Perle Besserman holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and has lectured, toured, taught, and appeared on television, radio, and in two documentary films about her work in the US, Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, and the Middle East.
Recipient of the Theodore Hoepfner Fiction Award and past writer-in-residence at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Artists’ Colony in Jerusalem, Pushcart Prize-nominee Perle Besserman was praised by Isaac Bashevis Singer for the “clarity and feeling for mystic lore” of her writing and by Publisher’s Weekly for its “wisdom [that] points to a universal practice of the heart.” Her most recent books of creative non-fiction are “A New Zen for Women” (Palgrave Macmillan) and “Zen Radicals, Rebels, and Reformers”, coauthored with Manfred Steger (Wisdom Books). Two novels, “Kabuki Boy”, and “Widow Zion”, and “Yeshiva Girl”, a story collection, are forthcoming from Aqueous Books, Pinyon Publishing, and Homebound Publishing, respectively.

Perle speaks with Joanna about: the patriarchal attack on women; questioning the rules, commandments and explanations; one in the breathing; aboriginal Judaism; a free-floating identity; the shadow of distinction; “be a lamp unto yourself”.


”I Can’t Sit Still”, original music by Evarusnik