Dr. Sharon Koren Named to Dr. Norman Cohen Chair for an Emerging Scholar at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dr. Sharon Koren, Associate Professor of Medieval Jewish Culture at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York, has been named to the Dr. Norman J. Cohen Chair for an Emerging Scholar.   

Dr. Michael Marmur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, stated, “Dr. Koren is a versatile scholar and devoted teacher who has done much to promote the study of the Medieval Jewish experience and the Jewish esoteric tradition at the College-Institute.  As an expert in kabbalah and gender studies who brings the perspective of modern Orthodox Judaism, she has created a unique place for herself on our pluralistic faculty.  A beloved teacher who demonstrates great devotion to her students, Sharon Koren is a worthy inaugural holder of the Dr. Norman J. Cohen Chair. Norman Cohen has done more than anyone in recent decades to recruit and nurture a new generation of scholars and teachers. I can think of no better way of demonstrating our abiding love and respect for Norman than to honor a wonderful example of this emerging generation.

Dr. Koren has been associated with the HUC-JIR faculty since 2001.  She received her Ph.D. (1999) and M.A. (1991) from Yale University and was the recipient of numerous prizes, fellowships, and grants.  Her book The Menstruant in Medieval Jewish Mysticism (Brandeis University Press) is in press, and she is currently researching for a book on the Matriarchs in the Zohar. Her articles have appeared in The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish History, Religion, and Culture, Encyclopedia Judaica, My People’s Prayer Book Volume 8: Kabbalat Shabbat, and Women and Water: Menstruation in Jewish Life and Law, as well as in academic journals, including Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies, AJS Review, and Lishmah: A Jewish Scholarship Quarterly.  Dr. Koren has presented at major academic conferences and has been an academic consultant for an NEH-funded television series relating to the subjects of mysticism and monotheism.

Established in 2010, the Dr. Norman J. Cohen Chair for an Emerging Scholar honors Dr. Norman J. Cohen, Professor of Midrash, for his distinguished service as Provost of the College-Institute (1995-2009).  During his tenure as HUC-JIR’s chief academic officer, he revitalized the faculty through the appointment of over 20 emerging scholars, established retreats and introduced e-technology to integrate faculty and teaching across HUC-JIR’s four-campuses, advanced curriculum for all programs, intensified professional leadership development, and instituted student assessment processes.  Ordained at HUC-JIR/NY in 1971, Dr. Cohen received his B.A. degree from Columbia College (1964) and his Ph.D. in Midrash from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (1977).  Associated with HUC-JIR since his rabbinical student years, he was appointed Director of the Rabbinical School in New York in 1986 and Dean of the New York School in 1988.  He served as Acting President of HUC-JIR in 2000 during its 125th anniversary year.  Dr. Cohen is the author ofSelf, Struggle & Change:  Family Conflict Stories in Genesis and their Healing Insights for our Lives, Voices from Genesis:  Guiding us through the Stages of Life, The Way into TorahHineini in our Lives, and, most recently, Moses and the Journey to Leadership; Timeless Lessons of Effective Management from the Bible and Today's Leaders, all published by Jewish Lights.


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