Dr. Michael L. Klein, former Dean of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's (HUC-JIR) Jerusalem School from 1981-1998, and Effie Wise Ochs Professor of Biblical Literature at HUC-JIR, died on November 18th in Israel at the age of 60. A distinguished scholar and teacher, Dr. Klein taught at HUC-JIR for over 25 years. In addition, he was a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and Visiting Research Associate at the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library. He was also a Senior Exchange Scholar of the American Council of Learned Societies and the USSR Academy of Sciences in Leningrad, as well as a Visiting Senior Scholar at St. John's College, Cambridge University.
His fields of scholarly research were Targumic Literature (Early Aramaic translations of the Bible) and Medieval Jewish Manuscripts, especially from the Cairo Genizah. He received a Ph.D. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Biblical Studies, a M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in Ancient Near Eastern Civilization, and a B.A. from Brooklyn College in Mathematics, Phi Beta Kappa. He was the author of Targumic Manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collections (Cambridge University Press for Cambridge University Library, 1992), Genizah Manuscripts of Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch (HUC Press, 1986), and The Fragment Targums of the Pentateuch Analecta Biblica 76 (Biblical Institute Press, 1980); his Ph.D. thesis Anthropomorphisms and Anthropopathisms in the Targumim to the Pentateuch was published by Makor in 1982.
A member of many academic organizations including the Society of Biblical Literature, the World Union for Jewish Studies, the Association for Targumic and Cognate Studies, the Israel Exploration Society, and the Biblical Archaeology Society, Dr. Klein was also active in community organizations such as the Israel Interfaith Committee and the Rainbow Group (Jerusalem).
He leaves his wife, Shoshie, and their children, Mattan, Elad, Rachel, and Ruth.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu