Rabbi Julia Watts Belser (she/her) is a scholar, activist, and spiritual teacher. She is a professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University and core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies program, as well as a Senior Research Fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. At Georgetown, she directs Disability and Climate Change: A Public Archive Project, a project that partners with grassroots disability leaders to document the way that disability communities are responding to climate change. As a scholar, her work brings classical Jewish texts into conversation with environmental justice insights, as well as with feminist, queer, and disability ethics. She has held faculty fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of several books, mostly recently Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole (Beacon Press, 2023). She also writes regularly for popular venues like Truthout, Tikkun, and TIME Magazine.
A long-time advocate for disability and gender justice, she co-authored a Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities (Hesperian Foundation, 2007), developed in collaboration with disability activists from 42 countries, to challenge the root causes of poverty, gender violence, and disability discrimination. She’s also a passionate supporter of disability arts, an avid wheelchair hiker, a devoted gardener, and a lover of wild places.