Dr. Dvora Weisberg Appointed Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, has appointed Professor Dvora Weisberg, Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Director of the Lainer Beit Midrash at HUC-JIR/ Los Angeles to be the Director of Rabbinical Studies, effective July 1, 2009. 

In making the announcement, Rabbi Ellenson said "Professor Dvora Weisberg is admired by her students as demonstrated by the popularity of her courses; students readily seek her out for guidance and counsel. Her colleagues speak with pride of her academic rigor, intellectual focus, and sustained commitment to her students' growth. These qualities define Dr. Weisberg's devotion to the College-Institute and to the world of Jewish learning." 

"Dr. Weisberg is recognized for her excellence in scholarship, teaching, institutional planning, and mentorship, and has helped transform our Los Angeles campus into an ever more congenial learning community. We look forward to Dr. Weisberg's vision, creativity, and intellectual strength as she develops the next generations of rabbinical leaders for the Reform Movement." 

"During my years at HUC, I have had the opportunity to direct my energies toward educating future Jewish professionals," said Dr. Weisberg. "I am honored that Rabbi Ellenson has entrusted me with this new position, which will allow me to continue and deepen that work. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Los Angeles campus and the national administration to better prepare our students to serve as rabbis and teachers in the Reform Movement and the greater Jewish community." 

Dr. Weisberg has been a member of the HUC-JIR/Los Angeles faculty since 2001, and previously taught at the College of William and Mary and the University of Pittsburgh. She received her M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1994) in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where her dissertation explored "Tradition and Transformation: The Appropriation of Festival Law in Bavli Betsa." She received her B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Brandeis University (1981). 

Dr. Weisberg is especially interested in gender issues in rabbinic texts. Her book on the evolution of levirate marriage in classical Judaism, entitled Between the Living and the Dead: Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism, will be published in May 2009 by the University Press of New England. She contributed the post-Biblical commentary on Lech L'cha, Vayeitzei, Vay'chi, Vayikra, Matot, Mas'ei, and Ki Teitzei in the Women of Reform Judaism's groundbreaking new book, The Torah: A Women's Commentary. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Hebrew Union College Annual, The Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Judaism, The Annual of Rabbinic Judaism: Ancient, Medieval and Modern, Shofar, Review of Biblical Studies, AJS Review, Hebrew Studies, Lilith, and Religious Studies Review, as well as in the Encylopedia Judaica, Agendas for the Study of Midrash in the Twentieth Century, Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality, and Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue. She has presented academic papers at the SBL International Meeting, Gimelstob Symposium on Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University, and the Association for Jewish Studies. Dr. Weisberg grew up in San Francisco. She was educated in the public schools and in the religious school at Congregation Emanu El, where she became a Bat Mitzvah and was confirmed. 

Dr. Weisberg succeeds Rabbi Richard Levy, who as Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies at the Los Angeles campus for the past ten years ten years coordinated the program leading to the first ordination of Reform rabbis in Los Angeles.

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 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of 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