About the Berkovits Symposium

June 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Sunday, March 6, 2011, 12 pm – 7 pm

The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, in collaboration with the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, proudly presented this symposium, bringing together leading scholars to critically address Eliezer Berkovits’ contributions to modern Jewish thought and life.

Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) was chair of the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois for 17 years, from 1958 to 1975. Today, he is recognized as a significant 20th-century Jewish theologian.

A product of Eastern European yeshivot and the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin, Berkovits fled the Nazis, eventually moving to the United States, and later, to Israel. He engaged the concrete problems of the Jewish people during a period of momentous change, addressing issues ranging from biblical theology to women’s rights in Judaism to the challenges of conversion.

Berkovits was one of the first Orthodox leaders to build bridges with Reform and Conservative Judaism. He had a strong impact on the Chicago Jewish community and in recent years there has been a renaissance—on a much broader scale—of interest in his work.

Welcoming remarks were made by Dean P. Bell, Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, and Josef Stern, Director, Chicago Center for Jewish Studies. Presenters included:

  • David Ellenson, President and I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
  • Marc Shapiro, Weinberg Professor of Judaic Studies, The University of Scranton
  • David Hazony, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Jordanna Cope-Yossef, Director, Advanced Talmudic Institute for Women, Matan Women’s Institute for Torah Studies in Jerusalem
  • David Shatz, Professor of Philosophy, Yeshiva University