Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Ph.D.
Friday, December 23, 2022
Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Ph.D., the Effie Wise Ochs Professor of Biblical Literature and History at HUC-JIR/LA, has been elected Vice-President (beginning 2023) and President (beginning 2024) of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). SBL is a membership organization with over 8,000 scholars, and is the oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible from a variety of academic disciplines. SBL supports scholarly research and fosters the public understanding of the Bible and its influence.
“This is a tremendous honor for Rabbi Dr. Eskenazi, for which she is most deserving as a renowned Bible scholar. For 32 years, Dr. Eskenazi has contributed her expertise to our students’ educational and academic pursuits, while furthering the fields of biblical and religious studies as a whole,” said HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.
Rabbi Dr. Eskenazi stated, “I am touched and inspired by the honor that the Society of Biblical Literature has bestowed upon me. Being a member of this international, diverse, and global scholarly community has given me and many others great opportunities to pursue scholarship with depth, and in a context of mutual respect. I look forward to contributing to the mission of SBL and to representing the significance and impact of HUC-JIR and of biblical studies.”
Rabbi Dr. Eskenazi’s work focuses on the biblical texts and ancient world during the Persian period (539-333 BCE). Her several works on the subject include the forthcoming Yale Anchor Bible Commentary on Ezra (Spring 2023). Additionally, she is Editor of the award-winning volume, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, named Book of the Year by the Jewish Book Council in 2008, with Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., and is co-author of the award winning JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth (2012).
Rabbi Dr. Eskenazi lectures widely in scholarly conferences, synagogues, and churches. She was the first woman professor in the rabbinical school at HUC-JIR since its founding in 1875.
Rabbi Dr. Eskenazi is a mother of five and grandmother of five, active in community organizing, and co-founder of the Jewish Women Resource Center in Denver, CO where she lived and taught prior to joining HUC-JIR.