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Rachel Havrelock

Rachel Havrelock

Rachel Havrelock is a graduate of the Joint Doctoral Program in Jewish Studies of University of California, Berkeley in partnership with the Graduate Theological Union. She is currently an associate professor of Jewish Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she founded The UIC Freshwater Lab for Water Policy and Diplomacy. She sits on the boards of the trilateral Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian NGO Ecopeace Middle East and the U.S.-Canadian Aqua Forum.

Her 2011 book from the University of Chicago Press, River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line, argues for five coexistent national myths in the Hebrew Bible and examines which of these myths have had political currency and which have been repressed. In a previous book, Women on the Biblical Road, Dr. Havrelock introduced the idea of the female hero’s journey based on evidence from the Hebrew Bible.

She is the writer and director of the hip-hop play From Tel Aviv to Ramallah, about the daily lives of young people in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and she co-hosted Who Was Jesus, the Discovery Channel’s series on the historical Jesus.

In 2014, Havrelock was the recipient of the Alumni Impact Award from the U.S. Department of State, which recognizes those who have the greatest impact in the local community following participation in a State Department global fellows program.

Jewish Studies

PhD, University of California, Berkeley
BA, University of California, Santa Cruz 


River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line, Women on the Biblical Road

Research Interests

Hebrew Bible and the History of its Interpretation, Political Leadership in Ancient Israel


The Book of Ruth and Heroism in the Bible
Political Leadership in Ancient Israel