Saturday, June 15, 2024

Local rabbi to speak on campus

The Plattsburgh State gender and women’s studies program will be presenting Rabbi Kari Tuling in a forum Thursday, Feb. 26 at 12:30 p.m. in the Cardinal Lounge.

Tuling, an adjunct lecturer of gender and women’s studies, will be speaking with a focus on telling the story of Tamar from the book of Genesis in the Bible.

“I want to talk about Tamar and the women of the bible and the biblical ideas of marriage and how they are different from today,” she said. “People assume that marriage has never changed, and that is incorrect.”

Tuling is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel, located near the Fieldhouse. Ordained in 2004 by Hebrew Union College, she has since then led congregations, received her Ph.D. and is publishing her dissertation, according to Temple Beth Israel’s website,

“Should we allow marriages that don’t look traditional?” Tuling said. “It seemed appropriate to go back and see the Bible and how different it is from what we perceive it to be today.”

She claims it is a “hot topic” in our society based on government ruling of marriage. To those that are against non-traditional marriage, she will bring biblical tradition in its truest form back to the table.

Department chair Susan Mody said she is looking forward to Tuling presenting to the students of the department with the aim of creating “interesting connections” between stories of one with experiences of another.

“She will be taking the biblical text and stories along with her knowledge and understanding of that time, so she will be able to situate the story [of Tamar], which is something you always want to do in relation to the patterns we know about during that time,” Mody said.

Forums are designed to add perspectives and experiences to the curriculum to include topics and issues that may or may not be able to be addressed fully in the classroom, Mody said, due to many factors, such as time restraints or less expertise in the area of focus.

“These are shared traditions with members of our community because they come from the shared sources of literature that different religious groups and communities share, whether or not they look at it that way,” said Mody.

Mody said the reason she wanted Tuling to speak in an on-campus forum was the passion she shows for her work. She said she believes it is important for students to look at stories with good sources of information, such as Tuling, and conversation that should be happening will come from an expert in the subject matter.

Mody said she believes Tuling is someone who is passionate about having those conversations with a scholarly approach from studying the issues in a particular way.

PSUC junior hotel, restaurant and tourism management major Sam Mozingo, said he would attend a forum with discussion on this topic based on his interest in his global issues class.

“The whole class is based off of gender equality, equality across the gender spectrum,” he said. “I think that is one of the most important revelations that our society is dealing with today.”

He said he believes the topic of marriage has to be exposed, and everyone should be educated and aware. It is important to him because it is something that everyone at PSUC deals with on campus.

“For the next four, eight, 16 years, we will all have to vote on this stuff,” Mozingo said. “You have to be educated on the things that affect us in our society.”

Mody believes this will be intriguing for the purpose of reexamining people’s assumptions of religious practices.

“It helps us be more critical about our own assumptions, as well as becoming better learners,” Mody said.

Email Lisa Scivolette at

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