Walter Herzberg

Dr. Walter Herzberg
Address3080 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Assistant Professor, Bible and of Professional and Pastoral Skills, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

B.A., Yeshiva University,
M.A., Yeshiva University,
M.S., Teachers College, Columbia University,
Ph.D., New York University,

Dr. Walter Herzberg, an assistant professor of Bible and Professional and Pastoral Skills at The Jewish Theological Seminary, has devoted the bulk of his career to working directly with students in Israel and the United States.

He teaches Bible and Bible Commentary in the Mekhinah preparatory program of The Rabbinical School of JTS, and guides students in the reading of the Bible by using a methodological approach and integrating modern, literary close-reading techniques with the study of traditional commentary. He also teaches an advanced-level course in traditional biblical exegesis.

Knowing full-well that what he teaches will add far-reaching benefits to the lives of his students, Dr. Herzberg’s primary goals are to facilitate the study of Bible and Torah l’ishma (for its own sake) and the educational process. He teaches students “what they cannot teach themselves” and helps them become fluent readers of the Hebrew Bible and independent, analytical close readers of the texts. This year, Dr. Herzberg was honored as the first recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in The Rabbinical School.

Dr. Herzberg walks well and determinedly in the footsteps of his mentors, Bible studies innovator Dr. Nehama Liebowitz, who was noted for her unique pedagogical methods and her preference of the title teacher over the more prestigious professor; and Dr. Cyrus Herzl Gordon, a world-class scholar of Near Eastern culture and ancient languages, who was known for his skills in teaching texts to students at different levels of readiness at the very same time. Much to the delight of his JTS students, Dr. Herzberg quotes his mentors often and, much to the students’ advantage, he has modified his mentors’ theories to fit his own evolved perspective. Applying the resulting ideas—and his own internalization of the Socratic Method—to the questions and topics he so carefully formulates for his classes, Dr. Herzberg’s daily efforts are changing Jewish thought and culture as he intrigues eager minds. And yes, he is proud to be called teacher.

Dr. Herzberg’s list of accomplishments includes being senior lecturer and chair of the department of Jewish Studies at the University of Judaism of Los Angeles (now the American Jewish University) and an instructor of Bible and Commentaries and/or Biblical Hebrew grammar at Jerusalem’s Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Hebrew University, Hebrew Union College, and New York University’s Institute of Hebrew Culture and Education. Earlier, he was educational director of the Commission on Jewish Education of the United Synagogue of America, and a visiting professor at JTS.

Dr. Herzberg’s academic credentials are impressive as well: a BA in History and an MA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University; an MS in English as a Second Language from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a PhD in Bible and Near Eastern Studies from New York University. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at New York University and in the Jerusalem Fellows Program, and studied at Hebrew University.

Dr. Herzberg is working closely with Dr. Nitza Krohn of JTS’s Hebrew department to develop a pilot program in which the teaching of Hebrew and Bible is coordinated. He is also currently working with his colleague, Professor Steven Kepnes, on a book that will show how, in a close reading of the texts and different commentators, one can begin to reveal or discover the implied theology of the commentators.

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