Vanessa L. Ochs is the author of Inventing Jewish Ritual (JPS), winner of a 2007 National Jewish Book Award. Her other books include Sarah Laughed, The Jewish Dream Book (with Elizabeth Ochs), The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices (edited with Irwin Kula), Words on Fire: One Woman's Journey into the Sacred, and Safe and Sound: Protecting Your Child In An Unpredictable World. For her writing, she was awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Dr. Ochs is an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia where she teaches courses in Judaism, anthropology of religion, Jewish feminism, and spiritual writing. Ochs earned her B.A. in Drama and French from Tufts University, an M.F.A. in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College, and Ph.D. in Anthropology of Religion from Drew University.
She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband, theologian Peter Ochs; they are the parents of two grown daughters, Elizabeth Ochs and Juliana Ochs Dweck and grandparents of Harry and Emma Dweck.