve been on include rescuing my marriage from a lifetime sentence of misery, parenting kids in trouble, experimenting with plant and energy medicines, and reclaiming my health through weight loss and fitness. If I had to write my entire life philosophy on a billboard, it might say, “Relentless Appetite for Self Improvement.” I don’t think I’ll ever stop striving to be a better human on the planet, and I’m willing to try just about anything, even meditation. (To be fair, I’ve tried this too. I’m at attempt #57 or so, but it still hasn’t stuck.)

“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.” ― Arne Garborg

What I'm Thinking About

Madonna Celebrations Tour in SF: this is a bust

Maybe I’m just too grumpy; maybe I’m too old. I was tired, I don’t want to be up at midnight and waving my arms. Or maybe if the crowd had grown frenzied I would have too. But I don’t think so. I think you can only feel it if the performer really brings herself.

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The Atlantic takes on Tech Titans?

The leaders of these companies don’t need to be despots (or demons) in order for us all to summon our collective will to make healthier, happier, and more secure online spaces.

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Telling Forbidden Stories: The Life of Arno Mayer

I’m going to offer this as a bit of a conviction: Complexity is not to be feared. Nor analysis, context, reconsideration, any of it. We don’t lose the ability to morally condemn just because we have come to a more nuanced explanation.

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