Eliza Slavet is a dreamer, thinker, maker, writer, rabble-rouser, bridge-builder, spiritual caregiver, scholar of religion, and mom of two awesome kids.
And now in the first person: I'm currently working as an intern in Spiritual Care at UC San Diego Health, as part of a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. And I'm loving it. I love listening and being present to the "everything else" in the room-- the stuff that the medical, social worker, psychologists, and specialists can't quite get to. That stuff. To that end, I'm currently (2020-onwards) enrolled in a brand-spanking-new program at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), on the road to a Certificate in Interreligious Chaplaincy.
Most of the time, I happily spend time being constantly surprised by how much I love and am exhausted by and love being exhausted by my two children, Ruby (b. 2010) and Sylvester (b. 2012). Thank goodness for my partner in crime, chef, gardener, clarinettist, teacher, chair, table, bed, Anthony Burr.
Before this current stint, I did a couple stints in rabbinic school, first at the Academy of Jewish Religion of California (AJRCA) in Los Angeles, and then in the Aleph Ordination Program (in the internetz). I also participated in the Davenning Leadership Training Institute (DLTI) where I learned to pray, to lead prayer, to live prayer, and possibly even to love prayer. My best prayer happens while floating in the Pacific Ocean.
For awhile there, I was officially unofficially re-preparing a Haggadah for the Wicked Child for publication and working on a book on Philosemitism. But honestly, I'm always preparing something, usually writing in words. I've put together a new haggadah each year, led taschlich services, performed a wedding, and tried to do good.
On the academic front, my scholarship uncomfortably reached between psychoanalysis, Jewish Studies, and Moses narratives. I received a PhD in Literature from the University of California, San Diego; an MM in Oboe Performance from Yale School of Music; and a BA in English from Yale University.
In the past, I played the oboe, wrote poetry, and made sound art installations as well as a few videos. In 2001, she proposed a sound installation, Breathing Traces, to the Berlin Jewish Museum: a large room, with speaker-cones hanging from the ceiling, each speaker playing a recording of the sounds of one Jewish resident of Berlin. A curiosity cabinet of souls, breathing their way through life... The proposal was ultimately rejected, but it led her to read Archive Fever by Jacques Derrida, which pushed her to begin writing what became her dissertation, "Freud's Moses: Memory Material and Immaterial" (2007), which became the book, Racial Fever: Freud and the Jewish Question (Fordham University Press, 2009).
Back in the academic realm, I organized a number of panels, but the most infamous one was in May 2006 at the New York Public Library: Freud's Foreskin: A Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Most Suggestive Circumcision in History.
Teaching positions have been in departments of literature, interdisciplinary study, religion and history; institutions include Parsons School of Design, New School University; Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University (NYU); Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY); and the University of California, San Diego. My courses focused on memory and forgetting, literary theory, Moses and multiplicity, hearing voices, race and religion, inventing tradition, psychoanalysis, and the history of anti-semitism.